Soft Launch Part II: SecretPo.st
You can spend months, if not years, anticipating the launch of your new product. You can envision the day and dream of it’s glory. But when the time comes to actually press the big red “Launch” button, it’s only natural to feel very nervous. What if it breaks? What about all those bugs you know you didn’t fix yet and the ones you know you have yet to find? What if people hate it?
When launching SecretPo.st I got to avoid most of these feelings. SecretPo.st is a project, not a business. It doesn’t really matter if everyone hates it, I didn’t invest much into it. It was, and continues to be, a fun way to learn new ways to code and to practice new design concepts. But, because I am human (and even get nervous showing my kids the Lego creations I like to make for them), I did take a few precautionary steps in launching this project.
- The first people to ever see SecretPo.st were a select group of friends – less than 5 people. Three of them provided feedback and helped pinpoint bugs. I picked friends that I knew would a) not pull any punches and b) represent different demographics of potential users. During this testing period I subtly posted the first public post (a “Happy Birthday!” message to my mother), but didn’t do any promoting.
- The next batch of people to see this hecka fun way to send time-locked messages were all of my Facebook connections. I posted the launch publicly on my wall for all (of my friends) to see. This provides an open forum for feedback and my expectation is that I will not get much useful feedback at all. When posting in this sort of setting I expect comments like, “Looks good!”, “What is it?” or “I think it’s broken.” – but nothing more than generic responses of that sort. At the same time, I sent a tweet out with a very simple message mentioning the project.
By launching slowly, I got to get over my nervousness and pick up useful feedback along the way. If this was something I wanted to make big, I would use a site like BetaLi.st immediately following Step 2 – or perhaps as Step 2, bumping the social media announcements to Step 3.
Either way, now I get to a) play the waiting game and b) have fun with the project I took the time to make.