Y Combinator Kat Mañalac — How to Launch (Again and Again)

Jae Duk Seo
Feb 21 · 5 min read

What do you think about launching? What is launching? Usually, as a start-up, no one will care about your launch. So it is not a single event, it is a continuous iteration.

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And depending on your demographic there are multiple launches you can and should do. You want to launch it again and again, A/B test it, how do the people react?

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Are you talking to the right users? Depending on the launch channel the reactions will differ, from there you can know if you are working with the right audience.

Silent Launch

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A domain name, a company name, and a simple call to action such as subscribe to my newsletter. This is the simplest form of launch, basically a landing page and describing the idea.

Friends & Family

Reddit was actually shared among friends and in its earlier days, it wasn’t looking so pretty.

And it actually has not changed that much haha. And there is a reason why that's the case since they knew right away their front-end was working, the users actually got it. It was a great audience to launch.

Strangers

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Companies such as Lugg, which is an app that lets you call movers, in the begging just drove to IKEA and sit around to talk to the customers who were having problems with their luggage.

So they were basically, doing the dirty work, they would help download the app, and drive it to the customer again. BTW none of the techs was actually working, they played a scenario where the movers will come. They were testing the idea, launching it to strangers.

Online Communities

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Anyone can do this launch, it is online, no particular capitals are needed. Another great idea is to launch to start up school community since they are a group of founders. They will give the best earlier product feedback.

Magic is an on-demand assistant app, and they had a website that looked liked the one shown in the figure above. `Text this message and magic will happen.’ and over-night 40k people signed up, thanks to Reddit. (Of course, this is an extreme case, but the point is to put yourself out there)

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When it comes to online launches there are some good places such as product hunt or Y Hacker News. Spend a bit of time on this topic, and ask for advice and such.

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Biggest Advice for Online Launch, do not use marketing jargon. Write and launch like how you talk.

Request Access

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This is another type of launch, the Magic, company mentioned above, could not handle all of the 40k users who signed up so they launched a waiting list. (And other marketing tricks on top of that, so if you Tweet about them you can be placed on the top of the list, etc.)

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Super Human is building a better email experience, but only selected people can join, or from a referral. This kind of launch where we limit the number of users must be treated differently. Not Scalable.

Social Media / Blog

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There are online blogs or social media groups that people have created for a certain reason, if your company gets posted there, that could be a huge increase in the userbase. One note, do not try to use paid social promotion, you want to get word of mouth, and start-ups don’t have a lot of money.

Pre-Order

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If you have a hardware or a physical product, you can do a pre-order to estimate the demand for your product. We can use other services such as Gofundme, etc.

New Feature or New Product

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Every time companies create a new major feature or product, treat it as a launch. And make sure to engage! Stripe does an excellent job at this, the creators are very good at engaging.

Build your own Community

You can create your own email list or some kind of community. It is going to be small, but when you have something, you can share your success around your community. That can turn into something bigger.

Launching isn't one moment in time

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Remember it is a continuous thing, have to launch again and again. Create new buzz and expectations.

Q: Launch Parties?

A: Don’t do it

Q: When do you know to launch?

A: The sooner the better, it is much better to get your product in front of your clients and listen to what they have to say.

Q: What type of companies are better to launch in Hacker News?

A: Depends, one company was 70 Million Jobs, a company giving a chance for people who went to jail to get a job. So all sort of company, do well.

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