- It started the Poppy Barley buzz.
- It allowed them to collect email addresses of potential customers.
- It validated their idea and let them know that they were onto something real that people would be willing to pay for.
The Read | Behind the Business
Iteration: The Key to Building a Startup Website
In my past life as a freelance web developer, I had the chance to meet and work with a lot of interesting entrepreneurs. My initial meeting with someone looking to hire a web developer for their startup website usually followed the same pattern: 1) E-mail introduction, 2) Sign a confidentiality agreement (this is almost never necessary, because ideas aren’t worth anything) and 3) “The Pitch”. The one thing that always struck me was the certainty that most people had about the inevitable success of their idea, and more confounding, the detailed and complex plan they had drafted for their project/application/website. Having a plan is great, but being certain about something that you have no data to support is not. My first question after the pitch almost always annoyed them. “How do you know that people are going to want to pay for this product?” Most of the time they didn’t have a good answer. So this led me to my next question. “Why would you sink tens of thousands of dollars into building something that you’re not even sure anyone wants?” In August 2012, when Poppy Barley founders Kendall and Justine were shopping for a web developer to help them with the initial version of PoppyBarley.com, a mutual friend suggested they get in touch with me. One thing that impressed me about Kendall and Justine when I originally met them (besides not making me sign a confidentiality agreement) was that they had a good answer to the question, “How do you know that people are going to want to pay for this product?” Before approaching a web developer with their idea, they had already launched the initial version of their startup website. It wasn’t much, just a simple, three-page site that Kendall hacked together with Squarespace, but it did a few very important things for them.