The Big Possibilities in Launching Fast Two different founders had the same idea, at the same time last spring. It happens pretty frequently with breakthrough innovations. Great minds think alike. Two different founders had the same idea, at the same time last spring. It happens pretty frequently with breakthrough innovations. Great minds think alike. Anyway, there’s not much differentiating the two founders. They’re both driven. They’re smart. They know the tech will probably work, based on accumulated experience. And they’re willing to work hard to create the future. Recently, these men were profiled in the press–you know, industry piece. They were still very much alike. Happily married, two kids, one investor. And both were still running the business they founded earlier. But there was one difference, though. One of them had just put together a modest launch after silently sweating over the product for well over a year. The other was riding a rapidly growing seven figure business like a mounted bullfighter in a kids’ cartoon. What was the difference, then? Have you ever wondered, as I have, what makes this kind of difference in a founder’s success? It isn’t always a native intelligence or talent or dedication. It isn’t that one person wants success more than the other. The difference lies in how quickly founders learn, and how quickly founders apply that knowledge. There’s a name for how this works in Silicon Valley geek speak: cycle time. The faster you cycle through prototypes and experiments, the faster you can build exactly the right technology. It’s the primary metric that venture capitalists like YCombinator use to choose sectors worth investing in. If you aren’t consciously trying to optimize your cycle time, you’re on the fast track to becoming an also-ran. Many technical breakthroughs come from robust cycle times. For example, the Wright Brothers became the first men to fly. For centuries, visions and blueprints were sketched by luminaries, in the hopes that they would become the first person to sail through the air. The competition heated up in the late 19th century. A number of well-funded inventors were going after this problem. Many technical breakthroughs come from robust cycle times. For example, the Wright Brothers became the first men to fly. For centuries, visions and blueprints were sketched by luminaries, in the hopes that they would become the first person to sail through the air. The competition heated up in the late 19th century. A number of well-funded inventors were going after this problem. The Wright brothers were unfazed. They owned a bicycle shop, one with a long corridor protruding out the back of the shop. They realized they needed to increase their experiment cycle time, in order to figure out why certain shapes would exhibit lift when exposed to a strong gust of wind. They turned their cycle shop corridor into a wind tunnel, and figured out how to lift works under all conditions. They discovered three axis control thanks to the rapid experimentation in their ragtag wind tunnel. Based on this breakthrough, the Bros felt confident enough to man a home-made glider with a propeller engine made of aluminium. Wilbur won a coin toss, and became the first man to try flying on what would soon become the modern airplane. What most founders miss, though, is that cycle time applies to marketing experiments also. How quickly you run experiments. Pick up on your market’s preferences. Adjust to them. This determines your product’s success….even if you don’t have a product. You can quantitatively de-risk your assumptions about your market. Just launch fast, hard, and often. By launching quickly, hustling, and figuring out what each market segment wants–even before you build anything, you massively stack the odds in your favor before you use technical cycle time to build out your product. And that is why I am writing to you and to people like you about Launch Tomorrow. That is the whole purpose of Launch Tomorrow: To give you practical knowledge – knowledge you can use when launching a new product business. Successfully. Why Marketing Cycle Time Matters See, the real problem is with launches themselves, or at least what people typically consider launches: stealth mode launches. Stealth mode launches were quite popular in the 1990s, during the dotcom era. People would raise a lot of money, build out a custom solution to address a specific problem, and then do a big launch when they hyped up their product as much as they could. So basically they’d spend millions of someone else’s dollars to build something for a potential market, all without even speaking to their potential buyers. If you do that, you end up flying blindfolded. At the same time, you raise prospect expectations massively. Flying blind sounds like the perfect formula for a crash landing–most of the time. With stealth mode launches, you avoid telling anyone about your product before it’s ready. You’re afraid the idea might be stolen from you. This is unfounded. Particularly in technology, your biggest asset is always how quickly you execute. A patent will only protect you later if you manage to create a big enough business to support any lawsuits which come out of it. 1. Attention Is The New Bottleneck The major downside of a stealth mode buildup to a large launch? It’s a big black hole of attention. You spend time, money, and effort–typically without validating anything with your customers, i.e. the ones who will pay you. Most importantly, you don’t learn whether they’ll even pay attention to your product when it’s ready. Because of shortening attention spans, attention is the new bottleneck when launching a product. Historically, it was enough to build a high quality product (build the thing right). The next phase was making sure you’re building the right product (build the right thing). Now, if you build the right product but you can’t attract anyone’s attention because it’s too complex, average, or based on what you think prospect should want but they actually don’t…nobody cares. In that context, building the wrong product means building one which doesn’t attract positive attention. One that constrains your market messaging so that you can’t tell your ideal prospects what they want to hear. You need to build what piques their interest into the product. Yet if you can’t catch a prospect’s attention, you won’t sell your product–regardless of how well it’s made. 2. A Launch Doesn’t Create A Business, A Customer Does In business, your customer is your only profit center. Everything else exists because your customer has a need. The need bothers your customer enough, that he is willing to pay in order to relieve it. As the primary source of revenues, your customer upholds everything else you do. This is why you need customers–fast. From the point of view of your company’s income statement, everything else is a cost. Operations, projects, and products only exist to satisfy your customer. At the moment you lose sight of the fact that the customer is your primary source of your profits, you are lost. Discovering and addressing your customers’ needs is the only purpose of a product strategy. Repeatedly. Systematically addressing a set of customer needs is the primary purpose of product marketing. A launch doesn’t actually create a business. A launch is just a marketing event. It gets the word out about one product. Customers then decide to buy it or not. At the moment a customer hears about your product for the first time, that’s what actually matters. It doesn’t matter that you arbitrarily decided to try flooding reputable news sources on a particular day. Even if you manage to “push out” a lot of product, then you have to deal with support, returns, finances, hiring, and numerous other functions which are critical to running a business profitably (but which are largely irrelevant for a launch). If your goal is to create a successful business, then don’t make launches any more important than they need to be. The point of the launch is to make your first sales, with the hope that it will build goodwill and momentum. The launch is just the beginning of a long relationship with your customer. Once you have sales, then you can figure out how to structure the rest of your business. The earlier, the better. 3. Big Batch Investments Required When You Know The Least A stealth mode launch requires a big time and money investment up front. This is typically when you know the least possible about your market, their expectations, or their requirements. Anything you build in stealth mode is almost guaranteed to miss the market, at least slightly. Fortunately, the amount of money required to get a new business (at least in technology) off the ground has dramatically shrunk since the nineties. As a result, you can invest further into a project in “batches”. As you learn about your target audience’s needs, and you continue believing that you can address their problem, then it makes sense to invest more money. By dividing further investment based on what you learned, it’s like gambling but with seeing everyone else’s cards (including the dealer’s). By truncating unprofitable paths quickly, you get to a profitable one much faster. If you’re launching into a hungry market, you arguably won’t decrease total sales. People hungry for a solution to what they consciously perceive as a problem will be willing to pay you. It’s better to learn you aren’t selling into a hungry market as soon as possible. This way you can pivot on your customer type or your product idea until you are. If you are selling into a hungry market, you’ll benefit from increased market share, because you’re in the market earlier. Moreover, a launch is always an event planned to occur in the future. Until you make sales, you’re always going to making guesses. This means you’ll be subject to your own biases. You don’t know whether your assumptions about your new market are true. Conversely, even if you’ve worked in an industry for a long time, you might be making critical assumptions which aren’t true any more about your market. You will always be best off by learning or unlearning as much as you possibly can, in order to spend your time and money more effectively. Your Best Alternative To A Launch You see, Launch Tomorrow is a unique publication….It gives you all the business knowledge you need to launch a tech product, even if it’s still only an idea. If you launch, you can start optimizing the messaging for your chosen market or choosing a better market if your initial choice was a dud. You can observe what causes them to click, read your copy, and buy from you on a landing page. These critical nuggets of wisdom mean that all of your future marketing will be more persuasive. It will convert better. The earlier you benefit from a higher conversion rate, the faster you’ll be filling your wallet and fuelling further growth from profits. If it turns out that your initial hunch on your ideal prospects was wrong, then you can pivot to a different segment. The earlier you know this, the less costly it’ll be to change direction as you aren’t gold-plating your assumptions into your product. By using the Launch Tomorrow one-day process, you can subversively use your obscurity to your advantage–Aikido style. In the Japanese martial art Aikido, you study a variety of moves to turn an attacker’s strengths against him. It’s the ultimate form of self-defense. It’s also a surprising source of strength for an unknown warrior. Turn your relative anonimity into a strong element of your counterattack. It’s an asset you will lose once your successful product becomes famous. What Launch Tomorrow Gives You Right now, I’m looking at the first page of Launch Tomorrow. It dives deeply into the heart of the biggest problem you face: how to build the right product, one that will make an impact on people’s lives. One that will sell. It’s a tempting problem to overlook, not only for newbies but also for many serial entrepreneurs who hope to coast on their initial successes. Launch Tomorrow details a system for finding a problem worth solving, reaching the most likely prospects who have that problem, and then making your first sale. By choosing a specific customer type, knowing how to access them at scale, and identifying major “toothaches” in that segment, you will be certain you are not wasting your time frivolously. If you have a long laundry list of ideas, and you want to narrow it down to the one for you, read this book! The ONE critical skill for succeeding as a tech product entrepreneur How to lay bare your chosen market so that you can enter it effectively Finding an effective source of customer acquisition for both validation and sales, so that you can acquire prospects and customers like twisting a spigot handle Why using advertising to test a product idea is still a great idea today How to prevent self-delusion and gather real feedback The critical yet often overlooked components of using a landing page MVP successfully Using previously unavailable options and features for early stage validation What keywords to target, in order to make a sale Whether or not to include price in the copy How long a landing page MVP should be, in order to work What to do if not enough people are searching How to ethically convince people to convert if you’re just starting up Strategies for focused market entry, in order to conserve your limited resources while learning about your target market Which metrics actually matter when making your early (or event first) sale How to ensure what you’re delivering is actually valuable to customers Which prioritize product benefits to prioritize at an early stage, in order to plan your product development in the future How to lay the groundwork for achieving meaningful market penetration, and be certain that’s the case The critical yet often overlooked components of using a landing page successfully (it’s not what you think) Most importantly, actually making that first sale! Get unstuck from analysis paralysis now. Much of the information in Launch Tomorrow doesn’t appear anywhere else in exactly this format. All of the content here is reduced to first principles and applied to helping you prove your product idea and make your first sale as quickly as possible. In fact, here’s my guarantee: Should Launch Tomorrow not measure up to your expectations, you can cancel this trial arrangement at any point in the next 45 days. You will receive a full refund. If you feel as I do that this is a fair and reasonable proposition, then you will want to find out what’s inside without any delay–before your competitors get their paws on it. Even though you might not have a product yet, you can create and sell something by tomorrow. If you’re launching a product, or even thinking about it, Launch Tomorrow is filled with actionable insights, experience reports, and research that’s just as fascinating as it is useful. You won’t find this info anywhere else. Nice Things People Have Said “It was not easy with so many ideas keep popping up in your head and don’t know where to start. Luke actually let me realize to be clear and focus on one idea and to make it work.” –Vincent, Singapore, Software Entrepreneur “In my corporate consulting days, I used to tell my clients market research is a waste of time, because projects usually took 3 months and required a budget of $50-150K. But this stuff really changes the equation!” –Robert Grossman, Marketing Expert, Former Managing Partner, McKinsey & Co. Execute Smart–Right From the Start The fact of the matter is, you need hard-hitting, street-smart, ideally quantitative tactics that produce results. Relevant to your competitive landscape. Easy to implement in your business. Engaging for your ideal customers. With the right product strategy, you will out-execute your competitors, right out of the gate. By a very long shot. About those two founders I mention at the beginning of this letter. They graduated from college together and together got started in the business world. So what made their lives in business different? Speed of learning. And its application. I can’t promise you that success will be instantly yours if you start reading Launch Tomorrow. But I can guarantee that you will find Launch Tomorrow interesting, always reliable, and always useful. Buy your copy now! P.S. if you’re already running a business, in most countries books are a tax deductible educational expense.