Non-technical regrets at Spectrum

In hindsight, these are the things I wish we had done differently at Spectrum.

We should have focused on our niche

  • Wanted to build for our use case, open knowledge communities (e.g. open source)
  • Needed to make money, so built business features
  • Businesses were not interested, and had we focused on our core niche use case we would have grown much faster
  • Easier to raise money if necessary, more satisfying, ultimately more momentum and higher chance at success

It's better to have 100 true fans who love the product than 10,000 barely interested users.

We should have done way more marketing

  • Spend too much time on building new, shiny features
  • Should have spent more time on marketing, typical engineering mistake
  • Not just social media, but also in-product growth marketing, marketing pages on the website, etc.

Do way more marketing and sales than you think you need to do.

We should have told our story

  • Branding was good and unique
  • Brand did not have minimum viable personality
  • It differentiates you from the "big guys" as they cannot have a story as personal as you in most cases
  • For example, The Practical Dev ( is doing a great job at this

Tell your story, it differentiates you from the big players in a crowded market

Sell your story

We should have launched all the time

  • Launches are great for marketing, every new release excites customers
  • Shipped tons of stuff without ever announcing it
  • Missed opportunity to showcase a new feature and get more users at the same time

Launch before you think you are ready and then again and again and again.

Always be shipping Iterate as fast as possible

We should have stuck with the MVP technology

  • Had an early MVP built with minimal technology (Firebase)
  • Saw some tiny traction, thought we needed proper setup for custom functionality

Stick with the minimum viable technology setup until you feel product-market fit. You will know in your heart if you have it.

We Did Not Talk Enough With Users

  • Went into a hole and built a shiny feature for months (e.g. WYSIWYG editing) without talking to users about their priorities
  • Ended up wasting valuable time and adding a lot of unnessary tech debt

Talk with your users, they should be your guiding star.