I launched a new startup
and how I am getting initial users for it
I started this newsletter early last year with the aim to write regularly about the history of internet products. One of the main motivations was to talk about early-stage failures and metrics which are hardly ever discussed in the glorified survivorship-bias-filled startup world.
Last year had been a roller-coaster ride for everyone. I was no exception to that. Last year, my previous startup got acquired. Then pandemic hit. I started this newsletter. I started a new company. Newsletter took a back seat.
While I do plan to write occasionally about the early history of some of my favorite products, please bear with me as I am heads-down focused on my new startup right now.
So instead of dissecting the early history of a successful product, I am going to talk about the current early days of my own startup.
My new startup is called Weekday. I am trying to solve a problem that is very close to my heart and a problem that I have seen countless startup founders struggle with — hiring engineers.
We just launched on Product Hunt. I will really appreciate it if you checked it out and gave an upvote.
In the spirit of Product Stories, I thought I will talk about how we at Weekday are getting our initial users. Hopefully, it will be beneficial to a lot of others in the same boat. I will not talk about what our product does and how it works. Hopefully, you can go on ProductHunt and check it out yourself.
How Weekday is getting its initial users?
The first set of users almost invariably tend to be your friends. While almost everyone recommends you use this channel for early feedback (if your target users are the same demographic). I don’t think there’s enough appreciation of how difficult this is. Main reasons why:
The first version of your product is always embarrassing
You are making yourself vulnerable.
Fear of being judged. You don’t want to look like a fool in front of your friends. Most times, it’s lesser mental stress to get your product tested out by strangers than your friends.
But I highly recommend you do this because your friends have your best interest at heart. They will give your product more chances than a stranger would. And that’s important when your products are half-baked.
You also leave room for serendipity when you share your ideas and product with your well-wishers.
We at Weekday, approached all our friends even before we started building the product. Even though I had a product in mind, I wanted to start from scratch. We, three cofounders, called all our software engineer friends and asked them to get on a video call. We asked them to tell us who the best 10 engineers they know were. And we followed their thought process. Most of them did not have names on the top of their mind but if they look at their LinkedIn list they were able to tell us.
These 100 calls that we did ended up shaping the product. It was obviously close to the product we had initially imagined but the proportion of focus to be put on different features changed.
At Weekday, we are fortunate to get accepted in Y Combinator. The fellow founders in the YC community were another excellent pool of users to tap into.
While everyone might not have this privilege, I highly recommend joining a community of fellow founders and product builders. It can be your college alumni founders group as well. Founders generally tend to be very helpful when it comes to trying out your product (because they have been on the same boat once). Don’t assume they would be too busy to help you out.
We also did a bunch of cold reach outs. We tried email, LinkedIn, and Whatsapp. We realized that Whatsapp reach outs from our personal numbers also were an excellent channel to get users. We got around 30% response rate. Strangers were surprisingly helpful in trying out a new product, especially when it is the product builders themselves reaching out.
While we are still figuring out more ways to get users, these 3 ways have been pretty successful for us.
Meanwhile, do try out our product.
I will shortly bring out the content which you all signed up for but hope you understand.