There’s always someone who knows better than you whether it is the code, the UI, the monetization, the analytics, etc. Let’s assume you’ve made the research to validate that your idea isn’t total bullshit and you understand what it takes to develop the product. There’s still one more step before jumping into full production: getting feedback first. Yes, getting feedback already about the concept which can be a short PDF, a mockup, an executive summary of the product or all three together.
The easiest way to start is to approach fellow developers. Ask both people you know and people from a distant network. Friends usually won’t give you relevant feedback on your idea but can mention some important aspect such as possible technical issues, legal aspects or even connect you with other people who might fit your team, etc. We usually set a specific topic for each person based on his or her experience to get to the point quickly, usually 15-20 minutes are enough to cover the key area.
People who are passionate about something often write a blog. Maybe you’re already a regular reader and can start the conversation easily by picking some interesting facts from the previous blog post. Or be honest and approach the writer directly with a question if he or she can give you an expert opinion.
Almost every conference or meet-up has video coverage. GDC Vault or Casual Connect have dozens of fantastic talks where every speaker presents the best ways on how to get approached. Check Linkedin, ask existing connections for an introduction and don’t be afraid to ask a particular question via email or during a skype conversation.
“Use webinars to talk with people who otherwise won’t pick up their phone.”
Several companies have online webinars followed by 1 on 1 sessions. Or maybe your local business accelerator invited an amazing host for a Google Hangout. Go ahead, register, learn something new and prepare for the personal session because this might be a great opportunity to establish a new important relationship with a person which otherwise won’t respond to you and your cold email.
A service called Clarity.fm offers paid calls via Skype with experts all around the globe. The service lists amazing people, founders of major tech-companies, investors and designers. You can search by industry or keywords, view experts ratings and select the best consultant for your particular field of interest.
Change the seat of a spectator for a place at the podium and pitch your product in front of investors. With a concept only on paper, it’s too early to raise funds but the feedback might be extremely valuable as investors are usually pretty honest and have a good sense of what makes business sense. If they aren‘t able to give you good feedback, ask for an introduction to someone in their (often huge) network. Don’t forget to help them if they will need any insight about your local market in the future!
“Who said you can’t use publishers as your testers?”
Once you progress with your product to the stage of a playable build or app demo go to publishers. This doesn’t mean you need to go ahead and sign a contract. Just ask them if they are interested in your title. Sometimes you can get an amazing evaluation of your product by big players such as Chillingo. Start to contact them early on, you’ll probably need more time to work on the feedback than you’ve expected.
“Create fake ads and test what makes customers really excited.”
Fake ads/landing pages
Create a fake product video and place it on Youtube. Invest a few bucks to promote it and get at least 100 views. Open the “Analytics” section and study the data: where people dropped and what happened at that time. Test different videos or different lengths to discover which message is the best one. This is not only a trick for better marketing but also for better product positioning! It’s the same with landing pages which you can test with e.g. Optimize and discover what resonantes with people the most.
Do you have good or bad experience with getting feedback? At which stage do you usually get the most critical comments? Share your experience with others to make sure we all grow together.