I felt like the world was against me.
I know it was my own fault.
It is already quite some years ago. In 2011, I made my first app.
I was reading about people making millions of dollars from tiny iPhone apps.
"I could do that." I thought to myself.
So I went out and bought the cheapest Mac I could find, a Mac Mini.
For 2 months watched tutorials, read articles and books to learn how to code iOS apps.
Spent hours trying to come up with a million dollar idea.
After a while, I came up with an idea to an app. In my mind, I had validated the idea by asking the question "Would it be cool to have on my own phone?". The answer was, Yes. So I thought "I guess everyone else would buy this app too".
I went on to code for 12 hours a day for two weeks.
I was excited about my new product, and the accomplishment it was to go from idea to a working app.
One day, I uploaded it to the Apple AppStore.
Hitting the Save button was both an intimidating experience and a bit of an empty feeling. Because immediately after clicking, nothing happened. And it stayed like that for one week. No answer, no nothing.
Then one night, at 3 AM I got an email from Apple.
The message in the mail was: "Your app is live on the AppStore."
I was surprised. Of course, I hoped for having the app approved, but some part of me expected to be rejected, and have to keep working on the app.
I was excited, but also anxious, because I had prepared for a sudden launch in the middle of a random night. So I panicked.
At the time I didn't have a website. No Facebook page. And no one knew about my new app.
I knew that I needed to use AppStore-launch-momentum and get at least some downloads within the first couple of days.
I jumped right into building a website and setting up a Facebook page. Worked the whole night until 8 AM.
In the morning I was still high on adrenaline. So I slept for 4 hours.
Then I shared my app with my friends on Facebook. I was convinced that the downloads would explode.
It didn't. Nothing. Absolutely nothing happened.
A few of my close friends liked and shared it which I deeply appreciated. Some of them even bought the app to support me.
But the explosive launch that I had built up in my mind, it didn't happen.
All the hours I had spent played back in my mind. I had dreamed of seeing people using my app.
It felt like all that time was gone, wasted, all for nothing.
This taught me a valuable lesson about myself: "I didn't know enough about marketing."
And another important lesson: "Find customers before creating a product."
This experience was sort of a turning moment for me.
I still kept on building funny products, just for fun. But I learned to put much more effort and focus on the marketing and selling part of building a business.
Funny thing is that today I help startups avoid this pain: "The awkward silence of launching into nothingness."
And hack their growth.