We've been somewhat stuck in what I like to call 'The Development Paradox'. Do I have too much time on my hands? Perhaps. What is 'The Developer Paradox'? Glad you asked.
'The Development Paradox' is the perpetual state of being two weeks from completing a piece of development work. Each time you discuss development progress, you will continuously be told that you're two weeks away from delivering your MVP. Check-in after check-in - 'We're probably about two weeks away'. But...but you said that two weeks ago!
Fortunately, STAMP might have managed to extract itself from this paradox. As I type this entry, my Skype chat is alive with back and forths between the STAMP team and our front end freelancer. The Skype chat notification sound is music to my ears. The sweet sweet sound of progress.
We're close guys - start getting excited.
Excited for what though. A quick flick through to our website (do it), a brief peruse of our Facebook page (like it), a superficial skim of our Twitter (retweet) - non of them reveal much about what STAMP is. Are we bad self promotion? Perhaps. Have we agreed to operate in a psuedo-stealth mode? Yes.
There's two reasons for this. And for each, we're toeing the line between what seems to be conventional behaviour and how we want to act differently with STAMP.
Reason 1: Everyone else out there seems to be shady and protective as f**k with their ideas and products, so why shouldn't we.
Maybe i'm mixing with the wrong people - but more often than not, i'm part of dead-end conversations that start with me asking: "So what is it that you're working on?" and ends with player 2 saying something like: "Oh its sort of confidential, I can't really talk about it". You see, I prescribe to the "Its not the idea, but the execution" camp. This means i'm more than happy to share STAMP in all its STAMPly glory to everyman and his dog (within reason).
Nowadays, it would seem everyman and his dog has their own big idea anyway. So why the hell is someone going to hear me talking about STAMP and drop everything to go and immediately copy it? Call me naive but at the end of the day I value feedback more than silence and when it comes to risk/benefit, my see-saw is weighted towards the latter.
Reason 2: Our product is early stage and we don't want people to see a sh*t version of it
Along with my share-happy outlook, I also think its for user's to decide whether something is decent or not - buggy or otherwise. The concepts underpinning STAMP should be validated by users and not just dictated by us based on our potentially poor, wildly misguided preconceptions.
But only up to a point.
Its been a while since our focus groups - where kind, pizza-loving students picked apart our mock-ups and hurled abuse at us through the medium of google forms. This MVP should address much of what was concluded from those sessions. We hope.
We've debated amongst ourselves whether we open up our beta to any random person who wants to get involved - potentially using it to kickstart some initial user growth. But we took the decision to keep recruitment tame with not too much fanfare. The reason? We honestly don't know whether this MVP will function exactly as we envisaged. Development is obviously continuous, but STAMP needs to function well for the benefit of a wider audience. And we're just not there yet.
So although we're seeking user validation. Who and where those users are will be somewhat controlled - at least initially. On the see-saw of risk/benefit for representative user validation i'm more stuck in the middle. If we stick our head above the parapet too early, could some competitor gain awareness of the fledging STAMP before its even had the chance to prove itself on a larger scale. Again, maybe i'm misguided.
And so we arrive at the title of this entry: "stealth mode". Consigned to reveal only what is necessary to attract our initial beta cohort, we'll remain largely enigmatic about STAMP until we're ready to push the button and reveal all - to everyone - on all channels of communication.
Until then, keep reading our journal. We'll distract you with waffle and poorly worded book reviews whilst we frantically try and make STAMP do what we want it to do.
Should be roughly a couple of weeks till that happens.
Till next time.
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