Self-imposed artificial deadlines can be brutal.

In my plan I wanted to have launched this thing by the end of September.

As I type it’s the 2nd October, so … about that. :-/

There are some excuses, but they are all pretty lame. All of our priorities are reflected by what we actually get done, whether we like it or not.

I’ve said that the best tell I have that a venture that I’ve invested in isn’t going well is the silence:

New founders normally start out with the best of intentions around keeping [others] informed, and then gradually the updates start to dwindle. Why? Usually it’s because the numbers aren’t what you’d hoped they’d be (or even what you confidently predicted they would be a month ago) and there’s some embarrassment surrounding that. That’s understandable. The inclination is to wait until the numbers are better, after the next marketing push or the next product release. But in doing so, you’re keeping information out of the hands of the very people who might be able to help. So, as soon as you know, or even as soon as you have a sense that things are off-track or not moving as swiftly as they should be, try to have the habit of expressing that, rather than keeping it to yourself hoping that you can fix it before anybody notices.

— Me, in Say Something

Ok, so I’m a hypocrite!

There has only been one update to this blog in the last month, for pretty much all of those reasons I listed.

I’ve have been making constant progress on the final remaining features. But it’s only in the last week or so that I’ve been able to get the first of those finished and live. I’m hoping to record some more videos later today to demonstrate those, and I look forward to the feedback.

I’ve also been trying to get to the bottom of some pretty bad performance problems. The app is very slow in some circumstances. No doubt that’s a function of my artisanal code. I need to do more work to understand the cause and hopefully fix it. But, again, that’s making me reluctant to push too quickly towards a public launch.

Finally and most importantly, I’ve been paying attention to how the app is used by those who already have beta access. I’ve got about 20 companies using the app now, but I’ve found it difficult to extract the patterns - some have got it straight away while others seem to struggle or not get started at all. That makes me nervous to expand that group too much until I have a better handle on what’s going on.

So, I still have a bit to work on over the next couple of weeks to get this all ready for public consumption.

In the meantime, I’d love to get your advice/thoughts/feedback? How do you deal with ambiguous feedback from early users? Do you pay more attention to those that love it, and try and amplify them? Or do you worry more about those that don’t, and try to work out what it would take to make them get it? What techniques/tools/questions have you found useful as you try to decode this sort of thing with your customers?

Thanks.