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Written by Alexander Hipp


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Why We Released Beyond Super Early

We released the first version of Beyond in only two weeks, let's talk about how and why you should too.

At the beginning of our startup journey, I was very positively surprised by our speed of development—two people, one direct communication path, and one meeting a day. This is the time where decisions should be made super fast and frequent. On the other side, it's also the time of the biggest uncertainty. So you should be able to learn fast and take the decisions based on real feedback rather than pure gut feeling.

But how can we learn something from real users if there is no product out there yet? User interviews, landing pages and desk research all makes sense but you will learn the most about your users and product, when you let them use it.

So how did we do it? We had defined a walking skeleton that could deliver some value to potential users to test out our first hypothesis, so we just started building. We focused just on web, making sure it's usable on the others, but that's it. We we took what we learned from PM Library and built the first version in two weeks.

After releasing the first version to family and friends to find the most significant problems and bugs, we released it to a few real users who signed up via our waiting list. I was pretty nervous because the web app worked, but it was super early stage, and you could not do much.

But I learned pretty fast, and it's not the point to have a perfect solution from the beginning. It's not that these first few days of a private Beta make or break the whole business. Probably nobody remembers anymore how shitty Google, Instagram, etc., looked like in the beginning.

If you are two people and want to prove a hypothesis fast, you need to build only the thing that confirms this hypothesis. It needs to look compelling and needs to work (mostly called MVP), but if you spend too much time on details that are not relevant to prove this hypothesis, you are probably running out of time or money.

Releasing early and letting people experience your product even if it's half-baked has so many advantages and no disadvantages.

  • You get honest feedback from real people who tell you what they like or why they stopped using it.
  • You get bug reports that a two-person team would not be able to discover themselves.
  • You don't waste time. Imagine you are building a product for a year without showing it to someone. You're growing your waiting list, and on the big release day, when people check it out, they might tell you that the product is not what they expected it to be or don't need it. It's better to find out about this after two weeks, so you can spend the rest of the year building something worthwhile.

That's the reason we decided to release as early as possible. We now have almost 500 people using the product, telling us where we need to get better or what they don't like. We even made friends with a couple of them. We call them our "super users". They perfectly fit our target group, and we know that there a lot of them out there.

If we would be still building the product without having real users on the platform, we would probably still make assumption-based decisions and we would miss out on lots of great learning from our core target group.

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