Don’t Break Your Product on Launch Day
Week 8 of Founding Typogram
Greetings, friends! Another week flies by, and I hope you are doing well! It has been a fun week for me with family coming to visit and lots of shopping for furniture. I fell in love with putting together furniture. I came up with a weird argument to convince myself to buy more – LEGO is expensive and carries no furniture functionalities. Putting together furniture gives me the same satisfaction that LEGO does if not more!
I also like the business model of making an app to aid the purchasing process – designing your furniture and pushing a button to buy all the parts. I started to brainstorm how can I apply this to my own business – a brand design app. If you aren’t familiar, I am actively designing and developing a brand design app for non-designers called Typogram. The app will help users to design and pu together a brand kit, including logo, color palette, and typography system. Maybe I can extend the core app to include a modular system that can design business cards, mugs, T-shirts, and more? I am not convinced that it is viable, and I will keep exploring new directions to incorporate this app-aided purchase process idea into my business model.
Everything we do or think is in preparation for the launch of the main Typogram app. The codingfont.com mini-app that we launched is no exception. It helped me:
Create a popular website where I can promote Typogram when it launches
Explore how non-designers see and use fonts
Learn the ropes of launching product and marketing
Launching a product is an art itself. This is the second mini-product launch since I quit my job and started working on my startup in August, which has done much better than the first product launch. It went onto the front page of Hacker News two days in a row! I am still gathering learnings from this launch, but three immediate thoughts came to my mind:
Write Launch Content Ahead of Time
This helps tremendously. On the day of the launch, we had all the launch content ready to go. My co-founder posted them on several subreddits and updated the posting throughout the day with how we were doing on Product Hunt. Having it ready to go also free us time to respond to comments and feedback.
Scheduling Tweets of Projects
A product launch is a 24-hour game – the sun rises at every hour in a different part of the globe. But I have to be away from my computer during certain hours to sleep. A new technique I tried this time is scheduling tweets with snippets (gifs or screenshots) of the project throughout the day to get on people’s radar. I think this was a very effective strategy in getting the project more exposure. It’s a method I plan to keep using for our next launch.
Don’t Break Your Product on Launch Day
The worst thing that can happen on launch day is going to sleep with a working product and waking up with none, which is what happened this time. Try to test and stress-test all the moving parts. Especially if you rely on a third-party API, make sure it can hold the traffic if the launch goes well. Many people only saw a broken screen and thought my post was a troll – it is more damaging than I initially thought. The app broke because it went off the Google Fonts API rate limit. In hindsight, I should not rely on the Google font API.; instead, I should self-host the data to minimize the risk.
Hopefully, with all the learning bagged, the next launch is always gonna be better than the last one! I am returning to my unfinished work on fixing this font rendering bug, which I have a proof of concept that confirms a workable direction! I will pursue it and share more in the upcoming weeks!
Last but not least, I painted some lettering art with my co-founder Hua to hang in our office. I am so excited and proud – this is my first time painting. Hua is a trained and seasoned painter, and she hand-held me through the process to realize my vision:
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