I have a successful tool that has received lots of buzz for the past week or two. The tool is currently free and I hope to adopt a freemium model. I have the following options and I can't decide between the two.
1) Launch version 2 (will take 2 days) - do this to keep the buzz going and to let users know indirectly a paid product will follow.
2) Launch version 3 (will take 7 days) - introduce the paid product straight away.
Which is better and why? Is there a consequence of each?
A lot of this depends on the "buzz cycle" of your specific market. My assumption is that you want to build and maintain the buzz. I am not aware of an industry where waiting 7 days until the next version will have negative impact on buzz -- unless you hyped it already and are facing unrealized expectations which you don't seem to have done. Not do the two options seem mutually exclusive to me.
One potential negative option of launching version 3 before version two has realized a life cycle is that you will cut down on the potential buzz that you could be delivering. Build until attention is about to wain-- then then deliver the next. Will attention begin to wain on version 2 in 5 days?
In other words -- do #1` and then have version 3 ready to go at the right time. that might be 7 days when it is ready-- you might embargo it a little bit to fully realize the media and "buzz" cycles of version 2.
Maybe you can embed version 2 with a feature that let's folks pre-buy into version 3 -- acceleration the buzz and testing volume assumptions?
Based on your clarification that v3 introduces the pay features, I'd go straight there. You're not removing functionality from established users, so there's no invited backlash (OK, someone may object, but if you want to monetize directly you have to get used to that!).
It would be a far finer judgement call if the timescales were longer or there was a less clear development of features.