NOTE: These recaps are a bit more for me than you. I’ll skip over stuff, include asides that are more personal notes to me, etc. Your mileage may vary. More detailed/sanctioned recaps will be available at at some point.

Presenter: Rob Walling

How to scratch your own itch (and not)

  • Start with problems
  • “Scratch your own itch fallacy”: We’ve all been scratching our itches. There are less itchy things.
  • Validate the market
  • Don’t start writing code right away
  • Start market-first.
  • Find 10 people willing to pay $X. Emailed 17 people, got 11 commitments.
  • All conversions where software. No’s were infoproduct/bloggers.
  • Lessons: start with problems, niche down, describe the value you provide (not specifics), name a price, hold your idea loosely

Building the list

  • First circle is your audience. Not try to sell, but gauge interest.
  • Second circle: friends and colleagues’ networks.
  • Third circle: Press.
  • Fourth: Facebook ads
  • Fifth: Powered by link in bottom of Drip widget.

The Slow Launch (Part 1)

  • Pick the right early customers
  • Become a developer for hire. You become an unpaid consultant.
  • Rush, but take your time
  • Spent a month onboarding the first customer:
    • Embeddable widget
    • Broadcasting bits in addition to autoresponder campaigns
    • Kinda need to pause or delete things
    • Mailchimp integration
  • After a month, hit a roadblock: You should not build this feature. It’s too complicated. “It’s not you, it’s me”
  • Both of next two customers needed the same features they built for potential Customer 1.
  • Long-ass list of features that needed added before adding more.
  • Wrong turn: Let a blogger into early access. Not his audience. Wanted deep WP integration, Android, visual editors. Wanted him to build Mailchimp.
  • Had a literal FAQ. Got the same questions over and over again.
  • Lessons: pick the right early customers, pick early customers with similar needs, go high-touch, name your price upfront (but don’t charge until customer receives ample value), save correspondence to build FAQ, trial emails, etc.


  • MPA: Minimum Path to Awesome.
  • Two Step MPA: install the javascript snippet, set up an email course
  • They’ll create the course for you from blog posts or similar, or give you templates to edit, or write the stuff for you (for a fee).
  • If you’re doing a javascript snippet, integrate with
  • Trial emails: Say the same things you say in the app in the emails. Lead with value.
  • Lessons: determine your app’s MPA, guide new users through it, do it again via email, offer to do it for them (concierge)

The Slow Launch (Part 2)

  • The hard work was already done before emailing the entire list
  • Wait until onboarding is working
  • Divide your list into cohorts
  • Launch emails sequence with a time-limited discount
  • Wait length of trial
  • Repeat it for the next list segment
  • $7k/month in first month


  • How to pay folks during a slow launch. Other projects pay for development of the next one.
  • Iterate between cohorts of large list? Made some changes, but nothing so big that it felt like it made a difference. Did update the onboarding, but more user feedback type of stuff.