All this is good, but how do you jumpstart an app like this?
How did Intend get it’s first 10 users?
Paid ads? Product Hunt? HackerNews?
By 1:1 outreach.
Malcolm manually sent out emails to his initial customers. No code, no software, no system.
Doing it all manually.
This also helps build a personal connection with your users. And understand their biggest pain points.
Charge from Day 1
It’s easy to think that productivity apps need a freemium model. With PLG being all the hype these days, you may be tempted to offer a toned down version of your app free forever.
But free users don’t mean much, they don’t give any useful insights, and you often end up attracting customers who never intend to pay.
That’s why Malcolm recommends charging from day 1.
Intend grows via 3 channels primarily -
Word of Mouth - mostly happy customers recommending the app to their friends.
Online Communities - Malcolm was part of a co-working chatroom for a long time, and after building Intend, he realised that the app would be perfect for this and other similar communities.
Competition Integrations - Beeminder is another niche productivity app, but its more metrics driven than intention driven. Intend gets churned users from Beeminder and other such apps for which it builds integrations for.
The goal with online communities and competitor integrations is to embed yourself in places where your ideal customers usually hangout.
Do that long enough and you will start to see people signing up for your product.
Top Lessons from Intend’s success
Have strong opinions or a philosophy and build the app around that. Don’t be generic and boring.
Start with unscalable approaches - reach out people 1:1, accept payments directly, send emails manually etc.
Charge from the beginning - don’t attract freeloaders.
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