What we learned from our alpha so far

Our alpha version of MadLike is at the AppStore for a month now and I had the time to reflect on our learning and where we want to take our product from here. I’m writing it as it comes to my head, so the data here will be pretty raw but very authentic, based on *real* data that we gathered and *real* feedback we got along the way.

  1. Proof of Concept != Minimum Viable Product != Minimum Viable Experience – It’s very easy to mix these 3. When you’re strong in terms of execution, it’s dangerously easy to release something raw and consider it as MVP/MVE. It’s not and it’s okay, as long as you learn the things you want to learn. We sometime released something we thought will be “kinda MVP”, only to discover it’s far from it (people didn’t get it or used it as we thought). If you’re at the phase of understanding need/usage – constantly remind yourself “it’s not MVP but rather a learning step to it”.
  2. If you’re building an app for “best friends”, you better have great coverage from day one – a lot of people loved our idea and saw the need but immediately responded with “we don’t have iPhone” or “out of my best 6 friends, only 2 have iPhone”. That’s a buzz killer and it making it difficult to test user’s “clique” based on it. We’re working on a few ideas to make sure *everyone* could use our app, having iPhone or not, while acting smart about it in terms of development time and go-to-market.
  3. It’s all about the user experience – seriously, UX is not something to “keep to the end”. We’re trying to give it as much thought as we can while designing the product and thinking of the entire flow. What was changed for us? we’re now more willing to delay precious go-to-market time on making sure the experience is great. It’s not that we’re planning to sit for months without going out, it’s simply matter of releasing small things that are well thought of, instead of a mash of technical solutions/features.
  4. Money/People(equity) will not only make things go faster, it will change everything – We were willing to wait with raising money and increasing the team much longer but we came to realize that money and people open possibilities for us to release something *drastically* better to the market. Branding, creative, design – all of them are not cheap and each can entirely change the company we’re building and the experience our users will get at the end of the day.  We now understand much better our weakness and figuring out how funding and potentially joining people with equity will make our vision a sweet reality, instead of a lame “we’ll solve it one day” experience. Relying solely on our technical skills just won’t cut it.

Alright, back to do some #brogramming, have a great weekend y’all


Oren Ellenbogen

Curate awesomeness @ http://softwareleadweekly.com , Engineer @ Commerce Sciences, Author of http://teamleadtoolbox.com , Explorer of Company DNA.