January 13, 2021

Got initial users with proof of concept

Dan Willoughby @plainice

I setup a landing page with an "Add to Slack" button. I had made the proof of concept with a lot of hard coded stuff in a weekend. However, the button didn't even install the app, which I found out later by my two initial users.

To make it even more interesting, I mistakingly didn't have a way to contact me on my landing page. Luckily both users found alternative ways to contact me, within the space of a week (the timing is crazy, I have no idea how it happened). One found pushback and contacted me through that support channel.

They both ran into a problem where the slack app couldn't install. Since it was a proof of concept, it was pretty fragile. I guess it had just broken over time or I hadn't tested it well enough.

After they said it was broken, I got a rush of motivation to build it. I raced over the weekend to fix the install issue. I responded and asked them to try again. They were happy it was working. Success!

I wanted to know more about how they discovered Tellspin to try and further validate the idea, so I asked follow up question. They both said promising things:

"I found it while looking through Slack's apps for a solution for this exact problem."

"I found out about Tellspin by just googling "slack group rotation", "slack mention rotation" and similar phrases"

Another continued and said, "This is exactly what we were looking for in our company."

That was enough validation for me to turn the proof of concept into a full product. I spent a few nights for a week or so finishing all the features promised on the landing page. My initial users also asked for things I didn't really expect such as weekly rotation and multiple user groups, so I threw those in as well.

So far they've been openly communicating with me which is great. I said I'd waive the fee because they're early adopters. I have no idea if it'll be something people are willing to pay for yet, but it does seems promising. I went ahead and added a pricing with stripe with my best guess on what is reasonable. In the meantime, I'm hoping I can iterate with my initial users to make it a great product.

To increase installs, I submitted the app to the slack app store. I'm still waiting for it to be approved. It's almost been a month, but they said the 2 weeks for Christmas they wouldn't be looking at apps, so I suppose it makes sense it's taking so long.

I'm really happy that I sought validation before spending a lot of time upfront building something. I was rather busy at the time, so I didn't really expect anything to come from it. I think just letting things simmer while google picks you up can be a valid strategy, haha. I imagine you can boost initial validation with sharing the landing page with others. I didn't share it with anyone besides indie hackers.

The main advantage I see is my initial users will now guide what features I add. Who knows I might had spent 8 months building something people didn't want instead of waiting for these initial users.

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