I received a lot of great feedback regarding the ALL IN Expert post.
Here’s a quick summary of the major themes:
I think you should have put a lot more thought into how to get users to find your product. Like, sometimes (often, maybe), people don’t even know they could use something and that something they could use exists. You have to educate them.
I think what really went wrong was not the product, niche or anything like that. It was the marketing/sales. You should never underestimate how hard selling even a good product is.
Many people commented that advertising could have helped a lot. I’ve got to admit that when I originally read the line “Advertising is a tax for being unremarkable” I interpreted it as saying advertising is a bad thing and that you shouldn’t have to do it if your product is great. The feedback has given me a different perspective. With an amazing product such as Facebook or YouTube you might be able to get away with primarily word of mouth advertising, but regardless of your product, a strong advertising campaign can help a lot. A great product is worthless if no one knows it exists.
I note that on the website there seems to be no real screenshots of your application in action that give me a good idea of what it does and how it works. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake – I generally won’t download /anything/ unless I’ve seen a screenshot first.
Halo pointed out that the homepage didn’t have screenshots on it. While the grid was put there to lure people in, I think I missed out on a big opportunity by not having an expansive screenshots section on the site.
Perhaps you can make an online free version and put some ads?
Some people suggested I make an online version. Had the product been successful, this might have be a viable route. In retrospect, I should have attempted this to start with, as it would have differentiated the product and given me experience doing something new so that should I fail, at least I walk away with some technical skills that I didn’t start with.
How to approach a risky project…
Fail fast and move on!
This was my favorite comment, taken from a comment on the blog:
I don’t know why you’re calling this a failure. How much time did you spend on it? Three months of time to think of, build, and launch something, even if it doesn’t work out, is time well spent. Think about it this way: that’s 4 startups a year… Sooner or later, one of them will end up working out (and in no small part due to the lessons previously learned).