How to Guarantee an 80% Success Rate with Every Product Launch with Narek Vardanyan from prelaunch.com

Episode 178

On today’s episode we are joined by Narek Vardanyan, the founder and CEO at Prelaunch.com and TCF. At Prelaunch, Narek helps creators and businessmen understand whether their product will have success in the market or not before actually producing it.

They have been doing this for more than 5 years and helped over 1000 creators validate their ideas at 80%+ accuracy rate. Narek has recently been featured in popular media outlets such as EOFire, $100 MBA Show, and Bloomberg

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00;00;00;01 – 00;00;09;07
Speaker 1
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Men podcast, a story for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you are capable.

00;00;09;07 – 00;00;09;23
Speaker 2
Of more.

00;00;09;24 – 00;00;24;01
Speaker 1
Then join us. This show will help you build a business and grow your passive income stream in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneur is David Shoma and Ken Wilson.

00;00;24;03 – 00;00;53;00
Speaker 3
Welcome, everyone to the Firing the Man podcast. On today’s episode, we are joined by Mark Bardon, the founder and CEO of Pre-launch Dotcom A.C F A crowdfunding mechanism pre-launch now helps creators and businessmen understand whether their product will have success in the markets or not before actually producing it. They have been doing this for more than five years and have helped over 1000 creators validate their ideas at an 80% accuracy rate.

00;00;53;07 – 00;01;07;03
Speaker 3
Mark has recently been featured in popular media outlets such as Ego Fire, The Hundred dollar MBA Show and Bloomberg. So we are incredibly grateful for him to take time to be a guest on the Firing Man podcast. Welcome to the show.

00;01;07;04 – 00;01;07;29
Speaker 2
Thanks for having me.

00;01;08;00 – 00;01;16;29
Speaker 3
Absolutely. So to start off the show, can you please share with our listeners a little bit about your background and your path to becoming the founder and CEO of pre-launch Ecom?

00;01;17;00 – 00;01;36;17
Speaker 2
So I founded this company, ECF, which was a marketing agency. It first started from a book. Then it grew to the agency. Then we started to provide marketing consultancy services around the store that, you know, the the more we consult, they never like people whom we are advising. They never take into account the way that we would like to.

00;01;36;18 – 00;01;56;18
Speaker 2
So we started management company, so we started to manage the crowdfunding campaigns. It became pretty popular and it grew up to become a pretty viable ecosystem. And one of the most popular agencies in the in the industry. And throughout the time, as we were becoming more popular, we were getting more products, more samples that we needed to work with.

00;01;56;18 – 00;02;22;04
Speaker 2
And as we were working on a percentage based basis, we needed to work only with the best products. So they raised millions of dollars and then we would get a bigger commissions. And so I remember like in the beginning of the of the journey, I was entering into a room and there were like many products on the table and I was the the, the biggest expert in the room and with the most experienced background, I was picking up an item and throwing everything out to throughout the window.

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00;02;22;04 – 00;02;38;14
Speaker 2
And the whole team was starting to working on these products. And then it turns out that, you know, the one that I picked was not the best one. And like most of the cases were failing. And we are seeing that the ones that we didn’t pay attention to were like some really good products out there. We thought like, you know what?

00;02;38;14 – 00;03;00;04
Speaker 2
What’s the best way to understand which products has bigger potential and which ones don’t? And we tried a lot of stuff. We tried to research the research departments, We tried to, you know, surveys, we tried all the conventional methods and nothing really worked. So then we came to this reservation model, an honest tool that, you know, people need to have the skin in the game and provide this commitment that they really want to buy the product.

00;03;00;04 – 00;03;13;13
Speaker 2
And that’s the best validation ever. So this is how it grew and then became a separate company. And then we launched pre-launch dot com to, to help everybody else because we saw that, you know, most of the entrepreneurs when big and small companies are suffering from it.

00;03;13;19 – 00;03;30;18
Speaker 4
Okay. Excellent. And so want to jump right into it. And so, Nora, can you explain to the listeners, I guess, at a high level why validation is is so important? And why do a lot of our viewers, like, get it wrong? Like, can’t figure it out? Can you share with the audience? Yes.

00;03;30;18 – 00;03;52;14
Speaker 2
So basically, because, you know, validation is so important and there is this founder bias when you have this idea and you are so attached to that idea and you think that you are the, you know, the next Steve Jobs, which are thinking about this genius, sometimes it is. But most of the cases it’s not. We even have this funny video where a guy is taking a shower and he had this idea that he thinks is genius.

00;03;52;14 – 00;04;19;05
Speaker 2
And right after the shower he goes and starts, you know, selling the house. Everything gets and putting that into the into the product, which fails eventually. And I’ve seen this allowed been working. We learned to produce. We have been like literally getting loans for their house, for their houses, for their cars, for everything they have and putting it into the products, which was absolutely not validated and was just an idea that they are attached to and they’ve been spending so much time and spending so much energy on it.

00;04;19;05 – 00;04;38;20
Speaker 2
And it’s not only about money, and actually the money is kind of secondary in here, but you’re like spending your life on something and you need to to to be sure that you’re spending your life on something important or something that makes sense. And the founder buys doesn’t allow many people to object, tively assess the viability of the product in the markets.

00;04;38;22 – 00;05;01;05
Speaker 2
And it’s it’s really, really hard. It’s the more expertise you get it still doesn’t help. You know like I’m like speaking with many big enterprise companies. We have an advisor from Samsung, and I can tell you that even in enterprise companies running, most of the famous companies that you guys know, problem is not solved in. And if they can forecast the future, they can clearly assess the viability of products.

00;05;01;05 – 00;05;21;11
Speaker 2
The aspiring entrepreneurs and startups definitely can’t. So this is why it’s it’s so important to go to your customers as soon as possible, you know, the soonest that you can and and see whether they’re ready to to pay for it. And it is really important to not just go to your friends and to your mom and just ask what they think about it, but get real commitment.

00;05;21;11 – 00;05;43;26
Speaker 2
And this is this is why why these pre-launch model apps allowed. So you you clearly see that people are ready to even put some down, some small amount, $1 or $2, etc.. But that shows their commitment, their real commitment. Then only then you can understand that, you know, you’re you’re into something and then you can build with them involving them in the production process and then confidently move forward.

00;05;43;26 – 00;05;58;15
Speaker 3
I’d say you’ve obviously worked with a ton of entrepreneurs and I’m curious what your thoughts are on this. Why do people get stuck on an idea and kind of like put blinders on? What is it about mankind that has this for?

00;05;58;15 – 00;06;25;11
Speaker 2
I think psychologically it might be tied into just getting rejected. So nobody wants to be rejected and some people are just not ready for it. And you want to be in the comfort zone. You want to stay in your comfort zone and just where it’s warm, where nobody’s rejecting you, where you’re walking into something. And maybe you’ll, you know, you succeed and you’re reading all these, you know, successful stories about Mark Zuckerberg, about Elon Musk’s, etc., etc., like all these successful entrepreneurs.

00;06;25;11 – 00;06;43;23
Speaker 2
And you think that, you know, it’s that is it’s, you know, just an idea and hopes up in your in your head and it might work and you’ll become a billionaire and anybody who tells you the opposite is becoming kind of not not you’re not your friend and kind of you if you want to harm a friend and because they’re kind of telling you something, something opposite.

00;06;43;23 – 00;07;06;26
Speaker 2
So psychologically, I think it just just related with, you know, not not being rejected, just getting the right type of feedback when when you are okay with that, when you start to kind of confirm to yourself that this is for your good and even even, you know, the rejections and even, you know, small failures may lead to something really big if you really started that, you know, the ways of the entrepreneurs and now would work, it would become a natural process.

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00;07;06;26 – 00;07;10;19
Speaker 2
You will you like being rejected and you’ll learn a lot from from it.

00;07;10;19 – 00;07;34;11
Speaker 3
I really like that perspective. And in you’re right, no one wants to be wrong and no one wants to think that they have bad ideas, right? I really, really like that perspective. So I’m curious out of say, 100 products that are brought to pre-launch Ecom, what percentage of those are great ideas? What percentage of them are, you know, kind of killed and which one of them like how many of them are kind of in the middle?

00;07;34;11 – 00;07;35;15
Speaker 3
Can you talk about that breakdown?

00;07;35;16 – 00;07;56;00
Speaker 2
Yeah, that’s a great question, actually. So I would say 50% are bad ideas, so like 50% in most of the cases are rejected with the metrics and the recommendation is just not move forward with that and just, you know, save your money, save time and just come back with something else. There’s a really big portion which continuously works on the product.

00;07;56;00 – 00;08;14;00
Speaker 2
So we have many cases where the product transforms and becomes something very different, something something that they might change, the name, they might change, the materials would be coming to them. Another product, I would say we have a couple of successful cases that founders, they didn’t just give up. And with every iteration and this is why pre-launch is great, by the way.

00;08;14;01 – 00;08;45;03
Speaker 2
So just not just binary one time validation and figuring out what metric and what factor is not working, what are your weakness. And if you’re willing to spend time and money on improving, you know those weaknesses. It may take even even years. So I would say out of this, another 50%, maybe 40, 45%, they are these continuous validation processes where they continuously start working on the product and eventually they they might or they might not find something really good and that fits into the markets.

00;08;45;03 – 00;08;54;02
Speaker 2
And then 5% are great ideas and then 1% is it’s probably everywhere are like outstanding. An excellent idea is very nice.

00;08;54;02 – 00;09;09;29
Speaker 3
I have I have one more question on this. I’m going to kick it over to Can the 50% that are bad ideas, what are some common themes that come up in those? Like is there are there any like themes that you’ve observed that are consistent amongst the products that do not get validated?

00;09;09;29 – 00;09;32;01
Speaker 2
I would say, you know, many times founders are experiencing some kind of problem. So there there are a couple of things. Some founders are experiencing The problem and it’s super unique to them. And they think that, you know, it’s a problem and then everybody is ready to pay for it. It still might be a problem, actually, but people should be willing to pay for that problem.

00;09;32;01 – 00;09;52;17
Speaker 2
Right. So that’s that’s the nuance of of a good product and the bad product. And many are coming without validating that hypothesis. I would say, or coming to to validate that hypothesis, whether people are willing to pay that problem. Sometimes it’s so niche that you just not scalable and economically it doesn’t make sense to invest so much money for the molding, for the production.

00;09;52;17 – 00;10;12;21
Speaker 2
You just bring it to the market, right? So it’s just financially does is not consistent At the end of the day. Some others. That is also common bias. I would say they see see the problem happening elsewhere, but they they don’t have anybody in the team who have really experienced that problem. So they didn’t really talk to the customers.

00;10;12;21 – 00;10;33;23
Speaker 2
People are suffering from something literally. And as of that, they don’t really understand the psychology and the real needs and wants of their target groups. So they they build something. They think it’s great. They think, you know, they would like the functionality, the colors and everything else. And they hope that, you know, it is it has a really great potential, but turns out that it’s not interesting.

00;10;33;23 – 00;10;55;05
Speaker 4
Yeah, that’s definitely helpful. So before I get into my question, I want to share with the audience a little bit something that I’ve learned along the way. And Eric, you you’ve you mentioned it earlier is a users like you know founders issue or founders problem and in that asking your friends and family about something is not a good idea because what I call a yes man they’re just going to tell you what you want to hear.

00;10;55;05 – 00;11;11;14
Speaker 4
They’re not going to be honest and they’re probably not going to maybe even know what you’re doing, what kind of space you’re in or anything. And so for the listeners out there, so David and I, we bounce ideas back and forth so randomly on a Saturday night or or a Sunday morning, I’ll get a text from David says, Hey, I just found this crazy product.

00;11;11;14 – 00;11;34;13
Speaker 4
This is really cool. Check it out. And you know, I would say maybe 80% of the time when I send that, when I send those to David and when he sends them to me as an immediate like, let’s check it out or maybe. And so I think step one for all the solopreneur is listening, like get someone you trust, someone that’s not just going to tell you yes all the time and ask them about your idea because you know in their head on.

00;11;34;15 – 00;11;51;22
Speaker 4
And that was like when you get founders, you get like all excited and jacked up when you find something. And so you need someone to like, say like, okay, take us take a step back and and like, catch your breath. This is maybe you’re going off the rails. I say that that’s one, too. So now to your question is, what are the specific metrics?

00;11;51;22 – 00;12;02;26
Speaker 4
If you could pick one or two metrics that obviously validated thousands of products? And so what are one or two metrics that people should be aware of or should really validate before even moving forward with money?

00;12;03;01 – 00;12;24;11
Speaker 2
I would say just coming to your point, which is which is very right, I would say even before building the product or before building something to use it to validate the need, you need to validate whether people just obviously need that problem to be solved and are ready to pay for it. And one thing that I would recommend is to read the book, which is called The Moms Tests, and it’s a kind of famous book.

00;12;24;11 – 00;12;45;07
Speaker 2
It’s about to not just go to your mom and ask her about the opinion, and you’ll obviously get drunk if she loves you. And and in that book, the author says some specific type of questions that you should ask. Where you get some valid answers. And those kind of questions are to not ask something about the future, because people are very biased about the future and obviously they don’t know about the future.

00;12;45;07 – 00;13;08;22
Speaker 2
But ask questions about their past, ask about the facts. Did you buy something similar or did you search or something similar? Like, you know, did you try to replace this problem? How do you try to solve this problem, etc.? So asking these kind of questions about their their past and about their behavior will give you some really important insights to to understand how important is this problem?

00;13;08;22 – 00;13;25;19
Speaker 2
Like, did people put some efforts to solve it or they just you know, they can live with the property exist there right. So like, first of all, when you validate the need of it, then then you go and you start working on a solution. And then whenever you have this prototype, it’s not even a prototype. You call it the prototype.

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00;13;25;19 – 00;13;51;22
Speaker 2
So it should be a bit even like one step ahead. Some people mix it and they just go to their customers sometimes when the when the whole production is ready. But in the even in the best cases they go when the when the prototype is ready it it’s it’s late with thing you need to go when the prototype is ready which means that your product is about 60, 70% close to the to the final like you have the design, you have the you have the, you know, the idea, the description, you know the functionality.

00;13;51;22 – 00;14;10;28
Speaker 2
You know the shape, you know, the colors you have at least the 3-D, you know, model and you have, you know, maybe a very 3-D prototype so that you you start the validation campaign. And the best way to to start the validation campaign now, coming to your question on what metrics you should pay attention to, whether you’re doing it on pre-launch dot com or you’re doing it, you know, maybe on your own website.

00;14;10;28 – 00;14;29;13
Speaker 2
We found that it’s it’s great to make the two page validation campaign. So on the first page you showcase the idea, the concept of the product and you have this subscribe to learn more about them there. And then on the second page you showcase the price of it and you say if you put down $1 or $2, you’ll get a 20% discount if this product releases into the market.

00;14;29;13 – 00;14;46;28
Speaker 2
Right? And so you drive some traffic and you see if people subscribe on the first page, it means the concept is kind of validated and people are willing to learn, willing to learn more about this concept. And then if people are giving these, you know, one or $2, it means they’re ready to pay for it and wait until you go and start the production.

00;14;46;28 – 00;15;11;12
Speaker 2
And then what pre-launch does, it’s kind of, you know, takes the data, analyzes it, compares it with this with the with the met with the metrics, with the benchmarks, and gives you some very specific guidance on how well you’re doing based on the the past experience of of similar type of products of the same price and category range and gives you, like, you know, understanding on how well you’re doing with your product performance and who your customers are and why they’re buying your products.

00;15;11;12 – 00;15;35;16
Speaker 4
Okay. One follow up question I have on this one, and this is something that I learned from a friend of mine on pre-launch. I’m curious, do you run paid paid traffic to the site or or how do you get to traffic? And the reason I’m asking is a friend of mine used a similar site to launch a product and they had shared it with all of their friends and family like, Hey, go to I’m not going to mention the site, but I think we all know what it is.

00;15;35;17 – 00;15;48;09
Speaker 4
Hey, go there and support my projects and I’ve got all this. And they raised all the money they needed, launched a product and it didn’t do well. And so curious on the traffic you get to that to the site. Where is it coming? Yeah anonymous.

00;15;48;12 – 00;16;09;18
Speaker 2
That’s a great question actually. And and many companies and even big companies are using crowdfunding tools to launch their products or you’re using their website or other platforms to see the viability in the markets. There are a couple of problems with that. So in crowdfunding, for example, crowdfunding, it’s kind of developed for crowdfunding, so it’s for fundraising basically, and it’s a one time short.

00;16;09;18 – 00;16;39;21
Speaker 2
You just either succeed there or you don’t. So you can just iteratively kind of test the idea and improve it along the way, right? And one wise, that is with crowdfunding platforms, with the successful campaigns we see is that mostly in crowdfunding, it’s these early and early adopters or enthusiasts who are making these campaigns, who are ready to pay the full price like couple of thousand dollars and know that, you know, there would be delays, there would be some you know, there is a risk even of not receiving the product.

00;16;39;21 – 00;17;01;13
Speaker 2
So you need to be really enthusiastic about this product. Right. And then when you after the successful campaign, you go to the market and you start to sell into the general public, you say that, you know, the behavior differs from this platform Behavior, right? So this is one buys that you need to understand that a successful campaign in any platform doesn’t mean success in the in the whole population or success in the in the bigger market.

00;17;01;13 – 00;17;34;24
Speaker 2
So there is this scalability issue. And what we do on pre-launch, we drive traffic from different sources like we we have organic sources, we are paid sources and we are analyzing the consistency and the weight of each traffic into the product. So we try to analyze and give and generalize it into the into the bigger population by trying to smartly understand how well this product will performing to the market, knowing that, you know, they are early adopters are early majority, there are some late laggards, people who are coming through late, etc. and we have some indicators to identify some people.

00;17;34;24 – 00;18;03;15
Speaker 2
So say if you have 1000 people who reserved your products will be able to tell you that 900 out of these are enthusiasts and it will mean your you have a very niche products, right? You might have a successful business but but it’s not scalable and if it’s by subversive, it might be a very scalable product. And you can put for as much money as you want and you will see great metrics because we got feedback, we got an understanding that, you know, people who are coming for the first time, they’re just buying it without thinking about that.

00;18;03;15 – 00;18;09;21
Speaker 2
So they’re this kind of muse is to be taken into account when when you really want to understand like how well this product will perform.

00;18;09;24 – 00;18;11;12
Speaker 4
Okay, excellent. David, over to you.

00;18;11;15 – 00;18;30;17
Speaker 3
So as we mentioned, Ken and I sell on Amazon, and oftentimes when we’re looking at whether we want to launch a product, we’ll look at the number of reviews kind of as a measuring stick for competitiveness, like, can we catch up? We also like to look at search volume. Curious what your thoughts are on that. Is there anything that we’re missing out when we’re vetting products, some.

00;18;30;17 – 00;18;48;18
Speaker 2
Type of portals? I think you can get a really great insights with just analyzing the market than Amazon. And those would be mostly conventional products or products that are easily replicable or easily. You can made them right. So you can or maybe you can just add a couple of features, understand what they’re missing and just go into the market.

00;18;48;18 – 00;19;17;20
Speaker 2
But it’s mostly useful to understand the demand, to understand like what people are missing. And if you truly want to come with something innovative, then it’ll be really hard because like only analyzing the demand and only analyzing the problem, it doesn’t answer to the question on whether people will like my version of as a solution, right? So there are a lot of categories in Amazon where you can you can do really great by just, you know, understanding the weaknesses of your competitors and just trying to fulfill them.

00;19;17;20 – 00;19;42;05
Speaker 2
But we saw on pre-launch in most of the categories that are succeeding on pre-launch are something that are really innovative. They don’t have a precedence and sometimes you can’t even find direct competitors in the market. And you just want to understand like, you know, how people will perceive this. You’re creating new category, you’re creating something totally new. And these kind of cases, then you need to understand how people will perceive it when when they see it.

00;19;42;05 – 00;20;07;14
Speaker 3
Very nice. I share a really quick story with you on why I always look at search volume, so I, in my previous life was a CPA and studied for the CPA exam and I would always drink my morning cup of coffee and study bike. I’d look at my study guide, what I did, I launched a product that was a coffee cup that had a very curated list of all the equations that you needed to memorize for the test, which is a new product.

00;20;07;14 – 00;20;28;11
Speaker 3
Like there wasn’t anything like that. However, when you look at search volume for CPA Study Guidebook, it is zero. There is no one looking for that. And then like even like CPA study Guide, there wasn’t a ton of search volume for that either. And so that was like a hard lesson learned. There was a ton of time that went into that product development, and I have about 200 of them sitting in my basement.

00;20;28;11 – 00;20;45;16
Speaker 3
Based on your experience, and I’m sure we have listeners right now that want to start a business, they are hung up on I don’t know what to sell. And so I’m curious what what would be your advice to that person? What are maybe some areas that they should look or what are some common themes you’ve seen in successful brands or products?

00;20;45;16 – 00;21;06;16
Speaker 2
Yeah, I think you start with assessing the market trends is really important to understand whether it’s kind of increasing trend or decreasing decreasing trend, because if you end up making something really successful in a decreasing market trend, eventually you become a very small business. Even if you are monopoly or you’re the number one guy in your industry right?

00;21;06;21 – 00;21;37;17
Speaker 2
So like, you know, if you’re picking the right market, the market will amplify you, pick you up. So like starting something new is is really, I would suggest to start from analyzing the trends. And there are like many ways to analyze the trends. You can just look at the Google trends. You can just there are many tools and many extensions, which tells you what’s happening in Reddit, what kind of subreddits are getting some more popular, what people search, what people ask for, etc. Then I would see I would try to understand and assess what kind of problems are out there by assessing the reviews.

00;21;37;19 – 00;22;03;15
Speaker 2
I understand what people are complaining most of about checking the search volume, as you said. Then after that, you need to be you need to have enough data to do takeaways with a solution. Right. And if you’re if you’re also talking to and that’s also mandatory to talk to some people who are suffering from these kind of problems that would pay for it, pay for for for it to not working in isolation, build a prototype and just expose it to to those people and see what they think.

00;22;03;15 – 00;22;24;06
Speaker 2
Just don’t invest too much time and money working in a, you know, product to make it perfect and then try to, you know, give this perfect version and then see what they what they kind of think about. We call this a co-creation actually, this is kind of a way and a mode. And some features said that we are developing on pre-launch to get your real customers on board and start co-creating with them.

00;22;24;06 – 00;22;45;25
Speaker 2
Right. So you’re getting like as as many feedback, as much sides as possible from the right users. And it’s very much different from the real surveys. And when you go just create a Facebook group and just invite them, because in this case where people have this commitment, where they where they have the skin in the game, they really want to have something really great as is a final outcome of your product.

00;22;45;25 – 00;23;01;22
Speaker 2
So in this case, you can trust them, you can, you know, ask them any kind of questions you want and you’re sure that their answers are not biased like it would be in the in the focus groups or surveys were are paid to provide you yes men and type of answer yes. So I would say that that would be like the the first half.

00;23;01;22 – 00;23;21;03
Speaker 4
I’ve got a quick follow up on that on that topic. And so now you’ve you’ve helped, you know, thousands of creators validate their products and have like a very high accuracy rate, 80%. Right. And so I’m curious, everything that, you know, I’ve always studied and everything is like for for product, physical products, you want to solve a problem, you want to solve a problem.

00;23;21;03 – 00;23;44;14
Speaker 4
And and so as we think about this and your experience of all the thousands of products that you’ve seen that have been successful, is there a trend in any specific direction on solving a problem now? Does it make does it does it save some more time or is it enhanced their life? Like have you seen a trend in any of those specific areas that really do well, like saving time, making their life better?

00;23;44;14 – 00;23;48;26
Speaker 4
Is there anything that you would kind of gravitate to as you see all the metrics of thousands of products?

00;23;48;26 – 00;24;13;10
Speaker 2
Yeah, there are some certain trends that come up after COVID. Some seasonally saving time is is always trendy. So even if you even if you’re able to save like very tiny portion of time when people live, there’s a high chance of your like, you know, making something viral after COVID. I would say last year we were analyzing in this past two years some security related privacy related areas are kind of trending.

00;24;13;10 – 00;24;31;03
Speaker 2
So people want more privacy, want more security and everything that’s related with that. The E-MOBILITY is a is a great category that is thriving. Again, like, you know, the scooters. And then we see we continue to see all kind of like great scooters and great kind of commute. Yeah, that’s that’s all I can recall as of now.

00;24;31;04 – 00;24;41;01
Speaker 4
Okay, sure. No, I’m always curious, like, kind of see, like, yeah, you know, what are your thoughts on, you know, you’ve got a wealth of experience there. And so, yeah, no, those are super helpful. David over to you for the.

00;24;41;02 – 00;25;08;14
Speaker 3
Yeah. So on this topic of trends, Ken and I were talking about this the other day. I’m curious what your thoughts are on it. So we have a little bit over a thousand SKUs in 15 different marketplaces. So if you look, we have two products that are clearly number one. And number two, both of those products are what I would consider boring like not and we have products that are exciting things that people would take a picture of share with their friends, like exciting, fun hobby type products.

00;25;08;14 – 00;25;23;21
Speaker 3
However, and the Ken and I were talking about scientific tools the other day, not a sexy industry, but boy does there seem to be some good profit margin there. So I’m curious, what are your thoughts on boring versus exciting products?

00;25;23;24 – 00;25;45;27
Speaker 2
Yeah, it’s just like, you know, many boring products outperformed by thousands. Like, you know, the exciting ones. I have this presentation where I’m showing like four or five or of our previous products and telling the audience, Can you guess which one? One of them did million dollars sales in just in the first month and in 99% of the cases, nobody guess is which which product is that one like we have.

00;25;45;27 – 00;26;08;24
Speaker 2
We did the validation recently on our own, a product which is for collecting the dog’s poop and looks like a very boring product on the first side. But it was just killing that, you know, it’s that that was beating all the metrics and nobody knows knows why until now but and that they lost and then it became like a super success in the market while you know another product.

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00;26;08;26 – 00;26;27;21
Speaker 2
So that was a helmet which was recording you know that there’s a camera which shows recording the front and rear. It has an air screen, it has an air kind of suggestions on where you where you could drive, etc.. You could connect with other drivers. So it was like, you know, a helmet fit with all these kind of functionalities that you would you would love to.

00;26;27;21 – 00;26;52;11
Speaker 2
And it just failed because of, of of not having enough demand. Right. It turns out that people don’t need that much of a functionality in something that is just needed to protect protect you kind of sarcasm weekly or exactly at that time we had another product which was just a mask which was just covering your face and it was just doing nothing else and it was just a kind of cool mask and very similar to this helmet thing, which was with a lot of functionality.

00;26;52;11 – 00;27;11;23
Speaker 2
And this mask outperformed this helmet by five times so and so, like they did a couple of hundred thousands of sales in their first month while, you know, the other one failed. So we see this happening all the time. It’s it’s really hard. We weren’t betting internally like we see it all the of the products and we bet like which one is outperforming the others.

00;27;11;23 – 00;27;29;04
Speaker 2
And even even internally, we most of the time were wrong because a very boring product might have, might be a really good business, might there were great margins, might be on a trend, might be something that people really search about. So it’s not only about, you know, creating the next shiny thing, but it’s about solving a real need.

00;27;29;08 – 00;27;45;08
Speaker 4
I’m glad you shared those examples at the audience because it’s definitely true. You know, and as as you say about that helmet one, I think I would be distracted. There would be too much going on if I’m supposed to be driving or riding a bike or whatever, I would be like doing too many things. And so that’s interesting.

00;27;45;08 – 00;27;57;19
Speaker 4
While we were doing research for the show, David noticed on your LinkedIn profile you had over 75 endorsements for growth hacking. Can you share with everyone why you’ve been noticed for for growth hacking?

00;27;57;25 – 00;28;20;04
Speaker 2
When I started the agency and we needed to help the founders, the creators succeeding in the crowdfunding, basically I was I was the marketing guy, you know, I was doing a lot of growth hacking, like trying to understand the easy ways and how to get what you want and the growth hacking. I would explain that, you know, you need to just understand the rules of the game, how to break them legally, right?

00;28;20;04 – 00;28;39;07
Speaker 2
How to break them in a way that that is, you know, not making harm of people. But, you know, you just found the shortest way, shortest path to into something. So, you know, there are many examples on what you can do with growth hacking, although I currently I’m more inclined into the growth as a continuous growth, not just one time hack.

00;28;39;09 – 00;29;06;03
Speaker 2
This is more close to me now, but growth hacking is just that. You for example, you’re just creating a Facebook ad and you see that this blocked and you understand why it’s blocked. The algorithms can now detect on the on the Facebook and you’re just getting it approved so it can start from writing the you know, the text on like using the same letters in Russian or just changing the banner into something that the algorithms are not reading.

00;29;06;05 – 00;29;12;16
Speaker 2
So this kind of stuff and also psychologically understanding what people really want and creating these kind of motives for them.

00;29;12;16 – 00;29;17;23
Speaker 3
Can you share maybe one of the bigger success stories that you’ve had from a client at pre-launch dot com?

00;29;17;23 – 00;29;40;21
Speaker 2
So a one of like biggest success we had is called a fuel fueled motorcycle. So this the the founder of this electric motorcycle was the former Harley-Davidson senior engineer. And it’s a very famous, legendary guy I would say Eric built so he he’s also the founder of this Buell motorcycle and they’re like hundreds of thousands of motorcycle of his name.

00;29;40;21 – 00;30;13;29
Speaker 2
So that was a super success they launched last year. The validation they their main goal for the validation was to understand their customers better, understand who their customers are, because this bike is full of, you know, patented innovations that like 27 innovations only only on this motorcycle. And they need to understand exactly like deeply who the customers are and specifically what features they value over the others, what kind of positioning works the best for them, how different regions, regions of of U.S., Canada, Europe react to to these kind of messaging and positioning.

00;30;13;29 – 00;30;41;05
Speaker 2
So it was an amazing success. We got like although the the bike was $10,000 and the reservation fee was $200, we got over thousands of reservations on the platforms. And then yeah, and like all the major media wrote about that, Forbes, TechCrunch and everybody else. So it was a, it was a big success. But ironically, success can be a, a failure on the pre-launch can be a success to the, to the creator.

00;30;41;05 – 00;30;58;04
Speaker 2
Right? So this is how we see it. We see that, you know, if you if you pre-launch something on the on the platform and you see that metrics are telling you that it’s bad and it’s not improving, although you kind of failed, you succeeded because you saved a lot of time and a lot of money, a lot of nerves to not the otherwise would be spent in the in the market.

00;30;58;07 – 00;31;14;13
Speaker 4
That’s definitely something to to I want to go over with the audience again. And so to your point, Eric, is like testing something. And if it didn’t work out, that’s actually a success. Because otherwise, if Europe just launched that product and bought a ton of inventory, you would have you would have lost a lot of money and time.

00;31;14;13 – 00;31;30;07
Speaker 4
You mentioned earlier not only money, it’s time all your time invested in that is you could have been using it on something that that actually you passed pre pre-launch. So awesome. I want to pivot in a little bit. Can you can you talk a little bit about TCF and crowdfunding what the crowd funding formula is?

00;31;30;07 – 00;31;54;07
Speaker 2
So crowdfunding formula is this agency that helps campaigners launch their products into into Kickstarter and Indiegogo, A.K.A Visa is the ecosystem that will be built around that. So it’s not only the agency. A couple of media companies there recently acquired the company called Gadget Flow. It’s kind of Pinterest for gadgets. So what you basically you’ll scroll there and like all kind of innovations there and you find whatever you want.

00;31;54;07 – 00;32;14;19
Speaker 2
It’s a great website. We have this take I want, which is again a media. So we’re basically trying to build this ecosystem where you have all the necessary tools and and platforms and knowledge to go from idea to success, right? If you have an idea, you can validate it on pre-launch, then you can go launch it to crowdfunding, then you can scale it with the gadget flow with take.

00;32;14;19 – 00;32;34;10
Speaker 2
I want then you can take it to e-commerce. Then we have something else for there. Like we have a influencer marketing platform called Vero Mango, etc. etc. So our goal is to, is to help innovators, is to help, you know, creative people to succeed despite of their geographic location, despite of their, you know, financial well-being, despite of their knowledge.

00;32;34;10 – 00;32;39;17
Speaker 2
And to create an ecosystem where, you know, these impactful ideas will thrive. So this is what we’re trying to do.

00;32;39;18 – 00;32;49;12
Speaker 4
Okay, awesome. Now, that sounds that sounds amazing. It’s like you built and it is the ecosystem from start to finish. So, David, anything else you want to cover before we get into the fire around?

00;32;49;13 – 00;32;50;13
Speaker 3
No, let’s get into it.

00;32;50;16 – 00;32;51;27
Speaker 4
All right. And Eric, are you ready?

00;32;51;29 – 00;32;52;15
Speaker 2
Yes.

00;32;52;18 – 00;32;53;24
Speaker 4
What is your favorite book?

00;32;53;27 – 00;32;56;26
Speaker 2
I would say Hard Things About Our Things by Ben Horowitz.

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00;32;57;00 – 00;32;58;27
Speaker 4
Okay. Awesome. What are your hobbies?

00;32;59;03 – 00;33;04;25
Speaker 2
Hiking and and watching YouTube videos on podcasts also.

00;33;04;28 – 00;33;08;11
Speaker 4
What is one thing that you do not miss about working for the man?

00;33;08;14 – 00;33;29;10
Speaker 2
That’s a good one. So I would say when you don’t have enough impact on something that you’re working on or on a company and you understand that you’re not that important and your decisions are not taken into account. So basically, whether you are there or you’re not there, like life will go on and you don’t have this impact, you don’t have this ability to change the pace of something.

00;33;29;11 – 00;33;37;01
Speaker 4
Yes. Excellent. That’s a good one. Our last one, What do you think sets apart successful entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail or never get started?

00;33;37;01 – 00;33;52;06
Speaker 2
As you said, entrepreneurs never give up. Their startups may fail. Their products may fail, but they don’t fail. They don’t give up. Just the mindset where whatever happens to you, you just don’t give up. You just continue and learn from your failures and you don’t need the motivation to to go from failure to failure.

00;33;52;07 – 00;33;54;24
Speaker 4
Excellent answer. David, over to you to close out the show.

00;33;54;25 – 00;34;05;27
Speaker 3
All right. And, Eric, we want to thank you for being guest on the firing, the main podcast. If people are interested in getting in touch with pre-launch dot com running their idea through your guys’s process, what’s the best.

00;34;05;27 – 00;34;16;09
Speaker 2
Way they just register on pre-launch? We have a free plan so they can just as the platform see whether it works for them or not. So they just register there or just send us a message and we can help with the onboarding.

00;34;16;10 – 00;34;20;20
Speaker 3
Very nice. Thank you so much for your time today and looking forward to staying in touch.

00;34;20;21 – 00;34;21;03
Speaker 2
Same here.