How To Pre-Launch Your App & Get 100,000 Seed Users

This past week I attended an event all about launching and scaling your business.

It was cool. Definitely had a San Francisco flair to it as most of the talks were from founders who didn't get into the details the way many of we do in the app business.

My favorite talk was by Alex Tew (@tewy) who has founded a few products such as the Million Dollar Homepage and the app Calm.

Alex talked about how he would have his dev team create a viral “mini” product leading up to the launch that could potentially go big very quickly. The goal being to aggregate as many email addresses as possible in order to “seed” his product launch.

In this video, I talk about what he did and how it worked so well for the Calm app:

What you need to know:

  1. Create a mini product for your target audience that takes no more than 2 days to build. For the Calm app, Alex's team built the Do Nothing For Two Minutes website
  2. Post this product on social media in front of the people you are targeting already. NOTE: this only works for apps that have a specific audience. Sorry generic gamers…
  3. Fuel the fire with some highly targeted FB ads (optional)
  4. Collect emails and retargeting pixel information from all visitors
  5. Reach out to PR outlets and have them talk about your mini product. This is much easier to pitch than an app because it's so unique and simple.
  6. Leverage all the user data you collect into launching your app.

Simple, right?

Sort of. It's important to recognize that this is not a guaranteed strategy. In fact, the odds are probably against you.

The good news, though, is that the investment is very small and the potential upside is HUGE. You can try a few different mini products to see if one hits.

That book I mentioned is called LAUNCH by Jeff Walker. Check it out here.

One great tip from Alex is to incorporate puns or catchy titles into your marketing. This often helps products like this go viral.

My mind exploded with ideas when I heard this and I can't wait to try a few. I highly encourage any one of you to try this!

Talk soon,



  • StillUntitled November 22, 2016

    That’s basically givers’ gain – you give out quality stuff and create your customers.

    and do nothing for two minutes is a simply awesome idea, people are going to try this away, but also shows how the team knew how to leverage the peoples’ mindset.

    And probably create a sort of raison d’etre for the app in question – felt tired sitting for 2 mins? observed how nervous you are when forced to do nothing? This is the reason for your using the app.
    Thanks for this example, very appealing and inspiring!

  • Sanjeev December 5, 2016

    This is an awesome idea….

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