The next big hit may not have been written about in Techcrunch or discussed on HackerNews yet but could be secretly live right now in the AppStore or on the web.
Buying Facebook ads in Ohio. A/B testing designs, content and flows in the Philippines. Creating shell companies to submit test apps under. Companies you know may have amazing products you will love available to you right now but you’ve never heard of them.
Welcome to the new stealth.
Companies used to go stealth to keep their competitors guessing, but recently stealth has fallen out of vogue. Customer development and lean philosophy value feedback and data over PR hits so fewer companies spend years getting ready for the big launch.
But when you are well known or well funded, releasing incomplete or beta projects can be a disaster. Bad reviews can distract a team. Bad metrics can scare investors. Whether internal or external the bar for quality is so high its hard to release a product you aren’t completely proud of.
So why not do both? By launching without any press, releasing in secondary markets or testing publicly under fake names allows companies to learn about their products while still keeping their option to use press to drive adoption of a beautiful high quality product in a classic launch.
Another benefit of the new stealth is it allows you to truly test organic growth. Without coverage or association you can truly see your products' viral adoption, test recruitment channels and optimize conversion funnels on their own. The new stealth can give you clean data uncluttered by people outside your customer base driven to your site by tech press.
Finally, use of product at scale can help ensure all aspects of your tech are functioning correctly before you hit the front pages of the tech-web. Nothing compares to 10,000 or 100,000 people using your service to make sure it actually works.
Better products, optimized distribution and use at scale all before “launch” are driving adoption of the new stealth. That means the next big thing may already be out there, if only you knew where to look.