First Month Update: Launching, Learning & Planning as a Single Founder
Pedro / August 7, 2019
QuickIntro is an app that makes it easier to capture contacts and share expectations in professional meetings and workshops. It's aimed at customer-facing professionals working for B2B software companies.
I'm a single founder, working on this app while actively traveling. Here I collect a few thoughts on QuickIntro's first month of public availability:
- How I launched it
- Learning about my users
- Keeping it stable
- Planning for the future
A soft launch
One day I happened upon a thread on Hacker News asking what people were working on. QuickIntro wasn't finished but it did work, so it seemed like a good opportunity to share it with the community. I left a brief comment on the thread, and some people tried it out, which was great!
Emailing each person individually was very useful. Turned out some of the early signups were from people working in software sales, which is part of my target market. Talking to them was very insightful.
Later I made a standalone submission to HN, but didn't get much attention. On its own, I might have taken that as a sign of little potential. Good thing there was that previous thread.
Eventually, I got my first true recurring user from a Facebook share. A friend in the same field of work, in similar circumstances, identified with the problem statement and gave the app a serious go.
QuickIntro is an answer to a very specific problem, so I don't expect it to serve more than a few people at this stage. Every single signup is motivating, and while their number is small I can give each one lots of attention.
Validating the problem
If you experience a problem, maybe other people do too. Sharing with others is the only way of knowing. I was lucky to get very encouraging feedback quickly. Seeing other people describing my problem back to me based on the app I made to solve it, was an extremely strong positive signal.
I intended QuickIntro to be a tool for people participating in meetings and workshops to exchange contacts and to share their expectations with each other. I designed it so that each "meeting" would map to a real life session, and so that its dashboard would act as an overview panel. That panel was meant to be displayed before each part of a meeting. For that reason, the main dashboard has space to show an agenda. Using it in workshops, where people might be sitting far from the screen, led to a full third of the screen being taken over by a QR code, big enough to be scanned from a distance.
Someone quickly told me that transitioning from that dashboard to their own presentation deck was awkward. Also, their deck's first slide already acted as an overview: identifying the meeting's topic, speaker and agenda. They'd prefer something that integrates with their deck rather than replace it.
Someone else pointed out that participants in their workshops came to QuickIntro to exchange contacts rather than learn about the meeting. Suggesting the "agenda" part might be superfluous, and asking for more UX nodding towards contact sharing.
Validating the need and validating the solution are two very different things. I came up with something that works for me because of how I work. Not everyone works the same. So if I want to solve the problem for more people, I need to take their contexts into account too. That's where launching an app stops being a coding exercise and starts being about User Experience.
Needs I hadn't anticipated
One of QuickIntro's value propositions is letting meeting and workshop participants share their expectations with one another and the organizer. An early user who works in B2B Sales suggested taking that one step further and offering customizable prompts. As a Solution Architect, that resonated with me. It was always surprisingly difficult to reliably capture things like customers' tech stacks. Survey software helps, but there are only so many forms you can send a prospect or a customer ahead of a meeting and expect them to fill it out. Interactive touchpoints for prospects and customers, with better meeting outcomes as a reward for all involved, might be something work exploring.
The assumption that one QuickIntro meeting maps neatly to one real life session was challenged. Some workshops last multiple days, with different agendas each day but the same audience. That's something I knew beforehand, but chose not to account for. It would have taken more code and time, and delayed the launch. As it stands, it's no big deal to reuse a QuickIntro meeting until a better experience for that use case is released.
Entirely new use cases
People are very creative and will find new and interesting uses for things. I talked to someone who works for a nonprofit and is interested in using QuickIntro to facilitate volunteer meetings. That sounds like something I'd like to help with, but it's a very different dynamic to what I had in mind. More research will be necessary.
Keeping it stable
It was very tempting to aggressively develop the product while the first users were onboarded. I decided against it because, with only a few users to work with, my sample size for any study is very small. Changing the product too quickly would make it harder to draw conclusions.
Thoughts on revenue
Being a tool that I made for myself, I've an intrinsic motivation to maintain it. It's also extremely inexpensive to run a simple infrastructure on Digitalocean. Having a simple, proven tech stack behind the app, I could just leave it running without much maintenance overhead. I've passive monitoring and a decent deploy/rollback process, so bug fixes can happen easily at any time.
These factors mean there's very little pressure to optimize for revenue from launch. That being said, I want to provide a good service and that will require more resources at some point. That means putting a price on it.
At this stage the app looks much like B2C software. There's a simple, low monthly price on it, and plenty of time to trial it. If it does gain more traction with my target market, which consists of B2B software Sales and Customer Success professionals, an additional team-oriented B2B pricing will make sense. But that could be its own blog post.
There are two things I want to do going forward.
One is to spend more time marketing to my tribe, by which I mean customer-facing SaaS professionals: Sales, Partnerships, Customer Success. QuickIntro has been the most sticky with users in that tribe, which was not surprising.
The other is to de-emphasize the meeting planning aspects, and focus more on the contact sharing aspects of the app. That will probably involve social media and CRM integrations.
Getting traction is hard. You might have the same problem as other people do, but the perfect solution for you might not be great for others. Finding like minded people who have those problems is a great way to validate them and get actionable feedback. If you're not famous, but have friends with similar profiles, Facebook and LinkedIn might be better than Hacker News and Product Hunt. But the latter will give you new and unpredictable ideas, which might also be valuable.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to ship it and talk to your users one-on-one.