Why We Waited Four Years to Launch Our Second Product

Are you ready for a second-generation product? Here’s what to remember.


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Ever heard of “Difficult Second Album Syndrome“? You may not be a Billboard-chart-topping artist, but you can empathize with how tricky it is to surpass expectations of your first brilliant creation. Every successful startup — like any successful artist — will eventually have to ask themselves: How can we repeat our success?

Related: Stop Manipulating Your Customers With Live Product Launches

Making a second-generation product that lives up to the first is not just difficult, it’s almost impossible — unless you take the right measures to reinvent yourself and listen to your users in the process.

Many tech giants — and increasingly smaller firms — push out their new hardware quickly, to improve on the previous failings in their solutions, or to jump on a bandwagon with new technical opportunities.

Airtame started as a record-breaking crowdfunding success in 2014. Four years ago, we released our first product, which sought to be the wireless HDMI solution in professional settings. During the four years that passed, the team has been focused on what product to build next — and when. We had neither the financial opportunity to push out new hardware right away (or the necessity to improve a poor first-gen) nor the willingness to shift gear so quickly.

And, great news! We finally launched Airtame 2 on Oct. 10. 

Related: 8 Steps for the Perfect Product Launch

Now that we have a second-gen product that is much improved and serves more purposes than the first, we feel we can bestow insights from our journey onto other startups trying to make it.

Follow your own path.

Take Apple, a massive tech giant that spits out new products all the time. It’s hard not to compare yourself —  especially if you’re just getting started — with all the financial woes, etc., that this stage entails. Inadvertently, you look to the stars to find wisdom.

But you’re not Apple, and don’t need to pretend to be. You can’t launch a new product yearly with a Steve Jobs-esque “one more thing … ,” and dazzle (despite wanting to). At the early stages, it’s so much more important to focus on talent, sales and knowledge growth. Introducing new hardware when you’re not a giant player can be misconstrued as a false step — as if you’re covering your tracks from what may or may not be a disappointing first-gen product.

Our initial product’s form factor, design and portability was innovative enough to keep us focused on getting the most out of the components. The rapid approach to firmware and software development is wildly different from our hardware approach. Hardware production is tough, long, expensive and not agile at all.

That’s why knowing and owning your limits (i.e. not being Apple) is the best advice to adhere to. You have to find the right path to upgrade a product, rather than the product itself.

Related: From Backers to Buyers: How Kickstarter Helped Me Launch a Product the Traditional Way

Don’t forget your first-gen customers.

Every company thinks they have a problem to solve. But, if your early adopters don’t understand the problem, if they don’t get the solution or if you simply can’t bring on new clients or retain your current client base, then you should probably start over and devise a new strategy.

The only way to launch your next generation product is to focus back on your success and pre-existing customer base. Focus on the following prescient questions:

What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

Airtame’s main objective for the first-gen product was initially to get rid of the cables; a simple mission with a big impact, and a common issue for many professional environments. The focus was easy to comprehend and would solve something we knew was a problem.

When you have a clear problem to solve, use your initial customer base to test out the product and make the necessary changes. These first-generation customers will give you a clear vision of how well your idea is performing.

From there, you’ll be able to make changes based on their feedback and identify the areas you need to improve.

What do your customers value most about your solution?

It could be speed, convenience or even the design itself. There’s always a crowd favorite. For us, it was the freedom that clutter-free environments suddenly provided and the flexibility of a cloud platform.

If they aren’t tethered to the front of the screen or limited to a certain usage, presenters can find whole new ways to use professional displays. Airtame accomplished its initial mission of getting rid of cables. With our second-generation product, we want to help people use screens better in a professional setting.

How can you make your solution more valuable to your customers?

There’s nothing more important than the feedback your first-gen product gets. With that, you’ll be able to test extensively, eliminate bugs, re-use what already works and keep analyzing, eventually reaching a state of clarity that can be used to develop a new and better product. Release beta versions or prototypes to avoid putting your business in harm’s way.

Related: 4 Great Tips for Planning a (Nearly) Perfect Product Launch Party

Remember these things before your next big launch.

There are a few important points to keep in the back of your mind before you start getting insanely creative with a possible new solution.

First of all, your company is only as good as the people you employ. And if the people on board aren’t all on the same page, the product you deliver won’t feel like a well-thought-out solution.

Secondly, feedback is everything. Whether you’re bringing something new to the market with your second-gen product or improving on an existing product, you can’t do so without identifying what you’re doing right, wrong and what you could do better.

Product development isn’t a linear process you can put on repeat (although that would be nice and, frankly, kind of boring, too).

Be David Bowie, not Vanilla Ice.

When you’re not a huge tech company, you really have to think long-term with every new product, especially if you’re spitting out hardware. Stabilizing the company is just as — if not more — important than trying to outdo yourself immediately after your first release.

Don’t try to hack your production when you’re a young and ambitious startup. Instead, hack growth. Get smarter. Focus on acquiring as much feedback and UX testing from your customer or client base, and then feed that into the bigger production plan.

Don’t be a one-hit wonder like the Billboard-chart-topping “Ice, Ice Baby” when you’re so much more. Be a David Bowie instead, and reinvent yourself while still staying true to your tune.

Source link

more recommended stories

  • 4 Ways to Successfully Turn Your Day Job into a #SideHustle That Earns You #PassiveIncome from #ThePowerofPassiveIncome

    Find out which key moves you.

  • J.M. Smucker Is Up, But Rest of Stock Market Soft After Minutes of Last Fed Meeting Released

    The stock market wasn’t sure what.

  • The 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup

    Every funding decision is a complex.

  • The Most Important Career Lessons Are the Ones You Learn From Your Mistakes

    Instead of being embarrassed by your.

  • 7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan

    February 20, 2019 7 min read.

  • Must-Reads for List-Makers, Disrupters, and Social Entrepreneurs

    Inspired by our own personal goals.

  • 3 Fast Ways To Get Good Press

    Whether you’re a publicist or a.

  • 9 Questions to Ask Candidates’ References

    February 18, 2019 5 min read.

  • Are Your Goals Too Small? Here’s How to Know.

    See your life transform by setting.

  • 5 Partnership Lessons From Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

    Neither would be wearing so many.

  • Learning From Kevin Hart’s Social Media Mistakes

    He lost his gig at the.

  • Breaking Through on the PGA Tour After 187 Tries

    PGA Tour player Ken Duke shares.

  • Learn How to Practice Mindfulness at Work for Less Than $40

    Make the ancient, stress-relieving discipline more.

  • Why Your Next Startup Should Focus on Healthcare

    Breakdowns exist in the healthcare system,.

  • Market Up as Government Shutdown Averted, but FAANG Stocks Still Down

    The government shutdown drama is over.

  • 9 Business Ideas Under $1,000 You Can Run From Anywhere

    February 15, 2019 11 min read.

  • How to Make Your Wealth Last for Generations

    Hone your financial literacy and sustain.

  • Bed Bath & Beyond (Up 49 Percent This Year) Continues to Rise, but the Market Falls Flat

    Stocks were not feeling the love.

  • This Startup Raised $30 Million. Now, Its Founder Is Accused of Fraud.

    This promising Mexican startup closed its.

  • Corporate America Needs Understand These 4 Keys to Working With Millennials

    Millennials have a bad reputation that.

  • Government Shutdown and Trade Talks Still in Limbo but Market Up Slightly

    The stock market didn’t seem overly.

  • Jack Dorsey Picks Elon Musk as ‘Most Exciting’ User, Amazon Buys Eero and Prices Spike at Whole Foods (60-Second Video)

    Here are three things entrepreneurs should.

  • This CEO Says That Second-Guessing Your Business Is Natural

    The big decision for this Canadian.

  • The Government Shutdown Wasn’t So Bad for the Stock Market — But Avoiding a Shutdown Would Be Even Better

    The Entrepreneur Index™ was up big.

  • Mars Trip Could Cost You Less Than $500K or Even $100K

    The prices would be ‘low enough.

  • Chipotle Shoots for the Stars, Hires Oscar Winner to Produce Ad

    The burrito chain the had biggest.

  • Could These Companies Be the Next $1 Billion Unicorns?

    A new study looks ahead at.

  • Stop Hitting the Snooze Button and Start Intentionally Building Your Life and Business

    Don’t beat yourself up for hitting.

  • Get Exclusive Access to Silicon Valley Trailblazers for Less Than $10

    The CEOs of Redfin, Nextdoor, SurveyMonkey,.

  • Entrepreneurial Lessons From ‘Game of Thrones’ and the Super Bowl

    Step one is investing in creative.

  • 10 Simple Productivity Tips for Organizing Your Work Life

    February 8, 2019 5 min read.

  • 13 Secrets for Making Your Cleaning Business a Success

    Get the inside scoop from established.