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Ask HN: What do founders spend their time on, after their product launch?
26 points by vaksel 2997 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments
Seems like all the startup stories you hear, more or less play out like Cinderella, you hear about every minute detail about preparing for launch etc, then you launch, and pretty much end up with "...and they lived happily ever after". Maybe a year down the line you hear about a new version, and a few years later you might hear about the acquisition.

So what do the founders spend their time on after they launch?(3+ months after launch). You know things besides coding new features.

Those cocktails on the beach don't drink themselves!

After the launch is hell on earth, if you're lucky. A million things are happening at once, you find out all sorts of stuff you missed, you learn about all those bugs you didn't catch earlier, feature requests come piling in, angry or elated customers or users contact you, people get in touch about working together, deals, opportunities, possibilities, the air is pregnant with possibility, electrified like the centre of a thunderstorm, things just KEEP HAPPENING faster than you can keep up with them (you learn to prioritise real good, too), etc, etc, etc

That's if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, then you have the other kind of hell, the frozen wasteland where nothing happens and you can't make anyone care about your product no matter what you do.

I prefer the first kind.

Building what they should have made.

This underlines to me why it's essential to have technical founders.

That's a really good point. When early-stage founders aren't technical, the time/ability they have to "[build] what they should have made" is essentially constrained by whatever change budget is in the contract they have with their outsourcers. And in my experience, a change budget is set based on an (optimistic) estimate of the time needed to add a few unexpected features. It's certainly not enough to allow for major shifts in focus.

Great point - Often times, even after launch, startups haven't reached product market fit, and having a technical co-founder that can iterate the product according to the evolving vision is key. I recommend reading Eric Ries' Lean Startup methodology for methods of finding product / market fit.

Depends on the business, and what you're doing - but it's more or less:

- Support

- Sales - any number of sales-related things like optimising the sales pipeline or even managing sales staff if you're B2B

- Marketing and PR

- Business - things like dealing with raising money, finance, accounting, trying to negotiate the lawyers fees down, fixing up the license agreement you originally wrote...

- Finding Staff - if you're doing well, you might need to hire. It takes a lot of time up, and it's a huge decision each time.

- Managing staff - this takes a LOT longer than you think it would, i'd say between 40-80% of your time gets taken up by managing staff when you get to 3 staff.

- Product development if you're lucky

Launch is the starting point, not the end. Until you've launched something you have no idea what people actually want. It's a very rare startup which launches with the right product.

I tried to say this and ended up being 4 sentences. You did it with three. pg did it in one with "Building what they should have made"

I think he has another tshirt quote.

Perhaps I am in a niche space, but I have found that there is an endless amount of features and upgrades that can be programmed after the initial launch.

I have launched my product many times, and it's always more crazy after the launch than before. In addition, the feature requests just keep piling up: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AhL0igVI9HVNdGpaS3U1...

I don't know about you but here is my experience from my first mobile app:

After 3,5 months of development I was really looking forward to launching, relaxing and observing. I still remember when I received the notification that my app is selling and it didn't take long until the first sale came in.

But then you just realized that once your app is finished and launched, you are just starting. Marketing, sales, letting other people know about your app/startup, bug fixing, customer support.

While marketing is not everything, you will realize that even if you have an awesome product you have to market it because there is simply too much out there that anyone will notice. Of course if your product is not great, your marketing efforts are wasted. But without marketing efforts, nobody will know about your app.

After you launch, you continue to get up at 6am (because now you have customers that need your support) and work til 12am for the next 3 years before you even see the beginnings of a "...and they lived happily ever after."

The day after a launch is just as, if not more, important than your launch date.

This weekend alone have exhibited the closure of Lookery and Findory (two startups that have been at it for quite a while) and the proof that launch is merely the beginning.

Figuring out why their conversion is 0.01%.

Obsessive support

promote, feedback, build, (rinse,) repeat.. always repeat.


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