What if I tell you this letter that you are reading is not written today but instead written a month ago and scheduled to post today? What if I tell you that is true for every newsletter of mine?
Wait, don’t click away; the above statements are NOT TRUE! I wrote every letter on the day I sent it. But could you believe that was my original idea when Hua asked me to do a #30DaysOfStartingUp project? I honestly thought it would be the most efficient and fool-proof way to complete the challenge.
I am glad that I didn’t have the willpower to execute that plan. The idea of writing all newsletters at once and launching them on schedule is neglecting to make individual connections, receiving feedback, iterating in response. I was mistaken to think that “if something is good, people will find it.”
Without writing newsletters one by one and see what works and what doesn’t, how would I know if it is any good or where to improve? It may fail without reason, or worse, without learning.
As startup founders, we build a product and find its targeted audiences, a subset of people from 7.674 billion on earth. They are scattered on this vast planet, living in different timezones, speaking different languages. There is not a single magical place that they all go to, and all we need is to make a speech there. We have to find our users one by one, each through a unique journey.
Today I read the article The launch of your product isn’t this magical event. The author is bluntly truthful about their launch day expectations and experience. I had the same experience and couldn’t agree more. The sentence that especially strikes me is: “Do you remember the launch of Twitter? YouTube? Facebook?”
Startup launches are to find a few people to be the “seed.” Product Hunt demographic is not your target audience; unless you build a competitor app to Product Hunt. Launching on any platform is like shotgun sequencing; statically, the visitors should slightly overlap with your targeted audience. These overlaps will be “seed” users of your product. Seed users can inform you what is working and where to improve. Don’t expect to capture and convert a significant amount of launch day visitors to paying customers.
I think that is why “building in public” makes sense. Instead of spending months or years in stealth development mode, in anticipation of the likely underwhelming launch day, why not go public with your idea sooner, and build an audience from day one?
Building a startup is similar to building a community - they are both about finding the people. Before you find these users, they all live their separate lives, rarely have any cross-overs. You will go through a unique journey to meet them each. Building in public creates more possible ways to meet them earlier.
If you plan to be a startup founder in the future or are already a startup founder, would you build in public or stealth mode? Do you have a different opinion or more to add? Please feel free to start a conversation with me. I would love to hear from you.
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The Ups and Downs of Building in Public
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Three and a Half Tips Before You Quit
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