Never Launch

“Never launch. Seed with a small group, see if it’s working, and then grow.” - Nikita Bier

Nikita used the exact same playbook to launch multiple apps that went viral on a global scale and got acquired for a ton of money.

Instead of doing a big launch event, he tested versions of his apps in different seed groups. The team set up stands near schools and offered rewards for anyone who downloaded and tried the app.

Dozens of these seed group experiments failed. The app didn’t take off. But they kept iterating until they found a version that went viral inside the seed group, i.e. the school. Then they expanded the experiment to a larger seed group = more schools.

The exact same strategy works regardless of if you’re building a B2B SaaS, an agency, or an app for teens. Instead of going to schools, you might have to go to conferences or simply send out cold emails. But otherwise the strategy is the same.

With a big launch the stakes are extremely high. You’re putting everything on one card. If your launch doesn’t get the traction you were hoping for, you’re screwed. There is no room for iteration. If the users you get from the launch don’t stick around, you’re screwed.

With a seed group experiment, you can iterate until you find something that works. You can fail dozens of times and it doesn’t matter. No one even needs to know about these experiments. You can keep quietly iterating until you find something that works.

Written on June 25, 2023

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