Waitlisted started to solve a few problems but at the top of these was giving startups interesting ways to engage prospects. The problem we saw was that companies were spending their precious dollars building sign up forms that engaged their early customers. The classic example of this is Robinhood, who I would credit with really bringing waiting lists to the forefront. At waitlisted we wanted to provide a similar technology and platform to everyone. We wanted startups and marketers to be able to focus on building their unique products, and to leverage us to help them grow their sign ups. That is exactly what we are doing.
The next question we must answer is, why have a waiting list at all? Why not just use MailChimp and collect email address directly?
At the forefront of all other arguments, is that of limited capacity. Waitlisted helps solve startups’ capacity problems by acting as an engaging buffer that a mailing list cannot. It also incentivizes referrals by granting users faster access to your capacity.
How waitlisted addresses the Capacity Problem
The next question you might ask is, What is Capacity? Capacity is the number of users you can support. This is a reality for any startup. It can be a function of what your servers can support or it can be a function of what your staff can support. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your capacity is how many requests per second your web server can handle, the biggest bottleneck is often how many customers your team can service.
There can be too many users.
The truth is too many interested users can Ruin your product, but it doesn’t have to. For one taking feedback from thousands of users day one with a limited staff would be like drinking from a firehose, good ideas broken into cohorts over time, tracked as features grow and change will allow you to see what is working and what isn’t.
Releasing everything day one, and getting horrible feedback also sends a bad social message that could be avoided by inducting smaller cohorts and iterating on problems as they come up. On top of all this, you could experience the slashdot effect or perhaps the ProductHunt effect where a massive one day influx of users overwhelms the amount of infrastructure you expected to need. By hosting your landing / signup page somewhere like Instapage, and using our Waitlisted plugin to manage your cohorts and drive social gamification, you are more likely to have a solid long term launch strategy that works.