What Goes Into a Product Launch at Skystra


Launching a new service is always exciting. So why is it we only have 5 services, along with a few addons? Companies in our industry tend to have dozens of services, products and addons, seemingly covering the full range of what their customers will need. 

What’s the biggest difference? 

Many of our ideas end up being chopped in the validation phase. We have a lot of phases an idea goes through before it even makes it into our development tracker. And the main roadblock to any idea becoming reality at Skystra is almost always the “Does it solve a problem?” stage of validation. The truth is, unless our product or service will solve a problem, it doesn’t have a reason to exist. 

There are many web hosting companies in the world. There are fewer Web Services companies around. There is a big distinction between both, and it’s in the services and the delivery of those services that distinction is most noticed.

This means 2 things: 

  • If we can’t provide a service that solves a problem, don’t do it. Let someone else who is better at it, do it
  • If we can provide the service, but can’t deliver the service or support it properly, don’t do it

If we went against those 2 guidelines, we’d have a terribly inefficient company with the reputation to match. Which means almost 95% of all ideas we’ve had for new services got chopped the second they hit this stage in their validation phase. 

For example, Windows hosting is something we’ve long considered, but never actually launched. It’s just about 20% of the entire market, with few competitors. That looks like an extremely easy service to launch and make some money from.

However, there are a few problems : 

  • It’s outside our core competency
  • Microsoft Azure exists
  • Hiring specialized Windows people will take a long time
  • Building our training, sales, marketing and support for Windows would be a big task, and put other things behind schedule

In short, the technology itself is easy to implement and deploy. The human component, and by extension the efficiency component, are the hard parts for this specific service. Is it something we could still do in the future? For sure. But there needs to be changes made at our company before we would venture into this kind of new service. It’s a natural extension of our services, but not at our core yet. 

This is the lesson we’ve learned. Just because we can deploy the technology needed to launch a service doesn’t mean we should. We made mistakes along the way. Launched a new service in states that we shouldn’t have, telling ourselves we’ll learn along the way. Then we couldn’t maintain that technology, didn’t know how to, or when something went really wrong, we had no idea what to do. 

Training an entire support team on a new service is also not a one-time thing. It requires a lot of build out, scenarios, customer examples, re-training, breaking things, doing it all over again, until our team feels comfortable enough providing support the right way.

There is a lot more granular tasks that go into launching a new product, however, the question we always ask ourselves first is: should we?