You Are My Beta

The Importance of Observation

Most of what you need to be successful in your Beta and launch period you'll need to find out from prospective customers and users. This can be a challenge since meetings, even virtual ones, can be difficult to set up. You have a lot going on the office that needs your attention. At least one member of the founding team should be spending a large chunk of his or her time with customers, watching and learning. Even though this is critical during your initial product validation, it will continue to be a vital part of the company's success. Your primary purpose is to observe. This is your chance to see what's likely to be happening with the 99 percent of users you'll likely never meet in person. Though you're probably there to help out as well, avoid assuming, judging, instructing, or selling early in the process. These customers and/or users are in their natural state, and you want to understand that state since your job is to figure out how your company can effect a wholesale change or accommodation of that state to your advantage without user-by-user intervention.

Instrumenting the Chaos

You're likely to be operationally swamped during Beta. If not, you will be during launch. It's important to instrument some structure in your CRM (and other systems) prior to going live. You should consider your assumptions about the areas in which you assume you're likely to see issues and make sure you make items like those in Table 7.8 mandatory ...

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