I was just checking some of the demo presentations from TechCrunch50 and was wondering about couple of important things at hand for all startups. One of them is “What is the best way to launch?” My timing could not have been right since I just read a very similar article in Wall Street Journo which postulated a sort of two-fold approach.

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1. Firstly, you should put your product out there as soon as possible, even in unfinished form, to get crucial feedback from users.

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2. Secondly, it’s better to stay stealthy as long as possible, then make a big public splash with a more-polished site.

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Now both of these approaches has good & bad side to it.

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For the 1st point, its good in the sense because it allows startups to accumulate as mu

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ch feedback from potential users which can then be funneled back into the system to better the process. On the contrary, it can also drive users away if they don’t latch onto the system considering it to be a on-the-anvil.

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Similarly, the companies that launched at the TechCrunch50 conference followed the 2nd approach where most of them were in stealth before going for the large attention at such conferences.

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Now that’s fair & fine. No question about it!

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But what about those companies who are neither showcasing in such conferences or don’t have enough consumer traction probability in the initial days of launch for feedback (these are basically those internet startups which are trying to create a different niche with unconventional products).

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Now how do they go on with launching a successful internet startup?

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Dicey as it is but the answer isn’t that complex if you think about why should a customer pay you (at the least his attention).

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If a product/service fills the gaps and solves an inherent problem for a optimum mass with utmost simplicity, I guess all these approaches will be taken care by itself. As Aaron Patzer, the CEO and founder of Mint.com, a personal finance site that sold to Intuit for $170 million said, while everyone else was doing social media, music, video or the startup de jour, we tried to ground ourselves in what any business should be doing: solve a real problem for people; Make something that is faster, more efficient, cheaper (in this case free), and innovate on technology or business model to make a healthy revenue stream doing it.

And that’s where the real value is I believe – Solving a true problem and make the solution as easy as possible to use. Even Fred Wilson’s thoughts are on similar lines i.e. giving utmost importance to ease of use and simplicity. Infact, thats what most the successful companies are doing and will do. E.g.

  • iPhone – mobile browser with a killer touch screen interface
  • Facebook – a social net with real utility
  • Wii – gesture based user interface for gaming
  • Hulu – your favorite TV shows in a fantastic web UI
  • FlipCam – a video cam that fits in your pocket comfortably
  • Rock Band – everyone can be a rock star for a few minutes
  • Mafia Wars – a natively social game built for social nets
  • Blogger – a printing press for everyone
  • Pandora – drop dead simple personalized radio
  • Twitter – blogging everyone can do in less than a minute

and many others too!

What is most critical amongst these set of companies is that they have solved a problem for most of us and the solution even is simple enough for mass adoption. Hence the dilemma of how to launch is mostly solved. What do you say?

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