Do not mislead your users.
Really, I can't imagine it makes such a difference to have coming soon. I doubt -- though I don't know for sure -- that simply telling people you already have the product is going to give you a company changing amount of information.
In any case we should have benchmarks that will help. (Example: Perhaps the "coming soon" tag costs you 50% of your signups, so just double the amount you receive as an estimate, and then remove the tag after you build it).
if you are bootstrapping, you don’t need to do this, but you do need to compete with people who do this
One of the main premises of the book was to validate your side hustle with fake Google ads to see how many people clicked on your product. This was a very trendy idea at the time.
I knew several people who tried this trick, and it backfired for most of them. In the real world, customers are very averse to potential scams on the internet. They quickly notice if a company is pretending to be something it’s not, and they remember that the company was misleading for a long, long time.
The modern equivalent is a landing page that captures the user’s email to wait for an invite to the “current private beta”. Making a webpage that pretends to crash on checkout as this blog author suggests, is a terrible way to retain user interest and build confidence in your brand.
You mean all 30 people who clicked on your ad? It's not like you're throwing $30K in AdWords for this...
That said I thought the "is there a conference for it" is a pretty nice definition of what a niche is (at least in B2B land).
Then the Harvard MBA who initiated the project showed me what he had done. He had used a Windows binary editor to rebrand the third-party simulation software to make it look like ours. "If the product is successful we'll contact them and work out something." Product? He didn't outright tell me, but he said enough for me to realize he was going to present it as a GUI management tool for our software to a company they were trying to make a sale to.
I was already on my way out the door at that company, so I just kept my head down. I do know the demo never happened, so maybe somebody with better sense reigned him in.
What the hell kind of excuse is that?
It was a really dark time, we're still cleaning up those messes today.
It's the difference between spending $10,000s making something to find out you're incapable of selling anything, or not.
I've made this mistake, twice too, getting too wrapped up in the dev.
It's stupid to do it that way round. I wasted a lot of money, and have got burnt by a business partner that simply couldn't sell what we made despite making all the right noises.
Another example of free advice being worth what you pay for it. As someone that buys things, I don't recommend this advice. (Maybe if the person that posted it had some evidence beyond a short story it would be different.)
"I wasted a lot of money, and have got burnt by a business partner that simply couldn't sell what we made despite making all the right noises."
Just throwing this out - maybe the inability to sell is correlated with the first part of your post.
You don't have to do this of course if your price point is $10,000+, you could go get agreement in principles if it's a bigger product.
But for smaller products that are online only signup? Getting all dewey eyed over someone not getting their $10 p/m new to-do app, and go spend months building it instead and then finding there's no market?
You're making the wrong call there. Test the market, prove you can sell it, then make it. A couple of people not getting their $10 p/m app vs you losing $10,000s on wasted time is worth that.
To be honest, as a professor what have you ever had to do business-wise? You've never left academia apparantly. It must be nice to critize but I have no respect for your advice.
To be frank, we're doing quite well so far.
edit: which is why it's critical to be honest with your customers at all times.
My question is: Does it really need to be this way? Certainly humans will try to "game" the system like you're describing, but is it possible to design an economy, through regulations or otherwise, where this strategy of lying to customers won't succeed? Is business this way because we allow it to be, because the people in charge of business decisions want to maintain their ill-gained power?
An important problem in human societies, which become complex enough to examine 'memes' as elements of culture (in the original, Dawkins sense, not just the 'familiar pictures with text' sense), is that people learn 'signals' without verifying their accuracy.
Making business more honest is about getting society to use more accurate signals, which comes from, basically, work, but also awareness of the necessity of doing that work.
Defining where, exactly, the boundary between honest and dishonest is can be difficult. Is it dishonest to sell a pair of shoes that costs $2 to make for $200?
The way that more accurate signalling can fix this is that people would not assume that the $200 pair of shoes is better. Or they would not assume that someone who owns the $200 pair of shoes has some beneficial quality that they would currently associate with it.
Will not get into how to improve signal accuracy, as there's no chance my explanation would lead to the solution being used.
But what happens if only one person signs up?
You've proved it doesn't work, and yet you have to deliver your app to this one person, right?
We only have a handful of large corp companies to supplement startup growth (Garmin, Cerner, etc). Another commenter lamented about wages, but I've never had an issue with that. The key is to position yourself as a big fish in the small pond that
is KC. To maximize your wage growth: The usual strategy of "being an expert in X hottest sexy technology" doesn't work here, you have to respond to the market wants.
The main benefit of KC is the extraordinarily low cost of living, easy commute, and low population density. If you're an urbanite, you'll likely find it too small. The benefits though are low taxes, low housing costs, little government involvement in your personal life, quiet living, and the best barbecue on planet earth.
Outdoors life’s shit unless your into hunting or fishing. Worst part about living here, easily.
Not a lot of upward mobility. Hard to hire young talent.
Great barbecue and 4 seasons if you're so inclined.
The small point (more than a nit) is on “making a fake web site that appears to crash.” But indeed, be as minimal as possible so you can do a lot of rapid experimentation.