Launching web-applications quietly
Last week we quietly launched Goplan on an invitation-only basis, in order to test the ground for our collaboration (or coordination, as I know some would prefer) web-based application. Some may wonder why we decided to take things slow and avoid having the application show up on sites like Techcrunch, Solutionwatch or Postbubble (by our friends at ACS) – time for some explaining.
The long explanation
Scale: There are obvious problems with launching web applications with a bang – problems we avoided with our model. By taking things slow (inviting some people and letting them invite their own friends) we saw organic growth, instead of uncontrolled chaos. We gave people enough freedom to use the app and share the love with their friends and by doing so, we were able to monitor our technical status and predict the necessary assets for the future.
Satisfaction: We are fans of the “release early, release often” model of agile development, and live by it. Small numbers means measurable feedback and quick response. By limiting ourselves to around 250 users for the first week, we managed to get the right feedback and act upon it, by releasing daily updates to our feature set and fixing the issues we encountered along the way. That made people happy, and one happy planner beats a few thousand unsatisfied users.
Personality: In one of Amy Hoy’s fantastic presentations, she mentions how when something goes wrong with software, people blame themselves. In an application built to help people manage their work better, there was no way we could let that happen. Being advocates of the human side of software, we stood by the users by trying to understand their problems, and incorporating the solutions into the software. Saying “we’ll make it better” beats saying “no” most of the times. And hey, we’re humans.
Decisions: There are decisions we haven’t done yet. How we should price the application, if we’ll have it available in any way other than a hosted service, etc. By taking it slow, we can hear what people have to say. Who besides the target audience can clue us into what’s best?
Can we help you too?
So, having explained why we decided to take it slow (we didn’t ignore your invitation requests – seriously), we want to have you on board as well. We’re ready to send new invitations to Goplan, so if you really really want to get an invite, email us at email@example.com and ask. We’ll listen – we’ve been doing it a lot, lately. Which is a good thing, trust us.