2023 W9: V2 launch. Successes and Failures
Every week I post about one thing that happened at Rows. We're building in public!
This past week we launched Rows v2.
This upgrade includes more than a year worth of new features, improvements and fixes.
The launch went well, but we didn't nail everything which we proposed to get:
Results (signups!) ✔️
Launch features ✔️
Product Hunt launch ❌😿
Social media coverage ✔️
Here's what went down.
As I'm writing this post, numbers for the past week aren't final yet.
But I can already tell you that the our v2 launch will be comparable to our best week this year, which was when we released our OpenAI integration in early Jan. And that was a very good week.
That's in terms of the early measurable data (signups), but I expect also a bunch of activity from existing users, as we've been shipping a lot (W3 and W12 actives).
So, it was worth it. But we could have done much better.
Our plan included 5 product releases before the 2.0.
OpenAI integration, accessible via functions and Wizard;
We launched them all before end of Feb, which was our goal. We did have to fight the usual bugs and regressions, especially on complex features that have a lot of touch points (Grid v2 and Data Tables).
Launching all these projects in January and February is great for our users, and it feels great too. How we managed to ship off all of this? By letting our teams free of bureaucracy and follow our "ship and demo" culture.
A launch involves quite a preparation from a marketing angle:
What is the message of the launch. Ours was "The biggest upgrade to Rows yet";
What is the message that summarizes the state of the product - "The spreadsheet where data comes to life";
Defining who you're talking to! In our case it's Managers at SaaS companies - Marketing managers, Ops, Business managers who want easy access to data and a beautiful spreadsheet where they can analyze the data and share it.
The images for the launch. The highlight were feature summary slides like the above, styled after Apple's own launches;
an update to the website, highlighting new features!
an awesome video!
lots of text, for emails, for releases, etc.
Product Hunt launch ❌😿
This was clearly NOT a success.
If you participate in something, you do it to win. We prepared for our Product Hunt Launch but got to only top 5 in the day.
We got plenty of love (thank you all!) but it wasn't enough.
There are three reasons for why we failed:
Insufficient preparation. We had a launch ready, with content and all. We reached out to our contacts, but we didn't do enough. First, I think we had so much communication over the previous weeks that some users and friends of Rows were confused. Second, we didn't segment the communications enough. You should launch early in Europe, then break the news to USA users later on, and other geos later still. We kind of did it all at once.
Bad luck. Many products get picked up and featured by the Product Hunt team as soon as they launch, and ours took a while (1h) to even show on the page. We should have prepared the launch better in that regard.
Great competition. Our launch day coincided with other products who scored big time. Compared to other launches we did in the past, and to other product launches in the week, we might have gotten to 3rd or 2nd place. 568 upvotes and 133 comments isn't bad! Hats off to the top 4. You $%&/(#s!
Anyhow. We didn't get what we wanted out of it!
Note: Product Hunt is not a significant source of signups for us, never has been. The biggest sources are organic visits, some breakout feature launches and the ocasional referral from a well known online personality. But we like to win!
We were much more successful on Hacker News.
Rows at some point climbed up to #2.
This was the post which made it, inserted by a fan of ours from Canada. Ofc, the post spawned a busy discussion on SaaS, spreadsheets, companies and code. Typical of Hacker News.
I'd say that here, too, we were quite fortunate.
Twitter and Linkedin posts raked in close to 200 retweets and more than 1k likes. We got plenty of messages and more love than we can thank for. (Thanks again!).
We also got a bunch of articles and reposts from our investors, which was great.
Overall, we got 5 in 6 items properly delivered. We failed one of them - Next time, ProductHunt! See you next week.
*Update - it was a record week in terms of our key metrics!*