Using a launch page as an MVP to achieve validated learning


I set up a launch page on LaunchRock for Pomos, and set to point to it. The launch page only contained a short description and a box for people to submit their emails.

The point of this page was to test my hypothesis: would people find Pomos useful? Not only that, but to do it in a way that would allow me to learn without spending too much time and energy in building it first.

In the past (e.g. with predictd), I made the mistake of spending months on development, then launching the product, only to find that no one used it. Part of this was because of my newbie web development skills, part of this was building first and exploring the market second.

To use an entrepreneur’s time more efficiently, Eric Ries introduces two key concepts in his book, the Lean Startup. One is validated learning. Validated learning is about coming up with a hypothesis on the company’s growth or value (or both), and testing that hypothesis by collecting the relevant metrics. Often times, this data collection
is done with a minimum viable product (MVP), or a barebones product that is just good enough to get the data you need.

The growth hypothesis is how the entrepreneur thinks the website will grow (referrals, ads/searches, etc.). The value hypothesis is what value the entrepreneur thinks the site provides. I decided to test some value hypotheses first.

The first value hypothesis was “peole think the idea of Pomos is useful, and want to use Pomos to implement the Pomodoro Technique and boost their productivity”. I tested this hypothesis with the launch page, a MVP of sorts. Page views were rather low (I don’t have much of a social network reach…), conversion rates were decent (~10%). I received only a little feedback (even after reaching out to the first signups for feedback): a few were looking forward to it, several who didn’t provide their emails said they were afraid of giving out their emails for something they couldn’t even use yet. Good point. I didn’t want to submit the launch page to blogs, sign up for AdWords, etc. because there wasn’t even a product yet.

I decided to continue developing Pomos (which I was actually doing while waiting for my launch page stats). I considered my value hypothesis supported by the feedback and conversion rate I received. But the biggest factor was that Pomos scratched my own itch: I wished for an app like Pomos everyday at my summer internship this summer, and I often found myself wishing I had an app like Pomos while I was developing it (you can read more about how I came up with the idea for Pomos on the Pomos Help page).

The second value hypothesis is currently being tested. Once the data is in, I will write another post on it.

That’s how I used a launch page as an MVP to achieve validated learning, and have decided to develop and launch Pomos.

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