38 thoughts on “How we validated our SaaS product without building it

    1. They should have asked you about the design Alan. In fact, they should have never launched before they nailed the exact color palette that their target customer liked. Because you Alan, fully understand what a MVP is for: polishing your product and thinking about every detail. Thank you for your valuable insight.

  1. Nice read, thanks for the article.

    A side question, I notice you are not using social shares on your blog, is this because no social sharing is now some kind of trend, you don’t like how they fit your design, or you tested the efficiency of using social sharing?

    1. Hey Jason!

      We just launched a new blog theme (hope you like it!), and haven’t had time to add social sharing links in a way that we liked.

      We’ll experiment with these in the future, but I’m not missing them so far 🙂

  2. This seems like a highly unethical business practice. You are falsely advertising that you have features and functionality that you do not without even having the intent to add these features. From the perspective of optimizing your own time and development efforts, I can see how this is effective. But this comes at a high cost in terms of compromised integrity.

    1. Hi John,

      It’s important to note that the landing page clearly stated “Start the Demo” — at no time were we advertising a complete or fully functional product, nor were we soliciting payments/credit cards.

      I’d like to think that we responded to the validation with a working product very quickly, and won the trust of our customers in our ability to deliver on our promises.

      If you’d like to chat offline, happy to: matt@sendwithus.com

  3. Are you worried at all that your results are distorted by the interests of the 803 people you attracted to the page?

    For example, if you guys are developers, you probably have a lot of other developers in your personal networks and following you on Twitter. Developers are likely to be interested in an API, therefore, that’s what they clicked.

    1. Hey David,

      Excellent point; something we tried to address, but couldn’t 100% mitigate. This will come in a followup post, but we were very cognizant of the types of people in our personal networks, and tried to attract a few different types of people.

      1. Hi,

        I have a doubt regarding that. When you say you attracted a different set of people, did you already have a certain segment in mind to whom the product could appeal to? and then how would testing lead to discovery of early adopters?

        Thanks!

        – from a student interested in Product Management.

      1. Hi,

        I’m also very interested by the way you have promoted this early experiment. Waiting for that post.

        Mainly because if you want a viable sample of potential users of your end product, you need to be sure that every early users represents that market state.

  4. What would be really great is if this blog post was about a fake product experiment for some firm to guage interest in product development and experimentation 😀

  5. Nice article!

    As long as I find the approach very effective altogether, I’d like to point out something I was wondering about: most of the non-implemented features aren’t really self-explanatory and someone might click on the related item just out for curiosity (to try and understand how it looks like, e.g. “API config”).

    For you all the clicks translate into a potential client’s desire to have that feature, which might not always be the case.

    How do you distinguish actual needs from general curiosity?

    1. I think you make a strong point here, and we could have done a better job discussing our interpretation of the results.

      Ultimately there’s no good way (that we found) to distinguish such events. You could also argue that features that are more prominent in the UI (at the top of the sidebar, for example) are more likely to see clicks.

      The best you can do is take the data for what it is – fuzzy. But that doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful, just that results should be carefully considered and (most importantly) discussed with customers who went through the experiment. We were very diligent about doing both of those.

  6. Hey sendwithus team,

    Great post. I think you all took a very ‘scientific method like’ approach to quantify some typeof results. Like some of the other commenters, I’d like to know how you got those 800 visits so quickly. What were your promotion techniques? I recently watched a talk with Gary Vaynerchuk, a well known venture capitalist that’s known for getting a little ‘scrappy’. He had the opinion that you SHOULD use google ads or whatever marketing tactics available. Simply using ALL forms of marketing is important. I’m not sure how valuable purchasing ads is for an experiment, but spending marketing dollars to attract customers is a no brainer. Google created a tool to be utilized, not to be debated among entrepreneurs questioning the validity in their product. Batman uses all of his tools at one time or another :).

    – Joshua

  7. Very interesting post. How did you manage to get that many visitors in just 24 hours after launching from nothing? Do you recommend investing money on ads?

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