Day 114 — Building Our Launch Playbook

This week I’m focusing on pre-launch activities. I’ve gotten comfortable in the product design role — a little too comfortable — and it’s time to get outside my comfort zone and learn something new that will positively impact our trajectory. Growth is the fuel of early stage startups, and it’s time we get some.

When deciding what to work on for this week, part of me was dreading it. Truth be told, deep down I’m a little terrified of launching our app. I’m scared we launch and our app sucks. Or worse yet, we launch and nobody cares enough to download it.

#truth

But if we don’t love our app, then who will? And if we don’t put every effort into making the launch (and post-launch) successful, then it’s sure to fail.

Deep down, I firmly believe this app should exist in the world. Too little has changed since I was diagnosed fifteen years ago, and it’s time kids and teens get some better tools to help. There are 100 things I’d love to change before we put the app into the world, but that’s kind of the point — it’s time to share our work with the world and learn as much as we can.

This week is all about maximizing the odds for a successful launch — and here’s how we’ll get there.

0 — Launch Goal

It helps starting with the purpose of this launch: our goal is to learn.

I want to learn things like:

  • What does it take for us to launch an app? What do we not know?
  • Do teens want to use an app like this?
  • How do we market our app?
  • Are we solving the right problem(s)?
  • Is our app actually fun and engaging?
  • How can we improve?

But how do you assign a success metric to learning? It starts with users. So here’s my measurable launch goal:

Goal: 100 app downloads 30 days post-launch

With 100 app downloads, we should be able to generate some good metrics to see how users are using our app and connect with some proportion of those users to better understand how we can get better.

Pre-Launch Activities

There is a ton of marketing work we should do before launch. In a perfect world, we would create a ton of buzz and have a gigantic waitlist. But, this is the real world, and people are busy. So it’s time to break our goal into bite-size pieces and invest in activities that will help get us toward our 100-app download goal.

1 — Content Marketing

We’ve gotten pretty good at creating content for our social channels and website. In prepping for launch, there are a few assets we’ll create to get ready.

We have an existing subscriber list (mostly families) of about 150 people. Each one of these subscribers have entered their email address on our website, so there’s at least some baseline interest.

We’ll also create some content to help get our name out there, notably for our website, Instagram, and Tik Tok.

2 — Partnerships

I’ve done this long enough to know we can’t do this alone. There is a ton of support in this community that could be potential partners to help us reach teens living with type 1. I created an outreach list that I’ll complete this week.

3 — Content Development

One of the activities that is core to our content development is videos from real kids, teens, and young adults, As part of this we are developing a youth advisor board so we can partner with relatable experts on our app. I’ll meet with our first advisor this week.

4 — Feedback

Before launch, I hope to get some quick feedback from friends and family to help identify bugs.

5 — Analytics

Last week we implemented analytics, but now we need to test them out to make sure they work — plus, tailor the reporting to make sure it’s set up for us to learn.

6 — Bug Fixes

Nobody wants to download an app that’s broken. My goal is to launch a lean, working app. That doesn’t mean we fix every single bug, but it does mean we fix high-priority issues that will negatively impact a user’s experience.

Just since yesterday’s build, I’ve found a few new issues:

7 — App Store Prep

My goal is to get approved in the App stores the 1st time around vs. having a bunch of issues preventing our approval. We’ll invest in reducing risk.

Activities include things like:

  • Get feedback on pictures / description
  • Update Apple Data Privacy Collection Questionnaire
  • Investigate country-specific considerations

What’s Next?

Here’s my plan for breaking up the work this week:

  • Wednesday: Partnerships (Outreach), Tik Tok Video (Storyboard), Pre-Launch Feedback (Outreach), Create Content Assets
  • Thursday: Youth Advisor Board (Outreach), Tik Tok Video (Production)
  • Friday: Pre-Launch Analytics, Bug Fixes (Logging), App Store Prep
  • Saturday: Pre-Launch Feedback (Collection)

Later:

  • Promo Video

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Startup founder surviving in his parent’s basement.

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Bob Weishar

Bob Weishar

Startup founder surviving in his parent’s basement.

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