One of the most exciting and terrifying moments of my life just simultaneously happened – we finally launched Digaboom to our first group of Beta testers. This ranks right up there with that new parent, initial drive home from the hospital – my wife and I with our tiny, innocent, perfect newborn first child all cocooned in that never-before-used car seat. Exhilarated to be new parents – yes – but terrified by every intersection and passing car that dared to endanger the life of our now 16 year-old daughter (who incidentally just got her license and is legally driving the streets of Massachusetts – wow that was fast!).
And so it was the same on Monday of last week when we finally sent out the first wave of invitations to our hand-picked team of friendly, but tough and very smart, Beta testers. Months and months of mostly sweat equity had finally brought us to this milestone – we were going to expose our baby to the whims and feedback of people that, although we trusted, hadn’t really been in the trenches with us (hearing about the trenches and being in the trenches – two very different things). Would they think it sucked? Would they get that it was still a Beta? Would they understand why not all functionality was 100% ready (not everyone has read The Lean Startup after all). Would they be harsh when they came across the inevitable bug?
Well, just like that drive home from the hospital, the Beta launch was and still is a success. Sure, not everything has been perfect but all the great and helpful feedback from an enthusiastic and encouraging Beta team is pushing us to continue to move forward and towards the goal of a mid-winter, full-blown public unveiling (which will no doubt be even more terrifying than the Beta team launch).
So what’s next?
Getting back to the title of this post surfaces a potentially more terrifying thought. We just launched the equivalent of a social network. And we’re starting at zero! (OK – not exactly zero as there are 7 of us in the start-up team). But literally – before hitting send, Digaboom was one big echo. So how do we get to a thriving, densely populated, digital marketing ecosystem that lives up to the promise of our overall concept? Of being a platform that truly is a better matchmaking solution for digital creative, marketing, strategy and technology professionals – independent or otherwise? A place where people can network, collaborate and form “virtual” teams with each other, as well as be paired up with projects that we’re working to attract? An online destination that eventually becomes a one-stop shop – the Amazon.com – for all things digital marketing (go big or go home, right?)?
Well, as you can imagine, there is a plan (a go-to-market plan for all you folks in the start-up world). And like Republican front-runner Donald Trump, we’re not exactly at liberty to share the details of this plan at this point in time. But suffice to say, it involves patience, lots of buzzwords and a sweet product roadmap.
But mostly it involves making something really useful to the entire community – from that seasoned UX pro who’s been freelancing for years to that digital strategist looking to make the leap to independence to that marketing VP tasked with launching a content strategy to drive more inbound leads to their sales team. A place to connect, network, collaborate, learn, and yes, be hired. We’re well aware that there are plenty of places already established on the web to go and hire or be hired as a freelancer. And while they can of course be useful, our goal is to be more than just another freelancer site and it’s why we’ve taken the harder path of building Digaboom from the community up. We’re developing an amazing resource that attracts exceptional talent – and will in turn attract amazing project opportunities. Of that, we’re convinced.
But we’re also aware that we still need help from everyone that we know (yes you – too late to stop reading now!). Know any freelancers or independent professionals – marketers, creatives, developers, consultants – who could benefit from Digaboom? Know any companies with digital marketing needs like branding, websites, content strategy and marketing, social media, search engine optimization, email marketing, etc.? Send them our way. We can and want to help. And you’ll be doing your part to help grow something truly useful.