Vaporware, what is it, and why should you use it?
At Kolabo we use a number of techniques to help evaluate an online business idea, and one of those techniques is vaporware.
Vaporware (or vapourware) is software or hardware that has been advertised but is not yet available to buy, either because it is only a concept or because it is still being written or designed.
There is a tendency when building a new product or business to be very secretive, perhaps out of concern another business will copy your ground-breaking idea. Vaporware is a technique that forces you to be bold, get your idea out for the world to see, even before it’s actually ready.
By launching vaporware, you will be speaking to your potential customers as if your product exists and is ready to be purchased or used. But actually it may still be in development, or perhaps you’ve not even started development.
The key is to capture and track interest in your product, or even accept early registrations or expressions of interest.
Why should you use vaporware?
One of the key benefits of launching vaporware is being able to evaluate your market early. At Kolabo we like to base all of our decisions on evidence, we can spend countless days evaluating ideas and their market potential but vaporware allows us to gain real insight into if your idea has mass market appeal.
Combining this technique with methods like A/B split testing adds the potential to help answer several hypotheses at the same time. As well as answer the question “does my idea have market appeal” you’ve also created hard evidence on what variation of your idea has the most appeal.
Fail fast, fail often
When taken at face value, the concept of “fail fast, fail often” sounds like a terrible idea. But when we consider the underlying principles, it’s the most logical approach there is.
If your idea is destined for failure, wouldn’t you want to know as soon as possible? It might be a bitter pill to swallow, but it could save you hundreds of hours of work, and stopping you from moving onto your next big idea.
But failure doesn’t have to be black and white, it may be that your idea isn’t promoted to the right market, or using the correct delivery channels. Working out what doesn’t work can be just as valuable as working out what does.