“Philipp, What have you been up to these last weeks?”
Hey <imagine your name would magically appear right here>,
Man, these last two weeks have been a bit busy. I’m part of the Nugget community for a little over a month now. They decided to have a Just F’ing Launch event, to get people to overcome their inertia. And to make things interesting they offered $100 to the first person to make $100 of their own.
“Sounds fun. Did you take part in this?
Why yes, I did! It certainly sounded fun to just go ahead and try to get a product in front of customers during the course of a week. Obviously this only lends itself to trivial problems with quick-win solutions. Maybe too small to reach my personal goal of $5k a month, but certainly one step in the right direction.
It’s not a coincidence that thought leaders in the bootstrapping community advocate a step by step approach to building products. Sometimes called Stairstepping, Stacking the Bricks or The Freedom Ladder. And it certainly makes sense. You don’t go straight for the major leagues, if you’ve never even played one game in your life. Why would it be different in business?
“Nice sports metaphor there buddy”
Oh, the sarcasm.
Okay, back to topic. In a matter of a couple of evenings I hacked a service that aggregates job offers from various job portals together. And when I say hacked together, I really mean it. I didn’t write a single line of code, so if this thing fails I will not have invested much time. Time that I then can use to try out another idea.
“How did you build this thing then?”
First I thought I really want to use Zapier because they have just the tools I need to cobble everything together. In this instance Zapier wasn’t a good fit, because there’s only a limited number of tasks per month and I would have hit the limits even of higher tier plans fairly quickly. Obviously I didn’t feel like shelling out $150 per month to find out if people are at all interested in this.
Luckily I found Huginn – an open source alternative that you can easily host on Heroku for $16 per month. Huginn lets you create complex workflows like aggregating RSS feeds, filtering them and sending a digest via email. It has no limits on tasks and runs as often as once per minute. Perfect!
Yep, with this you can build a fairly functional MVP in a matter of hours or days.
“So, what’s the upside of just getting it out there after all?”
The idea is not to get stuck in customer and market validation. Many people – me included – get completely blocked when faced with a huge obstacle. It feels terrifying having to do cold-email-outreach with people you don’t know, about a product that doesn’t exist yet. By getting something out there you can skip the customer development for the moment and find out if people are on-board with your general product vision.
To summarize, if your product idea is so small that it would take longer to validate than simply build it, just f’ing launch this thing. 🚀 Do the customer development once it’s out there, so you have something concrete to talk about. My guess is people will tell you if they thought it would be something different. All you have to do is ask.
In the next blog post I’ll share more about the launch and how I want to move forward with this.
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