December 10, 2016 (Post dated)
For an early-stage startup, there’s no question that deciding to host a launch event is a tough decision to make. These startup parties pull from resources - both time and money.  Both of which are - and should be - scarce.

This week, we spent time tracking down rental plants (yes, thats a thing) rather than spending quality time with our great developers.  We spent money paying for event staff when we need to pay for web design work.  And we spent emotion recruiting folks to come to the event, when we need to empirically understand how users engage our product.

These are lopsided opportunity costs.

This morning, I woke up with a little buyers remorse.  But, looking through the Instagram photos and Facebook updates, that remorse quickly subsided.  Here’s why:

Great Partners Make Great Products. Pre-party, I watched our partners gather around in a living room and solve problems - together.  These amazing folks were diving deep into ways they want to help each other, their friends/family, and their fans live healthier lives.

TeamMenud watched from the sidelines, amazed at how deeply our partners care about building a healthier, smarter way for people to find and eat good food.

There was a lot of sincere emotion in that room. There was conviction.  And there were budding friendships turning into deep partnerships being developed.

Does that make a launch event worth it:  100%

Great Partners Make Great Events: Days before the event, we were expecting clear skies.  Hours leading up to the event, we were expecting constant rain.  Our guest list for the party exceeded 155 people who had RSVP’d. We knew rain would truncate that list, leaving us to 25% of our guest list.

We were wrong.

Our tremendous partners, MIAMI Magazine, My Ceviche, and GEM Spring Water, wouldn’t let rain keep them or their friends away.  At 9:14PM, 173 people were happily taking shelter from the rain, corralling around My Ceviche’s table or just ignored the drizzle and sipped another cocktail.

Our event partners proved to be exactly who you want them to be - long-lasting partners.

TeamMenud owes so much to Diana, Luis, Sheril and Sophia at MIAMI Magazine and to Roger and David at MyCeviche as well as Jennifer and Lauren at GEM Spring Water and of course my good friend John founder of Edukos.  We will look forward to one day soon supporting our partners they supported us.

Does that make a launch event worth it:  100%

Great Friends and Family Make Great Businesses: Stretched resources means you have to look to Friends and Family for help.  Whether that help comes from financial investments, technical support, providing ambiance (thanks Chris) or just saying “I’ll go put the drinks out!” (Thanks, Tommy), Friends and Family are the make-or-break of the startup.

Without the support and buy-in from our Friends and Family, the leap-of-faith of a startup would be near impossible.

I, for one, am lucky and grateful to have an incredible wife who supports me so deeply.  Especially when TeamMenud is throwing Hail Mary’s in the 4th quarter.

Does that make a launch event worth it:  100%

Great Customers Make a Great Startup: Menud has been in the wild for for 7 weeks.

We have thousands of users.  We’ve spent $14 on marketing.

Metrics aside, we have great customers who love what we’re doing.  While I’d like to think our customers love Menud because of the easy software user experience, after last night - hearing from so many folks - I realized why our customers love Menud:  We’ve made healthy eating simple, connected, and popular.

One guy was sharing with me how he has given up fast food because - using Menud - he can see healthy dish alternatives around him.  Another gal was saying how much she liked being able to follow healthy recommendations from the Menud Influencers of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.

If we don’t make healthy eating popular, then we are stuck in the loop of 21-day-long diet fads.

Our customers recognize that… and Menud’s Influencers are responding as fast as possible, helping to popularize healthy dishes they recommended you try.

Last night, we heard a lot of fantastic user stories from a lot of different people.

Does that make a launch event worth it:  100%

NET-NET: did the launch event drive user traffic, deepen engagement, spur excitement, and refine customer experiences?  I think so.  This morning, our downloads are up 1054%, our return users are above 170% week-on-week, and we collected dozens of invaluable user stories.

Most importantly, we deepened our relationship with our fantastic partners who want to make the lives of their friends, family, and fans better and healthier.

Does that make a launch event worth it:  100%