Clapboss Lessons Learned
Find your audience (read: viral is not a strategy)
We didn’t actually rely on virality for Clapboss. But, we did believe that press would play a big part of the marketing and that was a mistake. I could go into more detail why this is a mistake, but it is well laid out by moment here: Moment's Guide to Kickstarter in 2017. Instead, let’s talk about what we should have done. We should have focused on getting the product to resonate (read: purple cow) with a very specific group of people. We should have done this by talking to mavens, reviewers, and partners in the smart home, or gadget, community. We should have been showing these people prototypes 6-8 months before we were sending out press kits and embargoes.
Prototype a lot earlier, and messier
Our first functional prototype came too late. And it was too pretty. We made the classic engineering mistake of waiting for perfection in sacrifice of done-ness. This one is hits hard because it is so obvious in retrospect. Prototype early and often.
No more launches
We waited to start talking about Clapboss. Some of this came from a lack of confidence about how it would be received by our Freewrite customers. That was dumb, they didn’t care. We should have been telling people, publicly, about the product much sooner. I think this also comes from engineer’s obsession with it being complete and ready. fuck ready when it comes to prototypes, conversations, and asking for feedback.
This all reads like it was a rush job, and it was in some regards. But, if we had more time, we might have made the same mistakes, just months later. Clapboss is a great product and it is still going to make it to market, but we made mistakes that cost us the 1st kickstarter. I can’t change the first result, but I can document the things I learned from it so I do not ever repeat them again.