Like many of the topics I cover in my Startup Basics podcast, this article is based on a mistake I’ve made repeatedly: not ensuring that all of our analytics are installed and working correctly. While this advice is particularly relevant to software products, it applied even if your startup is selling hardware or physical products online.
All startup founders dream of the following scenario: You press the big red “launch” button. Your app (or whatever) goes live. The user counter is spinning like crazy, and your user graph shoots straight up like a rocket. You’re getting so many users that you have to rush to allocate more server power and load-balance like your life depends on it.
Unfortunately, this is what happens to most software startups: You open your app to the public. Realizing that you can’t count on luck to help users find it, you post on Hacker News, Reddit, and Product Hunt. But even that seems insufficient, so you post on Twitter and splash down $1K on Google ads. You track your user graph with anticipation, but all you see is a tiny blip. You panic, “Crap, I just spent the last few months working on my awesome idea, and my friends and family invested more money than they could afford in this venture. I was certain this was going to be a hit, and now I’m going to have to tell them their money is gone. There is no way I’m going to be the next Facebook/Snap/Uber now.”