We’ve worked toward this release date for well over a year, and soon we’ll experience a full product launch. Of all the stretches, the home stretch can be the hardest, so I want to share some learnings from past launches to help you stay motivated through the next phase. We can do this!
First, and most important: I need everyone to set impossible expectations of success. You might be anticipating extra equity, huge salary increases, significant press coverage, or Product Hunt glory. You might think the one-liner you use on acquaintances and journalists and investors is puffed-up enough: “By creating a mobile-app-controlled kitty litter scooper, we’re helping humans have better relationships with their cats.” But you should go bigger. Every product can claim to make people’s lives better; if you want to stand out, you must link your app to a real, immense global crisis. Try this: “Women spend more time caring for pets than men. By designing an app that controls an automated kitty litter scooper, we are freeing up women to focus on their communities and set their own agendas. WiskrSküps is critical feminist infrastructure.” Can you link your product to mitigating climate change? Improving education? Smoking cessation? Panda habitat preservation? I can, in 30 different ways. That’s why I’m your boss.
After all that, the only thing left to do is to prepare yourself for the frigid silence of day two, then days three through 300. Think of it this way: You spent a year, maybe several years, digging a deeper and deeper hole (you can dig a pretty big hole if you grind every day), and now it’s time for the world to pull you out. In your heart, you expected this to happen quickly. But it takes time. First people need to find the hole, then they need to want to visit the hole, then they need to put their email addresses in the hole.
Eventually people will show up, if marketing does its job. They might throw in some sticks and suggest you build a ladder. (This is called venture capital.) But most of us, frankly, just learn to live in the hole. People will ask how it’s going down there in that thin shaft of sunlight. You will mumble something about product-market fit as you pray the sides don’t collapse.
Team, let’s get pumped for this launch. Let’s file bugs. Let’s call our partners and apologize for being so wrapped up in work. Don’t put down your shovels yet. We still have a lot of digging to do.
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