Now, Here's How to Launch a Product!

I'm in love with an iPhone app. True, we just met, I haven't started using it and I know very little about it; but I know things are going to work out.

Mailbox is a free app that replaces the native mail application on the iPhone so the app is swimming up stream from the start. Reviews on tech sites, like Mashable, have been off the charts good and the whole application was designed with a purpose. The company that designed Mailbox, Orchestra, previously designed 2011's “Productivity App of the Year” and were tired of the fact that their current mail app didn't play nice with their ToDo application.

All of that explanation aside, the reason I love Mailbox is because of the thought Orchestra put into the rollout of their application. First, they created a waiting list. Nothing makes someone want something quite as much as the thought of exclusivity. Second, you must download the application before you can actually start the process. This might actually be the most ingenious thing they did with their program. Third, they have a well thought out launch plan. They knew the application would be popular and wanted to make sure they could hammer out all the bugs and not overload their system with overwhelming traffic during launch. (See: Every iTunes and iPhone update ever done by Apple) Fourth, they have a real time status update in the application. This shows you how many people are in front of you waiting to download, and how many people are behind you that will be waiting even after you get to enjoy the program. Fifth, they are 100% transparent about what they are doing and how it works.

So what can we learn from what Orchestra is doing and how can we use it to our advantage?

  1. Create a great product. Mailbox would not be a big deal if the first application Orchestra created was a complete tire fire. Make sure everything you create is to the highest standards of your industry and is something you are proud to put your name on.
  2. Get stakeholder buy in. I had never heard of the Orchestra ToDo application before Mashable did an article on Mailbox. Orchestra had quite possibly the single most important voice in their industry, Mashable, as a champion for their product before it ever hit the store. You want to make sure you get that kind of champion for your product as well. It doesn't have to be a major industry magazine, it might be the right person internally to be champion of your cause.
  3. Make it a big deal. It doesn't matter if it is a company newsletter, new sales materials or the launch of a new website; what you are a doing is a big deal. Own that fact and make a big deal out of the process. A lot of projects are launched to no fan fair and they never become everything they could.
  4. Make it right. Instead of doing things the “easy” way, take a few extra steps and do it the “right” way. In the end, you will gain more friends, save more time and your product will be better in the long run because of that extra effort.
  5. Be transparent. Inform your stakeholders about your process. If you do this, you are less likely to have issues and you are far more likely to have them defend you against others about the way you handle things.

As of the time I am finishing up this article 346,212 people in the cue are in front of me. That likely means I am more than a week from being able to download Mailbox. The crazy thing? I still check where I am in cue on a regular basis. I'm like a kid waiting for Santa. My only regret? That I didn't check to see how many people were in front of me when I downloaded the app. I do know that almost 400,000 people waited longer than me to get in line.

Would you like to join the revolution and get signed up for Mailbox? Search for Mailbox in the App Store from your iPhone or in iTunes or search for Mailbox and get signed up online. Happy emailing everyone!

After reading this article our President and WebEO Alan De Keyrel signed up for Mailbox. When he did, there were 9 people behind him and 758,373 in front of him. This makes me an early adopter. Regrets minimized!!!