I’m a heavy subscriber to the notion that you should release your application as early as it possibly provides value to anyone, then start iterating based on customer feedback. Since it isn’t always practical to get feedback, and since customers do not always know what they want, I’d also consider stats about what they do to be among the most useful forms of feedback.
For example: If you add a quick start guide to your software, and twice as many customers manage to save their first document as did the day before, that is probably a sign that you’re doing something right. If you haven’t quite guessed, I have indeed been working on my quick start feature.
I also have some stats to share about the new web version. Some of them are already incorporated into my stats page, and the rest will be as I find time to code. (Major props to OpenFlashChart 2 and the Rails plugin for it, meant it took all of five minutes for me to get the trial & guest account creation stats online.)
Anyhow, in about a week since I launched BCC.net publicly:
Trial signups: 200
Guest signups: 235
Word lists created: 850 (total)
Word lists created from scratch: 540 (Waaaay higher percentage than I expected.)
Bingo cards printed: 3,138 (Booyah.)
Sales directly attributable to online version: 0. OK, anti-booyah.
Summer is a natural deadzone in my market so I’m not excessively worried by that, but hopefully things will pick up again like crazy come the schoolyear. My users appear to be sticking, which is nice — about twenty people are already logging in every day, and I’m fairly sure only one of them is me. Hopefully these and other fine folks will be persuaded to purchase the software once the school year rolls around and they need more than 15 cards from their lists.