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Getting feedback on your prototype  

The guys at PaperBuff share this insight and set of tools to achieve it:

One of my favorite pieces of Paul Graham startup wisdom is that the entire point of your early product is to get your users to tell you what you actually should build.

To achieve this, feedback has to be:

  1. Fast: your feedback loop needs to be tight, and the tools need to support that.
  2. Actionable: Measuring page views and the like might give you a nice feeling, but actionable feedback is what you need.
  3. Scalable enough: it doesn't need to scale to thousands of users; if it gives you the right feedback right now with the right amount of effort, that's good enough for now.
  4. Candid: back up what people say with their actions; for example, if people tell you they love your site, but they never come back, the feedback is suspicious.

For these purposes, they propose a few tools which can be useful at that crucial stage:

  • Olark for chatting to your users in real time
  • Mixpanel for real-time event tracking
  • Chartbeat for real-time analytics
  • Clicky for traditional web analytics

Early on in a startup's life, user activity streams can also be essential.

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