It Doesn't Matter That Your Mother Loves Your App
I had a little known company that I started between my first company (TravelPost.com) and my second company (DealBase.com), called Your24. I created it for two reasons—first to see if I could build a start-up on an incredibly lean budget, and second, to experiment with new formats for user-generated travel content.
The site's concept was around viewing and posting one-day itineraries cluing others in to cool things to do in various destinations. For example, 24 hours in Paris for families, or 24 hours in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for backpackers.
I was successful at my first goal—launching a beautiful, full-featured community website with an investment of under $20,000 in six weeks of work. I thought Your24 was a great idea and my friends thought so too when I showed it to them (or at least they said they did).
But despite the praise, the site never got press mentions, or strong customer love, and thus lacked the product-market fit we needed to cost-effectively attract a strong community of users. It was hard to ignore the lavish praise from friends, but ultimately Your24's destiny was determined by unbiased users, and we disconnected the servers that summer.
(Read More: The Death of the Textbook)
To get honest feedback on your product or idea, it's got to come organically, from people you don't already know. Surveying your friends is great in theory, but they're probably going to love what you show them, no matter if it's good or if it's bad. They simply want to be supportive and are highly biased to tell you what you want to hear.
You'll know you should persevere when a stranger stops you on the street or sends you an email to tell you how much they love your product, when positive feedback comes without prompting. If you've got that, it's time to step on the gas and grow your business as fast as you can.