August 30, 2019

Pushing through: Soft-launched after two years

Wouter van Lent @Wouter

Everyone knows the golden startup rules; talk to your potential customers, create an MVP and ship early. But what if your product doesn't fit that standard model?

Bolstat is an all-in-one SaaS monitoring tool, by definition you can’t cut it down to its most simple feature otherwise it wouldn’t bring the key value. But that means a long development stretch until you can test it out with your first users.

Two years ago i started playing with the idea because of my own frustrations with using a combination of existing tools. To protect myself from the, in this case exceptionally big, “Build it and they will come” trap I did twenty 1-hour interviews with potential customers. Besides that, my day-time job was already looking for something like Bolstat for the day-to-day operations. When doing the interviews and when talking to a lot of other people, it became clear that there was at least some potential in the idea.

After the user research, a long development phase started. Even though single features were not interesting enough as all-in-one package for the outside world, I could test them out at the day-time job SaaS. This made sure the platform was pretty battle-tested, even before the beta phase.

Throughout development it was very hard to push through to get the product in a releasable state. Indie makers here know how hard it is to juggle between your part-time project, day-time job, social life etc. But for me also an unexpected one and a half year move from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur fell into my lap. In the end, persistence and just "showing up" everyday got me to that finish line.

The last few months several companies have tested Bolstat in the beta and provided me with much needed feedback. After implementing the first few rounds i felt confident i can open it up to more users. That's why i opened up public registrations yesterday.

There are still steps to take to get the product to my perfect feature-complete toolset, but it feels amazing to have launched a solid foundation! 😃

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