😩 Your waitlist doesn't validate your product

📝 Lessons learned from failing fast

🌏 Freedom

Freedom is my primary motivator - more than money, wealth, or status. I want the freedom to work on what I want, when I want, where I want.

I already had the first two. But with COVID still out of control in the US (and most of the world), I wasn’t satisfied with the third.

🇹🇼 So I moved to Taipei!

Taiwan recently went 250 days without a single locally transmitted COVID case. Life is pretty much normal there.

Borders are closed to tourists, but with a Gold Card visa and a two-week quarantine, I was able to get in.

Here’s the view from my quarantine hotel:

A post shared by Tim Jones (@anothertimjones)

I’ll still be working on HelloHailey, but I’ll be doing it surrounded be new people, a new culture, and a renewed sense of freedom.

👋 First time here?

Welcome to The MVP Sprint! I’m Tim.

I’m sharing my public process of taking HelloHailey from idea to thriving SaaS startup as a bootstrapped solopreneur.

Want to follow along?

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😩 Waitlist signups don’t validate your product

I learned a lot during my last two-week sprint. As I’ve said before, learning is my most valuable currency right now, even if it’s not always good news…

🌊 Opening up the floodgates

I sent an email to my waitlist of 80 people, inviting them to install HelloHailey. I was excited to see a flood of new users try out my product.

But only a few actually did.

Was it disappointing? Sure. But it was also a valuable lesson in stating goals and anti-goals up front:

  • My goal was to attract enough early users to validate the hypothesis my MVP was designed to test.

  • My anti-goal (not a goal) was to validate demand - that my target audience wanted my product. My waitlist survey added some friction, but not nearly enough to prove demand.

I’m only human, and as the waitlist grew, I started to (incorrectly) infer demand validation. More signups would’ve been a bonus, but it wasn’t the goal behind the waitlist.

At least I failed fast

Even though it’s disappointing, this wasn’t really a “failure”. But it would’ve been had I instead spent weeks slowly emailing waitlist users.

I was able to condense all that learning into just a few days.

❓Validating my core hypothesis

Before building my MVP, I was clear about my goal:

The goal of my MVP will be to measurably prove or disprove this core hypothesis.

Without the beta users I found through the waitlist, validating my hypothesis would’ve been impossible.

After talking to users, I’ve gained confidence that it will be proven correct:

🤗 Hailey has spawned some nice conversations and everyone on the team seems to enjoy it.

🤥 All of her questions had pretty good engagement. Most of the team responded/commented at least once. Two Truths and A Lie was a fun one.

🌇 The best sunset prompt is igniting the chat.

🤣 Finally installed Hailey, and she already made me (and my boss) laugh!

I'm optimistic, but I still need more users and more time to learn more. In the meantime, I'm starting to build something new.

Last sprint, I hinted at using gamification to make it more rewarding to engage with Hailey. I wanted to have a fleshed out product spec for this update, but I didn't have much time this past sprint prepping for my 6,000-mile move.

Next update, I promise I'll be able to share more.


🐶 Try out Hailey with your team

HelloHailey has finally opened up to the world! Add her to Slack to spice up your remote work day:

Get your (remote) office dog

Installation only takes a few minutes; no credit card required.


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