What is a Perfect Startup Launch?

Photo by Bill Jelen on Unsplash

Conventional wisdom says “launch” is a big bang event that happens in a very short period. It includes a press tour, an expensive launch marketing campaign, and if you could shoot balloons out of your homepage, most would think that’s a key element. The hard work is in orchestrating it all, so on the day of launch there is a big party where everyone drinks champagne and congratulates themselves on a job well done. New product launches that follow this conventional wisdom fail more than 80% of the time.

I’ve always launched the way it should be done — initially because I was an untrained marketer. A perfect launch lasts several months and is a very iterative, metrics-driven process. It should start with the understanding that all of your assumptions are probably wrong. You don’t know who your most passionate users will be, you have no idea how to position the product and can’t understand what will prevent potentially passionate users from reaching a gratifying experience. I once heard Vinod Khosla describe this period as watching a flock of sheep grazing in an open field. The flock always gravitates towards the best grass. The launch period is about watching the flock to identify this best grass and figuring out how to describe it to drive as many of the right people (or to stick with the metaphor, sheep) toward this grass.

Those that follow the conventional “big bang launch” waste a lot of money incorrectly positioning their products and attracting the wrong types of users. Executing the launch phase correctly improves results from external customer acquisition initiatives by 200% to 1000% within a few months. For this reason alone it is better to conserve marketing dollars until after successfully completing the launch phase.

The five startups launched with this approach have become leaders in their respective categories. Luck is only part of the reason.

P.S > I’m going to keep posting this on Medium — in aeternum — for free. If you want to pay* for these posts to continue, you can do so here, here or here.

Top writer in Venture Capital

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Exploring Revenue Based Investment? Read this first.

Turning a Failed VC Pitch Into a New Connection and Future Business — Bplans Blog

Join our team! We’re looking for a Finance & Compliance Manager at Peak Capital.

The Life and Death of a Corporate Innovation Lab — RIP 2012–2016

5 “End Up in Nothing” Problem and their Solution For Start-Ups

“Are you a Breath Mint or Dinner Mint”

How to Start Dropshipping Business on Reddit

Five facts that show we need more female founders & funders

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Zachary Lukasiewicz

Zachary Lukasiewicz

Top writer in Venture Capital

More from Medium

Don’t Hire a Marketer before Product/Market Fit

8/10 Startups fail. Ask these questions before starting so yours does not.

The Pitches You Need and How to Use Them

So Your VC Wants To Invest More? 5 Practical Tips For Entrepreneurs