What I learned with coComment.com
A few lessons from a wild ride.BEFORE YOU LAUNCH
We now live in a meritocracy. Money, VCs, and the press no longer decide what will be successful. Great products/services with intuitive designs that solve a real problem win.
You might make it big. It’s possible!
• PRIVATE ALPHA � PUBLIC BETA
Don’t turn private alpha in public beta. Bloggers need the scoop. help them build trafic, but when the time is right for you.
• PREPARE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Use wikis for everything, prepare for peoples contributions. Either they’ll do it on their site (nobody’s interest) or on your, where the community will benefit. Prepare to channel all the energy
AFTER YOU LAUNCH: DISCUSS
• BLOG, BLOG, BLOG
blog, blog, blog, tell your story. you can’t control the conversation so improve it, humanize your company, show who you are.
• FEAR THE HYPE
keep the hype down, don’t use codes or closed system because people who haven’t tested will talk about you anyway, very often over hyping and creating huge expectations.
• FLATTEN YOUR FEEDBACK
don’t over-react, look at big picture. keep track of everything in a wiki, then look at the big picture on a weekly basis. Don’t act on the last thing you read.
• IGNORE RELIGIONS
don’t get into religious fights. some people will never like you
aggression will always look worse than it is. don’t take it personal. Feel like you’re a trophy and there are wose position
• BE PATIENT
be patient, let passionate users do the talking for you, don’t panic. Always wait one day before answering an attack
• GIVE BACK
people give your their attention, give them back your. Link, promote, buy tshirts, etc..
• BITE THE BULLET
Take the blame when you f**** up.
• BE ACCESSIBLE
be accessible. don’t separate the company from the users, everybody should participate in the conversation. Every member of the team should have an email address available on the website.
• CARE ABOUT THE SILENT MAJORITY
care about the silent majority. check your mails, check your stats (google analytics on site stats), understand all users, not just bloggers
AFTER YOU LAUNCH: GROW
• BE FAST
Move fast, really fast. Our competitor registered his domain name 4 hours after Scoble blogged us.
• COCOON CORE USERS
Capitalize on core users. WordPress: 100 core users, thousands of regular user. Outsource specialized documentation, prioritization, translations, widgets
• CONNECT WITH COMPETITORS
Meet your competitors, connect to them. they have the same problem than you, are probably much more transparent than you think. it will give you ideas.
• LOVE GOOGLE
Don’t fear google. If they step in your market it’s a sign you are, well, in a real market. And that might get you a call from Microsoft and Yahoo.
• THINK OUTSIDE THE (TOOL)BOX
Don’t focus only on user requests. Users help you think inside the toolbox, your job is to grow the toolbox.
Don’t care about the web 2.0 standards. Do things if they make sense, not because they are a web 2.0 standard (if such a thing ever existed…)
• TAKE RISKS
It’s not because every move you make it commented and analyzed you should stop taking risks. Risks are what took you there, keep on taking some. The web allows to come back very easily.
AFTER THE LAUNCH: MAKE MONEY
• FLEX YOUR ADS
Put the ads day one, even if you’re ok with losing money. they are part of the design, that’s it. ads are also the only safe metric when it comes to page views
• GET YOUR ASS KICKED
Meet the VCs, any VC. they’ll help you define your business model and challenge you
• INVENT METRICS
Create metrics: technorati, delicious, # users, g-metrics.com, you will need metrics.
ADVISES FOR INTRAPRENEURS
• FORMALIZE POST-LAUNCH
Prepare what happens next before it happens.
• PREPARE FOR POLITICS
Everybody loves you now, you’re not alone anymore!
Don’t eat the cheese