Simple means launching something 09 Dec 2005
61 comments Latest by Jim
We’ve been talking about launching a Basecamp affiliate program for a few months now. I’ll stress talking. Talk, talk, talk. No walk. Why? Cause what we had in mind was pretty complex which means we’d never get around to doing it. It meant research and research isn’t our thing.
So yesterday I said fuck it — let’s make this simpler. I wrote up a brief story describing the feature, designed a few UI screens that were needed, and we got started on it. Now we’ll launch the affiliate program next week. 1 week from idea to launch sure beats 3 months from idea to nothing.
Here’s the exact story posted to our “Storyline” Basecamp project (this is where we keep ideas for features we’re working on):
Ok… Let’s simplfy. Instead of dealing with cash payouts and the related accounting nightmare, I suggest we start simple first. People can earn credits towards their account. That’s good enough to get this started. We can introduce cash later if we want. Cash will have more impact, but I think this is a first good step to test the waters. So, here’s how it works. Everyone gets an affiliate link/code they can pass around. If someone clicks that link or uses that code to sign up for paying plan, the code owner gets a credit towards their account. The credit would be applied at the time that the new customer’s card is charged, not when they sign up for the 30 day free trial (since we need to take in someone else’s money to give someone else a discount). We should show a “pending credit” to the code owner so they can see it “working.” So I’m thinking the credit is 50% of the new customer’s first charge. So, if someone uses a link, signs up for the Plus plan ($49/month), and then keeps the plan and is charged $49 in 30 days, the code owner gets a credit of $25 applied to their account. Credits will accrue so you can build up $xxx in credit and never pay for your Basecamp account again. Simple. Done!
Moral: If you find yourself talking more than walking, shut up, cut the vision in half, and launch it. You can always fill in the gaps later. In fact, you’ll know more about what gaps need to be filled after you’ve launched “half a feature” than if you tried to fill them in before launching anything.