25 things that are NOT needed to go live with your product

You want to launch a (software) product. Great. Here below 25 things that are not needed to go live with your product and find paying customers. “Not needed”, “go live” and “paying customers” in the same sentence? Yep!

  1. Advanced search functionality. Keep it simple. You are not Google.
  2. A captcha. Integrate this thing once you have spam. Moreover, a captcha blocks your first users from signing up.
  3. Fancy ajax because “that is faster and Google does it“. Don’t worry: performance will not be a problem the first months. Once you have 10K users, you might hit your first performance issues. First focus is finding those users, not solving potential future performance problems.
  4. A funny “404 page not found”. Put time and effort in value adding things for which people are willing to pay money. They won’t pay you for a funny 404 page.
  5. A perfect layout. A “good enough” layout will do for now. Sure, your app needs to look decent enough, but an OK UI and standard css frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap will bring you already very far. Don’t focus too much on pixels, focus on which problem you solve. Done is better than perfect.
  6. Video upload. If your users need to be able to post a video, let them include an HTML snippet from Youtube or Vimeo. Done you are, and live you go!
  7. Sign up with Twitter or Facebook. If you solve a real problem, people will take the time to make a new account for your software.
  8. Automatic billing. Do that manually the first few months. Start automating once it becomes a pain in the *ss. The first few months, you’ll have so few invoices to send out that automating this would be silly.
  9. A mobile version of your site or mobile app (except if mobile is your main business of course). Everyone wants an iPone app for their product. You also. But do it once you have a user base.
  10. 100% unit tested code. Of course, tests are useful. But is that the thing where you want to spend time on, when you are even not sure yet if people are willing to pay for your product? Get 100 users, and then go for the perfect test suite.
  11. A super sexy API. Is a nice to have, and you can (and probably should) add that, but after going live first.
  12. A/B testing. Not needed to go live.
  13. User preferences and settings. Try to get users first, before giving them settings.
  14. Keyboard shortcuts like Gmail does.
  15. A 100% integrated blog. Go for WordPress or Tumblr.
  16. Custom icon sets, tailor made for your app. Just get any of these.
  17. A logo. Indeed, NOT needed to go live. Twitspark, a promising Belgian startup, didn’t have any logo long after they went live. They had their logo designed after having the first customers! It’s not about your logo, it’s about solving a problem that people are willing to pay for.
  18. HTTPS and SSL. Do it soon after going live since it’s important, but it should not postpone a go live (and so the chance to get sign ups and being paid already).
  19. Drag and drop functionality. Super sexy…but really needed?
  20. An office. Our web and mobile software development company Zorros still does not have an office 2 years after go live. But we do have a lot of paying customers. That’s what count at the end.
  21. Multi language application. Translating your app seems less time consuming than one could imagine, but it’s a lot of work. Moreover, your app is less flexible and agile, since every new feature or change needs to be rolled out in different languages.
  22. HTML5 and CSS3: is not a must, is nice to have. Customers won’t sign up because you add a sexy shading. They will sign up if you solve their problem.
  23. A WordPress plugin. Not needed.
  24. An Amazon S3 server in order to scale: not needed.
  25. Custom analytic solutions: not needed. Just use plain Google Analytics to get started.

No doubt, it would be nice to have all those things. And that’s just it: they are nice to have. Not a must to have. Focus number 1 is finding paying customers. And in order to do that, you’d better go live and find those customers, before spending all your time and effort on these nice to haves. Now go live!

Any examples of things where you did spend time on, but were not necessary to go live? Leave a comment!

Author: Pieter Eerlings

http://www.linkedin.com/in/pietere http://www.last.fm/user/pietereerlings

3 thoughts on “25 things that are NOT needed to go live with your product”

  1. Great article and along similar lines to my own learning’s form working on SaaS products over the last 10 years.

    It’s all around the lean start-up philosophy. Simply put you are after “good enough” not “perfection”

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