On Releasing Early

Minimum Noise is now half a year old. We released it very early, with a bare minimum of features. There are many things that we want to implement still and there are many feature requests from our users.
We know that we want it to be a platform for crowdsourcing music and audio production, but besides from that, we are generally trying out things. We are in exploratory-mode. And real feedback from a live site is incredibly valuable compared to months of thinking about, planning and perfecting a product. Minimum Noise is evolving very slowly though, mostly because Sammy and I both do consulting which limits our time.

But don’t we risk disappointing people who will then not come back?


That will likely happen to some people. But that doesn’t really worry me. After all, we have a small user base, and a rather small number of total unique visitors. So even if they *all* decided that Minimum Noise is an awful site and never come back, that loss is manageable in the larger scheme of things. On the other hand, our users have provided us with an amount of content which means that instead of directing new people to a “how it works” page, they can see for themselves. This means that we are better equipped than if we had just launched, in the event of visitor in-flux from a large site. Also, this has given us some time to make minor adjustments and fix miscellaneous bugs without scandals.

Aren’t we then scared that somebody will steal our idea?


In fact, someone openly stated that they will:
www.minimumnoise.com/ForumPosts.aspx/15 (last three posts).
As I responded, we applaud that. The idea is simple and of little value. We should know – after six months, the site has not generated any revenue. To us, the concept of music crowdsourcing is obvious and the value of it self-evident. However, being first actually means that we have to establish the market which is not necessarily a good thing. While people in various industries could benefit, we have to make them aware that this is in fact an option to them. If we were entering an existing market, this challenge would have been already met by the other players. While there are certain markets that only seem to have room for one, most markets have numerous, profitable competitors.

We feel that the core concept has been proven to work by now. A number of people have had high quality music produced at very low budgets. So while there are tons of features that we still need to implement, I believe that releasing very early was the right thing to do.


4 Responses to “On Releasing Early”

  1. miles Says:

    I didnt really take the time to read this, but i disagree with him 100%

  2. gigdoggy Says:

    I liked your post, and I think you portray a rather accurate vision of where you guys stand, and what your objectives are.
    I’m working full-time on a start-up too right now. It’s called Fanteraction and allows bands to create mobile websites for their gigs and for themselves (http://gigdoggy.com). We went by many phases in our whole development process and even have entirely changed concepts a couple of months ago. (our first idea was to build a logistics platform for gig swapping bands).I t aint easy and it takes time. Only very few fortunate ideas/concepts/websites get pretty”immediate success” (by success I mean a couple of thousand uniques in the first months), and it’s often due to timing. I for instance am wary of our timing for our product. Are we too early? are there enough smartphones out? should we wait to develop more features before going full beta and promoting the service to the big extensive media list that has been laying around in some sub folder, somewhere lost on my desktop?
    I think launching early is a good idea too – you get to make contacts, get feedback, and most important of all, you test your service. No, actually the most important thing is probably the mind-set it puts you in. When you go public, you uncover yourself to the world. Can get creepy sometimes, but it’s worth it in the end.
    Good luck to ya. I wrote a post on you guys some time back: http://gigdoggy.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/minimum-noise-get-paid-to-collaborate/
    I will checking you guys out right after this comment.
    Keep in touch


  3. thomas grogan Says:

    good strategy. ive heard “release early, release often” is the way to go. as long as you have your long term product visions clear, but open to change, releasing new features early to gather feedback makes sense. if you are operating in an agile environment, then if you have a release that isn’t too popular/functional, you can always revisit the scope and change it.

  4. Kristian Dupont Says:

    Thank you guys!
    It’s true that it is a bit creepy but I feel that it is well worth it.

    Thank you for the mention, Rob. I like your product and I am interested in seeing where it will go – and in what shape 🙂


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