Almost there…

We’ve been busy building things

Since my last post, we’ve made a lot of progress. The system is almost fully functional. We’re missing 2 major core functionalities, but other than this, we are ready.

Reid Hoffman said, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” This is probably true, and the question of where the MVP ends and where unnecessary development starts is hard and a very subjective question.

We discuss it on an almost daily basis, almost for every feature: Is it necessary? What if users hate the product because we didn’t develop something or oversimplified the experience or didn’t make it intuitive enough?

We show it to friends and family – almost everyone has feedback and recommendations, and it’s hard to quantify and measure the importance of specific feedback. Usually, if we hear the same feedback from 3 different people, we change/add/reimplement – otherwise, it has to wait for a future version.

One step forward…

It’s funny feeling having almost finished system – It’s somehow feels like gambling – you are so close , couple more games and you’re winning the big money, but somehow this winning is slipping away or overall your balance in-spite of some wins  is still negative.

You develop a feature and feel that it’s done , then you start playing with it and find that it’s not intuitive, you improve it – show it to someone and somehow find yourself in the middle of broken flow or page without ability to return.  You fix that test it and find out that certain failures are not covered or not handled.

Great quote ( unfortunately don’t remember the source )  – ” 25% of the development time goes to cover things that user might do wrong”.

We’ve delayed our launch for 10 days  – and while I have mixed feeling about this delay I truly think we have to finish the development we’re doing, otherwise the product would be not only half baked but not fully functionally ( even in terms of minimal functionality ).

Having said that I really like this post about fooling yourself into delaying startup launch.

The reasons for delaying might be different (and probably all seem rational in your mind), but some include:

  • It’s not good enough yet.
  • I don’t want to give a bad impression to those early test users.
  • I have to work fast and effectively in terms of user experience and performance.
  • Someone will see what we’re doing and copy it.
  • A potential investor will see it, and we will be burned.
Sitting on top of the world

Feeling High

But all those reason pretty much hide the one true (irrational and subconscious) reason: fear of failure, being afraid of what other people will think and say, and being embarrassed. After all, there is no practical way to be so (emotionally and financially) invested in a startup and not feel that a startup failure is your failure.

Probably the right way to approach it is to understand that there is (almost) never instant success – success requires iterations and a never-give-up attitude. We’ll see how that works out.


Meeting with PayPal

As part of our solution, we need a charging gateway. In our region, the main name that comes to mind is PayPal.

Implementing a checkout button on your website is one thing – but meeting with PayPal in order to create a partnership is a whole different ball game.

It took us a while to get to someone who could actually meet with us, but we finally did it after ~2 weeks of trying. We got a meeting! For me, it feels huge. Meeting with a sales representative from a big payment company feels awesome. He heard us out, and he was hooked, interested, and engaged. He started throwing possible solutions that we might implement and creative ways to save commissions, and he mentioned potential risks and problematic cases.

His reaction led to one simple conclusion – we are transitioning, in his mind, from “cute idea” to “this thing can actually make money.” And that’s what we want to be. We want to create a different feeling in the minds of our partners and investors – the feeling that we are not another bunch of “play-it-safe developers that test lean startups as side projects.” We mean business.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us – legal, marketing, and obviously, technological – but this is no longer a dream to make something. Every day now, it feels more and more real.

Feel free to share your knowledge with me or throw a couple of tips in the comments.



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