12 Launches in 12 Months

Space shuttle launching

I recently had the unpleasant experience of shutting down an app I truly believed in. I built it with a partner who I admire as a person and enjoyed working with. We spent hundreds of hours over nearly two years adding features, listening to users, learning from competitors, crafting an app that we thought was the best solution in that space and finding creative ways to market it. We built it for a scale that could likely handle tens of thousand of concurrent users. This app was ready to change its industry.

But it never took off.

A lot of people seemed fundamentally resistant to the concept. We kept deferring an all in launch to improve the product until we lost confidence in the idea. As a result, it never got the network effect it needed to add value to users.

Inspired by levels.io, and perhaps as a bit of a palate cleanser, I’m taking the opposite approach: 12 launches in 12 months.

Why focus on 12 launches rather than projects?

If a project launch is successful the next launch should iterate on it rather than an entirely new project. I don’t want aiming for 12 entirely different things to prevent me from growing what’s successful.

Also, launching was the biggest hurdle in the app I’m shutting down. We spent far too long developing and put far too little time, effort, and thought into how to properly launch and grow it.

Why a launch a month?

The time constraint will force me to think about what the true MVP of each project will be. What do I need to build to appeal to users? What can wait until it’s clear there is traction?

Most of the development will have to happen within a week or two. The other two weeks will be focused on properly marketing the launch and planning the next one.

Why 12 months?

I have a backlog of things I always wished existed but don’t. This is my opportunity to build some of them.

Also, while I’ll never be able to reach a significant sample size, I don’t think one or two launches is enough of an indicator of whether this time boxed approach works well.

Finally, I want to learn how to launch and it’s much easier to learn something while you’re putting it into practice. Launching and learning 12 times should help me learn the skill much more than another one off attempt.

Why follow along?

It’s a little early for me to encourage you to try 12 launches in 12 months. It’s going to be a tough journey and I’m having second thoughts even as I write this post. 🙂

But I’m happy to share each launch before or when it happens. More importantly, I hope to share the lessons I learn along the way. I hope you’ll learn with me and discover some sites and apps you enjoy using in the process.