4 Ways Launching an IoT Product is Like Sending Your Kid Off to College

​It’s that time of year again.  Millions of parents are sending their kids off to college with the hopes of setting them up for a promising future.  While my son isn’t quite college-aged yet, it got me thinking.  Bringing an IoT product to market — maybe more than any other type of product — is like sending a child off to college.   So here’s my advice for product leads (and parents) ready to launch their babies into the world.

 1. Know when it’s time to let go

Just like college age children, you’ve devoted countless of hours to caring for your IoT product. You tirelessly molded it from a tiny idea to a fully formed product hoping that it will make the world a better place.  It can be really hard to put something into the world that you care so much about.  You want it to succeed, but what if it doesn’t?  There’s only one way to find out.  Take a deep breath and send it out, trust that you’ve done a good enough job so they’ll not only survive in the big wide world, but thrive.

2. Give them room to breathe

Once your offspring has packed their bags and headed off for a new, independent life, you’ll start worrying about all the things you did wrong. You’ll wake up at night and remember you forgot to teach them about separating colors before doing a wash, or you’re kicking yourself because you didn’t teach them how to fix a flat tire with nothing but a rubber band and a stick of gum. Your hands itch as you want to speed dial them to tell them all of these essential life facts.

Similarly, you’ll start to think of the millions of things you could have done differently with your IoT product. You’ll second-guess the color for the interface, because tangerine is so much more attractive than fuschia!  There are always things we can do better -as parents, engineers, marketers, but you can’t plan for every scenario your baby will encounter.  There are going to be customers that like tangerine more then fuschia, but there will also be people that love what you’ve done.  Back off a bit and give your kids room to find their niche.

3. You won’t always like what you hear

While you want to give your kids space, communication is still important.  Although you may not like everything you hear.  Be prepare for that.  Just like you heard that your teenager prefers parties to pencils, you may hear some feedback from customers that you don’t love.

In both scenarios the best course of action is to put your outrage aside and listen. Listening will help you maintain a strong relationship even after they have flown the nest. Be on hand to offer support and guidance when necessary. Or in the case of IoT, thank customers for their feedback and if you’re getting the same consistent feedback seriously consider implementing changes.

4. There will be moments of pure joy

You did it! Pat yourself on the back. There will be times your child will utterly amaze you with what they can do. You’ll feel pride as you watch them go out in the world, fully formed, and capable of holding their own.

You’ll get the same feelings of pride for your IoT product when you start to see trends in your usage data you never expected. Or a kick of excitement when your dashboard lights up with new users signing up. You’ll be amazed when you see MQTT data streaming by as customers use the features of your product to better their lives.

Celebrate this milestone, you’ve done well!

While we can’t help you with parenting, we can certainly help you survive the IoT product launch process? Check out this 5-step whitepaper with everything needed to go from evaluation to launch and beyond.

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