Back in May, I ran into a brick wall.
After nearly 18 months working on Command—an all-in-one tool for managing SaaS products—I realized that I'd built the wrong app.
I was tired, frustrated, and struggling to figure out how to sell the thing I'd built. It worked technically, but it wasn't really solving a problem—a reality made painfully clear by the confused, lukewarm reactions I was getting from others.
Realizing and accepting that I'd made a bad call, I decided to rethink the product and make a go at a pivot.
After evaluating the features I'd built and looking at the data I was gathering up, I realized that there was a lot of potential for Command as a niche-CRM for SaaS businesses.
Eager to give it a shot, I decided to put my head back down and give it one more try.
The problem was the solution
As the new idea started to take shape, I started to see a strong connection between the revenue, behavior, and marketing data that the app was bringing together.
What I realized was that by combining feature usage and revenue data into one UI, it made it very easy to see if you were building the right product.
Even better, it made it easy to identify if your marketing and pricing were resonating with customers, too. The value was clear: eliminate the guesswork around finding your SaaS product's target market and feature set.
"Well, shit," I thought. That's it. "This can help you to avoid building the wrong product in the first place!"
A new product, a new name
After a few months of development, it was clear that the name "Command" wasn't really describing what I was building.
In the back of my mind, the term that kept popping up and finding its way into my notebook was "customer development," a popular methodology used by startups for building a new product.
Randomly searching for "customer development" one afternoon, I came across this blurb in the Wikipedia article for the term:
The process assumes that early ventures have untested hypotheses about their business model (who are the customers, what features they want, what channel to use, revenue strategy/pricing tactics, how to get/keep/grow customers, strategic activities needed to deliver the product, internal resources needed, partners needed and costs).
There it was! Hypothesis. It perfectly described what the new app was doing: helping you to prove the underlying hypothesis for your SaaS product.
With that bit of back story out of the way, today, I'd like to introduce Hypothesis: the customer development platform for SaaS products.
Hypothesis saves you time and money by equipping you with the tools you need to identify who your ideal customers are, what they want, and what they're willing to pay for it.
It does that by helping you to:
- Import your revenue data from Stripe to keep track of MRR, churn, and LTV (on a per-customer basis).
- Track which features customers are using and monitoring utilization across your entire customer base to inform your roadmap and focus on developing the right features.
- Create capture forms for each of your marketing channels to capture interested leads, making customer segmentation effortless.
- Send targeted email campaigns based on revenue and behavior data to identify which marketing message resonates best with customers and keep customers engaged.
In short: a lot. Building the right thing is a tricky problem to solve and involves a lot of moving parts.
With Hypothesis, my goal is to remove a lot of the stress and anxiety in that process and make it easier for SaaS businesses to build the right product faster, saving time and money in the process.
Introducing new pricing
With the launch of Hypothesis, the existing pricing model from Command is going away.
Today, Hypothesis is launching with four new plans, with monthly options available for paid plans (annual plans are coming soon):
- Develop - Free
- Track up to 250 leads and customers
- Send up to 500 messages per month
Intended for early-stage SaaS products who are building a beta list or actively working with beta customers to develop their product.
- Fit - $49/mo
- Track up to 1,000 leads and customers
- Send up to 5,000 messages per month
Intended for SaaS products that are in beta or available to the public but still trying to find product-market-fit.
- Grow - $99/mo
- Track up to 5,000 leads and customers
- Send up to 25,000 messages per month
Intended for SaaS products that have found product-market-fit but are still trying to identify the best pricing and marketing strategy for their product.
- Scale - $199/mo
- Track up to 10,000 leads and customers
- Send up to 50,000 messages per month
Intended for SaaS products that are operating at scale who want to leverage Hypothesis for fine tuning their feature set, pricing, and marketing strategy.
With these plans, I hope to make Hypothesis accessible to products of all sizes and budgets. As Hypothesis is an indie product itself, I'll always keep an eye out for the little folks out there.
What is the long-term plan for Hypothesis?
When I launched Command back in May, changing my direction so quickly was incredibly stressful. I knew that it would be confusing from the outside looking in, but I knew it was the right—and far more clear—path to take.
Like I suggested under the banner of Command in May, the goal is to continue working on Hypothesis for several years. It's something that I enjoy working on and find the problem interesting.
From a financial standpoint, it's just me working on and supporting the product for now, bootstrapping the business with revenue from my other businesses. My initial goal for revenue is to get Hypothesis to $10,000 MRR (monthly recurring revenue) over the next 18-24 months, or, roughly ~$120,000 per year.
From a focus standpoint, Hypothesis will continue to be one of several things that I work on to ensure that the product stays alive (and my interest doesn't wane). That said, until further notice Hypothesis is my top priority across all of my work.
I have a lot of ideas for things I'd like add to the product and improve overall, so make sure to hop on the mailing list below to get updates as they're released.
Thanks for hanging in there, folks!
I was a bit mysterious earlier in the year as I sorted out where to take all of this, so apologies if I was misleading or confusing—I know I ruffled a few feathers.
Hopefully the wait was worth it and if you're working on a SaaS product, Hypothesis will become an essential tool on your belt to make that process easier.
If there's something you'd like to see added to the product or you have any questions, feel free to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.