Build, Measure, Learn it’s the mantra of the Lean Startup Methodology. The idea of a lean startup is often confused with the bootstrapping. Lean is not bootstrapping and many Lean Startups are working with tens of millions of dollars and sparing no expense so don’t think of lean as saving money. Lean is all about customer development and learning from your users. This post isn’t about learning Lean Startup practices, but if you want to go a bit deeper definitely check-out this article.
We launched Appraiso earlier this year after spending over a year building the platform. We are following the Lean Startup principles which means that our focus is on customers and understanding the needs that they have. In fact we didn’t spend a dime or a minute on coding until we had first validated that there was a need for this product. That’s step one. Once the need was validated, Daina and I found one of the best developers on the planet to become a founder, CTO, and lead developer and away we went!
Appraiso v1 was all about getting the platform out to users and seeing what people liked, didn’t like, and what they would like to see in future releases. We thought we might get 100, maybe 200 users, before two weeks had passed we had over 500 active users! It was a great feeling, and we quickly started interacting with our users and asking them for their feedback. Here’s a summary of the top feedback we received:
- Bulk Appraisal – this was #1 by a longshot, people found it unbelievably frustrating to manually enter sites when they wanted to evaluate 50 or 100 sites at once. We had a good segment of users that said they would upgrade their accounts if this feature was available too, which is great feedback and shows how strong the need was for this feature.
- Appraisals Without Logging In – the second most popular feedback was that people wanted to try-out the system without having to create an account. Since we did get many more users than we initially expected this certainly didn’t stop a lot of people, but we know there are still a good number of people who want to try it out before creating an account. It’s a fair point and after consulting with a number of other people we agree it’s the right move and you can expect this to happen in a future release.
- More Data – the third piece of feedback we received from our users was about data. They liked seeing the price, but they wanted to know the data behind the price. We are currently working with some of our most active users to go even deeper-into this feature and how we could make it the best that it can be.
- Logo - while this wasn’t one of the top things people commented about, enough comments came in that we felt it was a good quick fix to take care of. People kept getting confused and thinking the company was called “apprais” since the “O” at the end looked more like a logo than an “O”.
So when we looked at what we wanted to accomplish with Appraiso v2 we knew that our first priority was to give the users what they wanted – Bulk Appraisals. We built the platform, measured the response, learned from our users, and have now iterated, and we’ll do it again, and again, and again learning each time and making each version better than the next. We even iterated on our banner ads which you can see on a number of blogs highlighting the new version and main feature we added, which as we say on the banner – you asked for!
This process has been a lot of fun and no, it’s not a little one or two hour a week project, this is a real company with the three of us working away to make it happen. If you haven’t tried Appraiso yet, now is a great time to create a free account. If you have but haven’t provided feedback yet, now is a great time to share your thoughts with us!
Our goal is to become the standard for Website appraisals and we are well on our way. As a user of our platform you should be confident knowing that the time and energy we put in the platform and mathematical algorithms behind are appraisals are beyond what anyone has ever done in this niche. You will see new versions coming every couple of months, and if you want to talk to me, Daina, Bobby, or all three of us on the phone, you can.
When you build a website with real revenue and traffic what you’ve built is a business. Appraiso can help you better understand how much your business could sell to an end-user and help you spot scams if you’re evaluating a potential purchase. It is absolutely free to try and our subscription plans start at only $10/month. Build, Measure, Learn it’s the Lean Startup way, and we’re happy to say it’s also the Appraiso way!