Peter Reinhardt [17:36] - The debate was whether to build out the full product and then test for product-market fit by trying to sell it to people versus this super, super lightweight MVP landing page that we would put on Hacker News to see if there interest in the concept. What drove us towards the super, super lightweight test was actually the fact that there was a skeptical divide among the founders. Since the founders couldn't agree, the only way to answer the question was to go to customers ASAP and get an answer.
In this post I’m going to cover product development cycle fundamentals that I learned to help solve all of the problems above. This will help you rapidly iterate, measure, test, and improve your product while fully engaging your team. This is not that same as shipping an MVP. I’m assuming you’ve released an MVP and are figuring out what to do next, which is where most startups spend most of their time
So, the next thing is the friends and family launch. So, if you're at idea stage, you can test out your short pitch on family and friends and see how they respond. And once you have an MVP, do a friends and family launch as quickly as possible. So, in its earliest days, Reddit was shared just among the founders of their batch at YC. You know, there were only eight companies. It was a really small community. I use the Wayback Machine to actually see what Reddit looked like in its earliest days. It hasn't changed that much. But if you look closely, this is actually before they called upvotes "upvotes." They were calling it "boosts." This is, like, 2005, I think July. So, that's how they got their very first users, just sharing it among their community of founders. And so, you know, what I recommend you do is share the product with your friends and family, watch them use it, you know, sit down next to them and ask for feedback, but don't stay in this phase for too long because your friends and family might not be the exact right, ideal user for your product or what you're building, and so sometimes their feedback isn't quite as helpful as a real user's is. So, for example, you know, if Alexis and Steve had shared this with their parents, their parents might have been like, "What the hell is this?" So, you know, get out of that family and friends circuit as fast as you can.
So, before you even have a fully functioning product, you get a chance to practice your pitch and you can refine it. You can A/B test it and see how people actually respond to the idea. And then once you have an MVP or, you know, a very early version of your product, launching through different channels will give you an opportunity to see how people will respond to that early version of the product. You know, and then launching to different channels will help you determine whether you're even talking to the right users because, you know, you might launch on one channel and get no response, you'll launch on another channel and you'll get a huge response. And so, that will help you identify whether, you know, you're identifying the right user for what you're building. So, let's talk about some of the types of launches that you can do while you're in Startup School. And I'm excited to hear that, you know, 1,000 of you have launched so far since the start of Startup School. That's incredible. So, I clicked on 10 random Startup School companies from founders who posted on the forum, and only about half had landing pages. So, this is what I call the silent launch, and you do not need anything fancy for this, you know. All you need is a domain name, your company name, a short description, a contact, and a call to action. So, for example, this is a random Startup School company that I found from a founder who'd posted on the forum. Their company is Zn. They have, you know, a domain name, they have their company name, they have their short one-line pitch, a short description, and their call to action, which is, "Get in touch." The call to action can be something like, you know, "Subscribe to our newsletter," or, "Subscribe to hear more when we launch." Product Hunt, for example, has an actual product for pre-launch companies called Ship, and it's a way to collect, like, interest from potential users. So, for example, this is something called Designer School, and it has a quick intro from the founders, a short description of what the company does, and the call to action, which is "Subscribe." So, you know, you can go on Product Hunt and set up one of these pages. But, of course, you can also build your own landing page incredibly quickly and easily, and this should be something, if you don't have one yet, that you do this weekend.