Is Stealth Mode a Good Thing?

June 25th, 2008 | Categories: launch, marketing, networks, off topic, social media, strategy, trends

Some start-ups choose to develop their products and services in stealth mode in order to avoid competitor attention and build hype leading up to the launch. Many believe this to be the best tactic, although I’m not yet convinced.

Building an entire product below the radar, then banking on a one-time launch is a risky proposition. It can work like a charm or fail miserably. A mere glimpse can have users and press begging for more. Often though, the supposed hype is nothing more than a company-created mindset that the outside world fails to acknowledge.

I think that a more open approach, that may involve some level of secrecy, is the way to go. Providing constant communication and progress updates via a blog is great way to build an initial community and generate genuine interest before a launch.

I think that “stealth mode” was a fad and all fads eventually come to an end. The novelty has worn off. The only time I can think of where this state would be advantageous is when your idea is easy to copy. In that case though, the long-term sustainability of the business must be questioned if it can easily be duplicated.

I’m still a bit hesitant around the concept of “stealth mode”. I tend to chuckle when I see the label nowadays. It makes me wonder about the true intentions of the company. Usually I investigated further before coming to any conclusions, but I generally shun upon the title.

NOTE: Truly operating in stealth mode and advertising that you are operating in stealth mode are two completely different things. The web 2.0 fad I am referring to pertains to the latter. The former is a totally legitimate business proposition and has nothing to do with what I am talking about.

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  1. Ira Says:

    I agree. Hiding your site until launch means you lose out on valuable feedback and input from the community. People get very protective over their ideas but really the execution is what is important and that’s pretty hard to steal.

  2. Launch loyalty - The Relentless Stream of Consciousness Says:

    […] I completely agree. Building up anticipation through controlled information release will excite people and prompt them to sign up for the final release. If potential users are kept completely in the dark about what to expect, they’ll often just find another solution to use in the meantime - and once locked in, they’ll stick with it even if it’s inferior. Post is on Mapping The Web, here. […]

  3. shanxitiger Says:

    Yes, I agree with the two guys’ points totally. if we will do the market development with this strategy, maybe we will make a big dinner with a small potato. really?

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