The Story of My First Product Launch

I’ve promised myself, “It’s been long time since your last product experiment. And this weekend, you should do something!”.

That’s how i launched Mata, the night vision for the web, to make reading the friendly for your eyes. Without further ado, here is the story :

The Background

Suddenly i was trying to forget my promise to myself, and just go ahead without any burden. This is essential for makers and founders out there, since the way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas — (Paul Graham). So i just enjoyed my life, doing things as usual, and hope there would be something that could go out of my head.

The Problem

Usually, the most thing that i do on weekend is reading (at least before i broke my habit and decided to do more writing). I browsed my Twitter timeline, Hacker News, Product Hunt, etc to seek the best articles about personal growth and startup, and i ended up opening many tabs on Google Chrome (ouch, my battery 😓). Then i kept reading one by one, until few articles read, i felt my eyes hurt. It’s normal because most of today’s web articles are using white background colour, while the content themselves use black colour. With this situation, i said to myself, it might not only you that experience the same thing.

The Idea

What if i turn the background colour of the web to be black, and it’s content colour to be white? Oh, it still hurts! 😅 Okay, it should not be that “white”, i just need to adjust colour and find what would be best for me to read. Simple! At this moment, i just thought i need to validate this idea first. I don’t want to make something that waste my time, but no people want to use it. But then i thought, this should be a simple idea, and making it would take less than 6 hours to do so, why don’t just make it and launch? Aha, myself, are you kidding me? 😒 It would be a Chrome extension, but i have never built some extension before, and that’s crazy when you could say that it would be less than 6 hours. lol! ☺️ This is the cool part, i challenged myself to build something that i have never built before, with the new technology, not knowing what to do, and learn it from zero. I just remember what Joel Gascoigne, the co-founder and CEO of Buffer, that we should do something before we feel ready. Otherwise, it could be too late.

The MVP

Procrastination came, whether people would like it or not, arguing the need of this product, everything happened on my mind. At some point i have to stop it, or i would end up make nothing on this momentum. Then, i just did it! 👊 I embraced this new thing, and started learning. 2 hours elapsed, and finally i brought it to the table! I named it Mata, and here is how it looked :

Awwwww yeaaaah, i made it! There should be achievement unlocked for this. lol! 😄

Pre-launch

In a hurry to submit to Chrome Web Store, i found that i should pay for $5 or something to submit. Hmm, though i’ve made an MVP for this, it doesn’t mean people will eventually buy this kind of product. And paying such amount of dollars would be useless without knowing whether people would buy it or not. Then i started to make a prototype using Marvel, it took me just few minutes. And then i personally tweet people to try and gather feedback. Here is some of them :

@wilbertliu hard to see on mobile
— Dave Craige (@davecraige)
May 16, 2015
@wilbertliu my feedback is that it’s always nice to build things. Do I need that personaly? No
— clement vouillon (@clemnt)
May 16, 2015
@wilbertliu Ahhh! Night vision for Medium! 👍🏻😎 That’s awesome!
— Francesco D’Alessio (@FrancescoD_Ales)
May 16, 2015
@wilbertliu That’s really nice. What about a “sepia” mode too?
— Enric Enrich (@enricenrich)
May 16, 2015
@wilbertliu seems useful for reading before going to sleep so the white screen doesn’t keep you awake ☺
— Thomas Schranz (@__tosh)
May 17, 2015
@wilbertliu neat Wilbert! I usually prefer “night” modes on my phone, so this is cool. Is there any research perhaps behind this as well?
— Niel de la Rouviere (@nieldlr)
May 17, 2015
@wilbertliu Hey Wilbert! Pretty neat, I’m a big fan of F.lux for night reading. I’ve seen it’s only on Chrome, any plans for Firefox? ☺
— Andrei Luca (@andreiluca)
May 17, 2015
@wilbertliu @ryander it’s another thing to build, UI to present, and option for someone to choose. Not sure it makes sense for most
— Ryan Hoover (@rrhoover)
May 18, 2015

By these feedbacks, i thought i will make it open source, so people could develop and make it their own, and i could move to another thing.

The Launch

Ready-get-set-go! 🚀 I posted Mata on PH, when there was not much product launched at that time, and i surprised by the amount of people that up-voted my product. Thanks guys! And gratefully it ended up being #2 on that day, which was really great experience for me.

What amazed me was people started to contribute on the GitHub page, doing some revisions that make the product better. I’ve never made a product that get so much stars like this, and yeah, this is real!

Huff, eventually i made something, something that people could use and helpful for them. Myself, i’ve beaten you! 😝

Takeaways

  1. When you don’t know what to do, just do something fun.
  2. There would be no time for “ready”, just do it now.
  3. Challenge yourself to surpass your limit.
  4. Always doing validation, and learn from feedback.
  5. Launch as fast as you can.
  6. Respect people and community, they’re going to help you.
  7. Don’t stop, keep going.

This is how i launched my product. It’s far from perfect yet, even it’s embarrassing! I would like to know, how do you launch your product? How do you decide what should be built for MVP? How do you approach project idea? If you care to share that, it would be great if you jump into the comment’s discussion below! And i am open if you have any questions, just mention me!

P.S : I also write what comes to my mind quickly on Twitter. I think you should follow me if you love to, without pressure. 😉

P.P.S : Don’t miss the latest post of mine! Yes, you should subscribe my newsletter. I promise i will notify you when i publish a new blog post. 👊


Originally published at wilbertliu.me.