Reflections on launching sooner than you're comfortable with

I launched Idea Bakery for some select people that I thought the tool will be helpful for. I also learned first-hand what an embarrassing first launch actually looks like.

I knew that everything wasn't there and the fact that it wasn't perfect. There was no onboarding, and some of the miro-copy wasn't clear. If I had learned anything from building 1-day prototypes, it's to ship it as fast as you can so that you don't risk making something wrong for a lengthier period. So, I capped my risk to a week of building and got the essentials out.

Assuming you don't know what I'm building, it's a tool that uses gamification and creative constraints to help generate cool ideas so that you can connect with like-minded people on Twitter.

By launching an early version, I got feedback on what outcome it was trying to achieve and, more importantly, who it was for. I knew that I was solving a problem for myself but what sort of person would find it beneficial was a little murky until I'd gotten feedback.

The circumstance, solution and result I'd drawn out before the building was validated. I took comfort in knowing that a group of people like me want the same progress.

I was also able to clarify what parts of the app were confusing or didn't make sense. I categorised all the feedback I received into this format of what worked, what didn't work, and the new challenges I had uncovered.

The new challenges I had uncovered have been exciting to solve.

The main challenge I'm thinking about is the prompts. I want to encourage users to think of an idea in a new way. The problem with it right now is that combining your interest with an experience doesn't encourage you to think of an idea.

This causes some anxieties around the writing session. The magic here should be to inspire confidence. To say that you will have an idea that's worth Tweeting about when you start a writing session on Idea Bakery. And you would've come up with it using your own efforts.

My answer to this thus far has been to use Open AI's GPT-3. By creating prompts to assist the user in thinking about their interests in new ways.

On some level, it might be overkill. I've also been turned off by going down this path because of how long Open AI is taking to approve applications.

Given the situation, it made me think, "Is there was an easier way to do this?" Or if I'm missing the third constraint to allow creativity to flow. I know the answer is to have prompts, but how will I make it relevant to their interests?

I haven't got the answers yet. The fitness of the solution to the context of the problem matters here. So, I might have to dig into the situation a little more to figure out if any of these is the right solution.

In summary, the benefits of launching early are many:

  • You get feedback on what's working.
  • And you achieve clarity in these areas:
  • Who you're trying to serve?
  • What's the outcome you're trying to generate?
  • What challenges are users facing with the early launch?

Most importantly, you took the first step in helping someone progress. It doesn't matter if you didn't get it right the first time, just as long as you iterate!

Stay tuned for more updates on Twitter.