Documenting the launch of a new product from day 1

I'm going to try something I've never done before, nor do I think I'm very good at—documenting a journey. The goal is to share my thought process as me and my team go through the motions of building something brand new, rather than afterwards in beautiful hindsight (though, I can do that too). This will hopefully keep us brutally honest and transparent—maybe it will help someone! At the very least it will be therapeutic sharing my thoughts here as they come to me 😌

Me and the team of hackers at Obie decided to do something bold. We have been working on Obie for a few years now and are doing pretty well (as far as we are concerned), but haven't made a "splash" in awhile. Now, we aren't in the business of making a "splash" for the sake of "splashes" BUT someone once told me:

At some point things should feel easy. When things feel like you're pushing a boulder up a hill all the time, I think it's fair to assume something fundamental needs to be changed.

I'll be honest, it still feels like we're pushing a boulder up a hill.

With that, we were underwhelmed by the launch of our last product position change: Obie Access. Truth be told, even when we decided to start building Access it just didn't feel like it was going to move the needle all that much. Not something I wanted to admit at the time. For context, Obie is a Slack-first product that helps you capture and access knowledge faster at work. Obie Access was built to fill a need with small teams and startups—a vertical we had ignored historically to satisfy our customers in the mid-market who, quite frankly, have different needs.

After looking into the data of our Obie Access launch, we were thoroughly disappointed. We hypothesized that this would remove the barrier to entry for small teams and startups to begin deriving value from Obie. After-all, the breakdown of teams that have been interested in Obie historically has skewed quite small:

Obie prospective team breakdown

Alas, the addition of Obie Access and a complete overhaul to the product onboarding yielded less than stellar results..

Obie new signup onboarding funnel

Above is a cohort of data that shows less than 25% of new signups had installed Obie into Slack—a huge step (one of many) required to achieve the "aha" moment of the product. This isn't our first iteration to this flow, either. I feel like we've tried every different onboarding funnel fathomable. The one thing that does work for us here is when a prospect books a call with us and we walk them thought the whole process. This tends to be larger companies, though.

So, with that, instead of doing the same thing expecting different results, we decided to look at what our"sticky" users did to activate and engage. Then, we'd build a completely different product around that.

Yesterday (okay, so the title of the post should really be: "Documenting the launch of a new product from day 2"), I spent literally 4 hours on Zoom with the team going over a 2 week sprint plan that will hopefully end in a new product at the end of next week.

We're calling it Obie One...

More tomorrow


  1. 2

    Very excited to watch this. Thank you for sharing.

    1. 1

      I appreciate the excitement! Looking forward to documenting the journey here 💪

  2. 2

    Thanks for sharing your insights @chrisbuttenham. I look forward to following Obie's journey as you document it!

    1. 2

      My pleasure! Thanks for reading 😊

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