how I overcame launch friction and finally shipped something

3 min read
Published over 1 year ago

The Goal

I have a problem with starting projects and not shipping them. 🤫

I have a graveyard of them, some with big potential, some with small. Time and energy wasted on useful things that never saw the light of day. For whatever reason, I would get stuck adding features to them, thinking they weren’t quite “ready” to ship.

Despite what I’ve read and know about releasing v1 early (thank you Reid Hoffman), it was some kind of subconscious hurdle I needed to overcome.

The Plan

If I could make something interesting in a short amount of time, maybe it would reduce whatever friction was keeping me from shipping and break the cycle.

The Product

So, I came up with a small app to aid making decisions called 🧐 Image of website



I sat on the MVP for a couple weeks to “see it fresh”. Then, after some updates, I launched to Product Hunt (PH) on a whim.

Day 1

I had 36 users the first day… I posted late and got no love, but I wasn’t sad because I had launched. 🙂 Success! 1st-day visitor analytics

Day 2

Around midnight, the PH algorithm moved me to the start of the following day. This gave me the exposure to hit the front page. 😲 And, I stayed there the whole day. PH page showing day 2 rank

Had 4-5 users on the site at any time, ending the day with 800+. Day 2 visitor analytics

And after a bit of marketing (see below), referral distribution ended up like looking like: Google analytics referral list

Plus, I got a sweet mention from @ProductHuntHi among others. Tweet Mention by @ProductHuntHi

Day 3

Traffic dropped a lot as I had expected. 📉 Day 3 visitor analytics

Results after 10 days

I’m getting ~10-12 users a day. Here are the past 7 days: Week 2 visitor analytics

I’m getting 1-3 new twitter follows a day.

I’m up to 186 upvotes on PH - close to where I was when I dropped off the front page for that day (Sep 27th, 2018) PH page showing day 2 rank


The bounce Rate was high: 90% because it’s a single page application (SPA) without URL based navigation. So, interactions weren’t picked up by Google Analytics.

The engagement was there when looking at my Heap analytics funnel. Funnel

Marketing during launch

  • Posted to Twitter Twitter Post

  • Posted to BehavioralEconomics Subreddit

  • Posted to IH Indie Hackers

  • Posted to Startups Subreddit & SideProjects Subreddit to crickets

    • Had some moderators tell me I posted in the wrong area and to read the rules. Doh!

    • I tried to stay open and honest, but it’s hard when you’re subconscious is trying to sell.

  • Posted a little something to Facebook. Went something like:

    👋 Hi friends and family, I made a little side project aimed at simplifying complex decisions. Useful? or Waste of time?

Key Takeaways

  1. A no pressure approach is great for overcoming launch friction

    • Pressure comes in a lot of forms and eliminating as many non-critical ones as possible is the key.
  2. For a more successful launch, prepare…

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🤘 Based out of
Boulder, Colorado


© Will Hoag 2015-2020