I play guitar and used to play in bands when I was younger, but I’ve never had a recording contract or released a record. I can imagine (in a weird way) it’s a bit like releasing a software product. Something that you’ve nurtured from an idea into a reality and is very personal, to then share it with people outside your ‘circle’ is quite unnerving. Do they ‘get it’ – do they like it? do they care?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from GeeknRolla where we launched into public beta yesterday. Having never attended a small tech event before it was all very new to me. I’ve been to loads of large tech events, but always working on the production side and never as a delegate.
The good news is we received a huge amount of positive feedback – I don’t think it was just people being polite, we may even have some people that end up using the product. There were a few people there that didn’t ‘get it’ and thought it was useless and could build their own version in a weekend, but i’d imagine they’re the kind of people who say that about anything and everything, but never actually do it. Talk is cheap.
There were a number of speakers throughout the day, but I only got to see Dave McClure – for those who don’t know who he is, you’d probably call him a Silicon Valley ‘guru’. His main advice was to launch as soon as you have a ‘minimum viable product’. I think it’s fair to say we’ve launched a MVP. I thought we’d designed the whole thing with this mantra in mind, but it’s amazing what becomes a ‘must have’ and what becomes a ‘nice to have’ when you’re launching the following day! We ended stripping out features on Tuesday evening because they weren’t quite working properly, and you know what? It’s no worse off without them. Could we have launched earlier if that’s the case?
Imagine you’re 30 minutes into a 40 minute recording of your presentation. A little voice at the back of your mind is saying ‘better not make a mistake now, or you’re gonna have to re-record the whole thing!’ – what happens next is the pressure gets to you and you make a mistake. How are you going to feel when you’re recording it for the second or third or fourth time? You wouldn’t bother and you’d give up.
We had a working site in December 2010, but on testing we found that to record even a 10 minute presentation in one go, without making a mistake, stumbling over a few words or forgetting what’s next is actually quite difficult. We needed some way of being able to stop a recording, go back and find an edit point, then continue as if no mistake had been made. When you read it, it sounds really quite simple, the reality was very different. None the less, that’s the feature we’ve ended up with, and I think it takes it from being a usable product into something that is really user friendly, and that’s why we waited until now to release – a truly Minimum Viable Product (© Dave McLure, Silicon valley, USA.)
Spencer – CEO, CMO, CCO and tea boy.