Virtues of a Slow Launch

Sometimes, I lose track of how long we’ve been haphazardly working on Sway.fm.

On the surface, it’s been a long time spent on a product that’s yet to take off. But it’s been time well spent:

We’ve been actively talking to users the whole time.

That’s a lot of email,  Twitter and, whenever possible, in person chats. If you’ve met me in real life, there’s a good chance I at some point ask you how you listen to music, probing for what apps you use, what habits you indulge  and how those products win or fail at satisfying your habits. These conversations with users add up to an understanding of which users we mean to target with Sway, how they want to interact with their music and the opportunity to satisfy where current products fall short.

We learned from those talks, and iterated often as we’ve learned.

By design, there’s yet to be a major, public launch of our product.

We build a lot, and test the product with friends, family and a few public figures whom we trust with access to our very alpha product concepts. Each time, we hear what they like, see what they use and ignore and what they continue to ask us to build.

Over time, we’ve honed in on the core use case we trust will catalyze a habit in our users and we’ve experimented with UI concepts, design variations and flows. Now, we’re close to something that resembles a marketable product, and we’re stoked enough to start readying to launch it to a wider (ie, public) audience. Get our existing Chrome extension if you want early access to that upcoming product.

We’ve ended up having built. A lot. Of tech.

My GitHub heatmap.

Suffice to say that our team of two engineers has experience with the latest music tech available. We’ve spent afternoons sharing desk space and hacking together with other great startup teams (music tech and beyond).

We have private github repos for iOS, Android, Spotify and Rdio apps. We have hacks built on top of the apis from Ex.fm, Rdio, YouTube and more. We have hacks for sites that don’t even have API’s (because we love going where we’re not supposed to be). Our massively parallel node.js scraping stack can pull in years of Pandora thumbs ups in just a few seconds. Want those thumbs ups synced with your rdio library? We have backend for that.

We’ve built hacks ad infinitum, because (we like to, and) we believe you never build a thing right the first time. As a result, we’ve built up two years of tech assets and neat side-projects. That’s a lot of first-times out of the way.

Now we know what we want and how to build it.

It’s taken a long time to get here. We’re excited to soon be launching hard, and hopefully to contribute to shaping the future of how you listen to, collect and explore music in this post-mp3 world.

Interested? Get in touch @swayfm.

Jordan is a freelance engineer with full-stack chops, and an eye for analytics and growth.