The main thing about launches that I’ve realized is that people put way too much emphasis on them. They end up focussing too much on a one-off event, rather than on building a successful business. Sometimes, they end up paying a price for suboptimal trade-offs they make.
A friend of mine from when I was growing up is a true blue professional hacker for the US military. He gets paid to hack security software. Specifically, he writes software which figures out how other security software works. He figures out what the requirements are.
He prods the software, notes down its behaviors, and then uses that feedback to construct more ideas for tests. Based on the requirements he gleans, his team can build exactly the same thing from scratch, if they decide that’s what they want to. Geeks call this technique reverse engineering.
You can take the same approach when trying to sell a new product. While it might not always feel pleasant, the market tells you what it thinks by giving you feedback. (No feedback is feedback too.) I’ve put up offers which seemed like they’d be interesting for my target audience, but they didn’t sell.
There’s a specific agile tool which I think every early-stage product team should use, regardless of whether they’re following the Lean Startup methodology. Lean Startup drew its roots from agile software development. Eric Reis added Steve Blank’s idea of customer development to agile. Assuming we aren’t talking about re-reading Eric Reis’ book for the 17th time, the best Lean Startup tool is the dogeared post-it.
What? Why not some kind of fancy-shmancy online tool that defines, builds, and releases your product? In your sleep. There’s lots of those around. < grin >