Launching Rapidly: Worth it?
Hi everyone! For today’s interview, I’ve asked Noah Bragg some questions about SnoozeYouLose. It was a startup dedicated to sending SMS messages to wake up users, if they did not they had to pay an amount they pledged.
It’s probably the fastest launched product I’ve covered and as a result has some interesting lessons to be learned. Instant exposure, at some cost.
Big thank you to Noah for doing this, let’s get into it!
Tell everyone a little bit about yourself and the story behind SnoozeYouLose?
My name is Noah. I am a software developer. My main project recently has been a startup called CoffeePass. My buddy Drew and I wanted another fun project to work on.
Drew had a friend that wanted help getting up in the morning. He had Drew call him every morning and if he didn’t wake up, the friend would have to pay up some money!
Drew thought this was a cool idea and came up with SnoozeYouLose. A way to keep people accountable by helping them wake up when they actually want to.
We would send a text at the time the user wanted to get up with a simple math problem. If they answered it correctly before 5 minutes had gone by, they would be safe. If not they would have to pay up an amount that they picked.
We would give half of the money to a non-profit as well. We thought it would be a fun way to make people accountable.
We also decided to build it in 24 hours live! In one way this was to build some hype around the idea but it was also to keep us accountable and force us to create it quickly.
We didn’t want to waste any time on this idea seeing if it would work.
You built the app in 24 hours while streaming – did the short development time work in your favor?
Yes and no. Yes in the way that we were able to build the product very quickly and get it out there.
Having people watching us kind of forced us to make it happen. It allowed us to validate the idea as quickly as possible. Not wasting time optimizing things that didn’t matter. We could only focus on the essentials.
No in that because we had to build it quickly, it was a little buggy. In some ways this was the downfall of SnoozeYouLose.
Did you research any competitors before starting?
We did some pretty quick Google searches. Found some mobile apps that had similar ideas with paying money to wake up.
No one had done just SMS messages before though. Which we thought was a good differentiation that made it so people wouldn’t have to download an app.
Would you have done anything different about your launch on Product Hunt?
I would have delayed our launch a couple of days till we had gotten some of the bugs figured out.
One of our main bugs was that we couldn’t accept credit cards payments correctly. When a user signed up it was supposed to take their credit card so we could charge them later when they woke up.
Instead it charged them immediately! Which was terrible because it would make us look like a scam.
So last minute we had to pull taking credit cards at all. We had a decent amount of people sign up but we weren’t able to start making money from them which was a bummer.
Were the users you acquired using SnoozeYouLose regularly?
We had 35 users sign up the first day. It’s a little hard to know if they were using it or not. They were all getting wake up texts every morning.
The question is, where they paying attention to it or not. 50% percent of the users weren’t replying to the texts so maybe they were just ignoring it. Or maybe they just failed to get up! It’s hard to tell.
What were user’s rates of “waking up” successfully and did this effect revenue how you expected?
50% of users didn’t wake up. This would have been pretty nice if we were actually charging people that woke up! We just sent a text saying that they got a freebie since we weren’t able to charge their credit card anyways.
The highest amount that someone pledged to wake up for every day was $50!
I think we could have been making about $100 a day.
Did you have a marketing plan past the launch on PH?
No not really. We were really just waiting to see what the response would be. It was more just a plan to see if we could validate the idea. And then we could go from there.
One thing we did talk about though is partnering with different non-profits who would promote us when 50% of our revenue would go to them. We never made it that far.
Were there any particular goals for this project?
The only goal was to challenge ourselves to be able to build a startup as fast as possible and validate it.
Hopefully learn something in the process.
Why do you think you lost motivation to work on it?
We were hoping we could have a done product in 24 hours that could just start working on its own.
It was taking us a lot more time to clean up the bugs and issues than we had wanted. We were already busy with our other responsibilities.
All that along with people not seeming to think it was great, made us lose motivation.
What was the biggest surprise you ran into along the way?
How much people were rooting for us during the live-stream. We had a lot of people join us! 800 on Drew’s stream and 500 on my stream.
It was really cool to see the interaction in the chat. People wanting to help and get involved.
What did you learn from this project that you will incorporate into your next?
Make sure the kinks are out before launching something!
I would have taken more time building the project. I would have still tried to incorporate the stream though since it was so much fun.
What are you working on now and where can people follow you?
I am working on CoffeePass. CoffeePass is a platform that allows independent coffee shops to offer order ahead services.
We are looking to sell it however, so I am looking for a new business idea to work on.
You can follow me on Twitter @noahwbragg
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