Skip to main content

What I learnt validating my MVP and promoting my app for free

In October 2015 I developed Xtegos - Voices for Whatsapp as a weekend project. Xtegos is a mobile app to read messages with funny foreign accents and share them on Whatsapp as voice messages.

After launching the MVP for Android, I wanted to test the following assumptions:
  • 1) People like sharing voice messages with someone else's voice on Whatsapp groups.
  • 2) People prefer that voice to have a funny foreign accent.
  • 3) This app will grow organically after some initial marketing effort.

In order to achieve some customer base, I implemented the following marketing strategies:
  • A) Create a website, Facebook page and a Twitter account (renamed one with 5k followers).
  • B) Share the app with my personal contacts on social media.
  • C) Share funny voice messages created with Xtegos on my Whatsapp groups.
  • D) Promote Xtegos on Facebook groups with keyword "Whatsapp" with a big lie in the post: "Xtegos, the app to share voices on Whatsapp that is revolutionizing the Internet. Selected as one of the top 10 free apps in 2015".
  • E) Email some app bloggers to review and feature Xtegos.
Strategies A, B and C were quite successful during the first few days, and helped Xtegos get its first 100 users, with many 5-star reviews (most from friends of mine). Some Whatsapp groups I am part of started sharing voice messages and the organic growth worked smoothly. However, after a week or so, the illusion was over. Xtegos was not sticky nor viral.

I went back to the lab, improved the UX, added new voices and launched the iOS and Windows Phone versions with Phonegap (as requested by some users). Then I used strategy D with mixed results: I got a few hundreds of new installations but 70% of them uninstalled the app immediately, and some of them gave Xtegos a bad review. Nobody likes lies, and if you say "Selected as one of the top 10 free apps in 2015" they would expect something ground-breaking, which was not the case.

In view of the results, I decided not to proceed with strategy E. I'll use that silver bullet once I have fixed the problems I have observed. The least thing I want right now is a bad review in a specialized blog.


What I learnt from this experience:
  • Assumption 1: validated.
  • Assumption 2: not validated. Many users chose the voice with their own accent.
  • Assumption 3: not validated. The app is not sticky nor viral.
  • Don't trust feedback from your friends, but their installations and reviews are welcome.
  • Don't lie to your users. "Fake it till you make it" is a dangerous game.
  • Don't waste your time developing the app for other platforms or languages before you have validated your value proposition.
  • Don't do any PR before you have validated your value proposition.
As a consequence, I am going back to the lab and implement a new version with the outcome of this learning experience.

Popular posts from this blog

How to jump to time offsets in HTML5 video

Let's say that you have a 30-minute WEBM video file, from which you just want to play the following video segments , jumping from one to the other automatically  without interruptions : [00:01:25.00 - 00:02:25.00] -> from second 85 to 145 [00:11:40.00 - 00:11:55.00] -> from second 700 to 715 [00:20:26.00 - 00:21:07.00] -> from second 1226 to 1267 [00:26:11.00 - 00:28:01.00] -> from second 1571 to 1681 To increase the complexity, let's think that you have these video segments in a PHP variable $arrayVideoSegments  (normally the case if they were retrieved from the database).   $arrayVideoSegments[0]->startTime = 85   $arrayVideoSegments[0]->endTime = 145   $arrayVideoSegments[1]->startTime = 700   $arrayVideoSegments[1]->endTime = 715   $arrayVideoSegments[2]->startTime = 1226   $arrayVideoSegments[2]->endTime = 1267   $arrayVideoSegments[3]->startTime = 1571   $arrayVideoSegments[3]->endTime = 1681 The

The Ethics Canvas

In 2008, Alexander Osterwalder presented an innovative tool called " Business Model Canvas " (BMC) that aimed to help entrepreneurs to capture the fundamental business knowledge about their project, and bring about pivots in order to make the business model more consistent and successful.  Since then, the BMC has helped over 5 million entrepreneurs increase the value that they provide to their users, and find a sustainable model. In 2015, a group of researchers from ADAPT Centre  started using a similar approach in order to detect at early stage all the ethical implications of a project, and help entrepreneurs and researchers pivot their idea in order to minimise these issues. If you think about new technologies such as biotech, AI, IoT, VR, biometrics, blockchain, 3D printing,... they all bring great advancements for humanity, but they have some potential ethical issues that could have a catastrophic impact. After some months of hard work and experiments, we h

El Lean Canvas, explicado paso a paso

Tengo el honor de ser profesor del curso Startup Innovation Lab , del Plan de Empleo para la Educación Superior , en el que jóvenes canarios en situación de desempleo descubren las principales técnicas de emprendimiento siguiendo la metodología Lean Startup . Dado que no hay muchos ejemplos prácticos y en español sobre cómo completar el Lean Canvas , he creado un vídeo de 14 minutos en el que se explica, paso a paso, cómo completar el canvas utilizando Spotify como producto de ejemplo. Éste es el canvas resultante. Espero que sea de utilidad al igual que lo está siendo para mis alumnos.