Don’t start with a public launch.

Hi there -

Here is this week’s “1 principle, 2 strategies, and 3 actionable tactics” for running lean…

1 Universal Principle

“Don’t start with a public launch.”
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You’ve painstakingly defined and built a compelling MVP (Minimum Valuable Product) through a rigorous problem/solution fit process. You’ve collected thousands of emails from potential prospects through a teaser page. You’re ready to launch.

But, a big-bang public launch often spells disaster.


Because startups don’t starve, they drown.

They drown in data.
They drown in tactics.
They drown in user feedback.

Instead of an all-out public launch that has to juggle multiple risks simultaneously, a better strategy is employing a stage-based 10X launch.

A 10X Product Launch is a stage-based launch where you progressively open up your product to more customers starting with an initial batch of 10 customers.

If you can make your first 10 customers happy, the next stage isn’t about doing more of the same but leveling up by an order of magnitude — to 100 customers, then a 1,000 customers and so on.

These 10X jumps require lateral thinking but are more manageable than trying to go from 0 to 1,000 customers in one go.

I have used 10X Product Launches for all my products from books to software.

Here’s why.

2 Underlying Strategies at Play

I. 10X product launches prioritize the right risks first.

Most products today fail due to customer and market risks, not technical risks. In other words, given enough time, money, and effort, we can build almost anything. But the real question is “Will anyone care?”

Deliberately limiting your first batch to just 10 customers trades technical risks for customer and market risks.

If you can’t make 10 customers happy, what makes you think you’ll be able to do any better with more customers?

II. 10X product launches prioritize the right customers first.

Limiting your first batch size to just 10 customers also requires you to trade quantity for quality of customers. To maximize for speed of learning, you can’t afford to have tire-kickers in the first batch.

You need early adopters who

  • are as motivated as you to get your product to its first-value moment,
  • will give you timely and honest feedback along the way, and
  • if they get value from your product, will happily become your product ambassadors/champions.

3 Actionable Tactics

I. Use a high-touch mafia offer to recruit Batch 1 - Stage 1 customers.

A high touch mafia offer process is not only the best way to conduct initial customer/problem discovery when defining your MVP, but it also helps you deeply understand your prospect pool and qualify your ideal 10 best early adopters who will make up your first batch.

II. Use high-touch customer onboarding to deliver value to Batch 1 - Stage 1 customers.

Having few customers is a gift. It allows you to channel 80% of your attention towards getting them to the first value moment using a white-glove approach.

This helps you learn faster and overcome any inevitable product or documentation shortcomings while continually helping your customers make progress.

III. Systematize, automate, and scale your learnings to get to Stage 2 and beyond.

Convert your learnings from batch 1 - stage 1 into more scalable artifacts, systems, and procedures that allow you to progressively move from high-touch customer experiences to something more scalable.

That's all for today. See you next week.





10X Product Launches replace "Go big or go home" with "Deliver value or go home".


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