Perhaps. At the time what held me back was not wanting to be spammy, but as we talked about, I think I was being too shy. Next time I'm going to jump at those sorts of opportunities, so thanks for helping me realize that, amongst other things.
Here are the four that actually got some attention:
I was thinking about it some more last night. It feels like I DMed a lot of people, but the number isn't quite in the hundreds, I don't think. Maybe it's just a numbers game and you really actually have to reach out to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. But at least on forums, that could be tough, because you could get flagged/banned for spamming.
That makes sense about them not being too responsive to this particular DM. I predict that I won't get many more responses over the next few weeks though.
I have actually spent a good amount of time DMing people asking for that sort of stuff, and also just posting saying that I'm looking for people to video chat with. It just hasn't really worked for me. That's why I feel like the email list idea is interesting, because I myself have had the problem of not being able to get in touch with users. I do place more weight in your intuition though, because I'm just one data point and you seem to have more experience with startups, so if you feel skeptical then I shift that way a lot and don't expect it to be successful. Although I'm not so skeptical that it doesn't seem worth talking to some founders though.
I definitely agree about talking to founders and prospective early adopters as an MVP. I think it's a great example of what you talk about on your blog, about how and MVP doesn't actually have to be a product.
I myself would definitely have paid for it. Somewhere in the ballpark of a couple hundred dollars. Possibly more if I actually was making money and growing. I spent a lot of time struggling to get in touch with users, at various points, for various reasons, and if the email list solved that problem for me, that'd be hugely valuable.
Again, in theory I should be able to easily get in touch with people by messing around in different poker communities, but that just doesn't seem to actually work for me in practice. I have a great example. I posted about my app on Reddit at various points. Lots of people commented saying nice things. Some even commented to say that they would pay for it when it's on the market, and to let them know. Yesterday I took some time and DMed everyone. I sent out 24 messages, but only got one reply. And that is for people who have already said they love my app.
There are a lot of times when you have to do actual math in poker. For example, if you bet $50 into a $100 pot, I'd have to risk $50 to win $150, and thus need to win 1/4 of the time to break even. If I have a flush draw, I have to estimate how often I'll win with that flush draw, which there are shortcuts to help you do. But the example I just described is a simple one. What if there is more money left behind, so when I hit my flush I can expect to win the $150 in the pot, plus some more? And how do we incorporate the possibility of you having a higher flush draw and me losing a lot to you when we both hit the flush?
You can get by without doing any actual math, and instead just winging it, but actual math does help in these situations.
Anyway, the bigger point is that the same thing probably applies to expected value: you can get by without it. But to me, that doesn't mean you should try to get by without it. It's a very fundamental concept, and if you're going to make a living with poker, why wouldn't you take a little time to learn them?
Re the "early adopters email list" idea:
My thinking is that by signing up as an early adopter, it wouldn't be industry specific, you'd just be saying that you're interested in being contacted about new products and stuff.
Yeah, I myself am an example of someone who would sign up as a founder on this platform. With my poker app, and with future projects. With the poker app, I found that the poker subreddit, other poker forums, in person networking, and cold emails didn't amount to enough leads.
I know that sounds implausible. Maybe it's an uncommon experience. I think the success of this platform idea we're talking about depends a good amount on the answer to that question, because if founders are currently doing fine with customer outreach, then it wouldn't really be solving a problem for them. But my impression is that a) many founders struggle to get in touch with these sorts of early adopters, and b) even if they are successfully getting in touch with some, they'd still want more. Of course, this is a hypothesis that could be validated without actually building anything, eg. by talking to founders.
Your original Value Prop Story should probably already about the kind of person you have access to in your life, depending on what field you're working on, so I'm skeptical that what founders really need is an email list of early adopters.
That's understandable. I don't feel particularly confident in the idea.
This is really a blessing in disguise, because words like "app" and "software" sound like potential users would have to download and install something and potentially fumble around with settings/permissions before they can get a first glimpse, and also having to delete/uninstall afterwards.
That's true. Good point.
I think ghosting is so ubiquitous in every facet of life that at this point, we'd all be better off to just accept it as a neutral fact.
My perspective here is that even if it is ubiquitous, that doesn't make it ok. I don't think it's ok to treat people like that, and thus, I think that ghosting should be frowned upon. (There could of course be an innocent explanation for the ghosting, in which case I have no problem with it.)
But how could one reasonably expect people in general to have such obscure technical knowledge?
I see "x-axis" and the ability to read a 2d graph as something that the great majority of the high school educated population should know, even if it's been a while since they've been in school.
Expected value I wouldn't expect most people to know, but I certainly would expect a professional poker player to know, especially when you are also charging people money to coach them.
I actually do plan on doing what you describe: leave it up, and also continue to work on it in my spare time. I enjoy working on it (when I'm not feeling pressured), and as a poker player, there are a few tools that I want to build for myself. There are also a few sort of last ditch things that I plan on trying, but none of them require me to be working on it full time.
In retrospect, this would have been a good thing for me to address in the post, because you're right, it's a logical question for the reader to ask.
As for the bug preventing people from paying me, I'm not sure exactly how many tried, but it seems like it was four or five. I have since fixed the bug (ended up just being a small typo), and after I did I emailed all ~100 people who were signed up for the free trial, and have gotten one paid user. Now that I think about it, I should reach back out to those four or five people who previously tried to pay me. I'll go do that right now :)
Thanks! Yup, I definitely misunderstood YC's message. I'm glad we talked this through.