Thursday, 13 April 2017

"Untitled side project"

So, I've mentioned my side project a couple of times I should start to elaborate a bit more. I won't share the name or details just yet. Not because I'm worried about someone stealing it. Rather the idea, hypothesis, and validation are the next installments of this story. When embarking on this journey as a side project it had to be fun and interesting. A chance to try a different experiment to my day job. Different tech stack, different tools. While being useful to people. So I set to work with a collaborator on something to meet these needs and we discussed a basic idea. The first thing was creating a Trello board. One of the first cards was "think of a name". Next came looking at the front-end stack that was lightweight and easy. A PaaS provider that had a free option and integration with source control. This also needed a free private repo option. And it was vital to have a pipeline that built and deployed a working version of the code on commit. Luckily GitLab and Heroku play nicely together. It seems a little too easy! As an added bonus the Source app means a code change and deploy to a working server can be done on my phone - seems ridiculous but that is easier than updating this blog! One of the key early decisions was "NO PASSWORDS". There are more than enough sites that provide identity services, from GitHub to Google+. The last thing anyone needs is another username and password to remember.

Then in a flash of inspiration, the "think of a name" card was completed! A domain name registered! A Twitter account started! A user journey mapped on the back of an envelope! These were exciting times in "side project land".

Then ... nothing much. Life got in the way. Holidays, illness, and the day job. I would imagine this is a key struggle for many startups and side projects. Maintaining momentum. We found ours in targeting a landing page to launch a user research survey. Then booking in a night to work on it, to make sure it happened. With an actual site and the prospect of visitors. Another no brainer was the importance of analytics. With so many SaaS providers that have starter plans for free there is no excuse. So far we have Keen.io and Google Analytics. Pirate metrics here we come!

Edit: Follow up posts now available

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