Stealth-Mode vs Building in the Open

Tim Armstrong
Published in
2 min readMay 29, 2023
A generated abstract image of a stealth-mode start-up founder

So many start-ups these days try to build in the dark, they call it “Stealth Mode” and try to make it sound cool. But is that really the best option?

Let’s start with the basics: What is “Stealth Mode”?

As the name suggests, stealth mode is a way of building (or considering building) a company that involves making no public noise (or as little as possible) until you’re ready to launch.

This has the theoretical benefit of cornering the market but severely limits your ability to validate your idea with the wider public accurately.

The opposite of Stealth Mode then is Building in Public.

Where you interact with as many people as possible and talk about your successes & failures in public regularly.

This has the benefit of faster validation at the expense of occasionally having to backtrack on an idea.

What about Rock-On.Space?

We’re building in public as this enables us to move fast and break stuff, as quickly and effectively as possible, validating every step of the way.

We even live-stream our development and design sessions and publish most of our platform code on GitLab so anyone can audit our security designs and validate our data privacy claims.

We also publish updates to LinkedIn with our progress towards particular milestones — taking feedback in real-time. And honestly, we’re wondering why everyone doesn’t do this.

For $0 — ZERO DOLLARS (excluding our time) in the last three months, we’ve grown faster than any other app in our space on LinkedIn beating established brands month after month — A success that we’re expecting to replicate fairly quickly once we start working on our other Socials.

To paraphrase Casey Neistat — Don’t produce content, Be the content!