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My Indie Dev Journey: Week #2

My Indie Dev Journey: Week #2

Topics: How to Validate your Ideas, New Application Idea & About Not Tweeting Regularly

Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash

In my last Indie Dev Journey Story, I discussed a new app idea I wanted to validate throughout the week. I have done it, so let’s talk about the process and how it went:

How to Validate Your App Idea

To recap, the idea was to build an app that offers many small utilities to designers. Sounded great. So I did the following:

  1. Build a Prototype

The first thing I did was to build a prototype that everyone could explore in under 2 minutes. 2 minutes was my maximum, as I didn’t want anyone to spend too much time with the prototype, and people must get your idea as fast as possible.

Another requirement was, that I want to build it in less than 3 hours. As already said, it is a prototype that is there for validation. It’s not even an MVP. I don’t want to waste too much time on an application that is probably going to fail. Now that you have built your prototype, host it on GitHub Pages or similar to share it quickly. The best case is when people do not need to download anything and can try it out right away.

2. Ask a lot of People

“But Tomic, I don’t have any friends I can ask that are in the field I want to cover”. That is okay. You don’t need to. What I did was, I joined 2–3 Subreddits and posted the same thing: Asking for honest feedback on this idea. The honest part is important here. I literally included an entire paragraph in my posts just saying that I want their real opinions:

I’d appreciate your straightforward feedback. Is this something you’d use? What kind of tools would make your day-to-day work a bit smoother? I’m here for the real talk — a straight-up “no” is way better for me than a “yes” just to be nice.

And it worked! I got the most honest feedback I could get — A straight-up NO. Yes — the idea was a swing and a miss.

I would have targeted people who are not designers but need such tools from time to time. For designers, it would have been useless. And as I didn’t want this to be my target audience, I threw the idea away.

But the great thing about this is that I can try out another app idea, which we are going to cover in the next section:

Having New App Ideas is EASY

It’s not rare that I see people complaining about them not having ideas about what to build. And I am like: WHAT? I have a full bag of ideas!

But how?

It is very, very simple: Try to solve the problems you encounter in your day-to-day life. Literally. You have difficulties using the Bring! app? Write it down and how you would improve it. Do you have difficulties trying to find the best new monitor fitting exactly your needs? Write it down!

There are two advantages to trying to solve problems you encounter.

  1. The obvious: You work on a solution for a problem YOU have. That means you are more motivated to build it, and you know what needs to be solved exactly. In fact, you are the first customer.
  2. It is unbelievably likely people have the same issue. Don’t think you are alone with your problems. Don’t think you are too stupid to find your dream monitor. You are not.

Here is a perfect example:

My new app idea is to build an app that actually helps you fix posture problems when sitting. Sounds simple, but I and many other people struggle to maintain a great posture during work.

Yes, some apps already try to help you fix your posture, but I don’t think they’ve implemented it well enough to actually say it is an app with which you can fix your posture.

And I am motivated to build this because I can work on a solution for myself and others.

PS: Please guys, even if your idea solves a problem that you and others have, please validate it. A product always needs validation.

The Importance of Tweeting Regularly

As I am getting more and more comfortable in the Indie Dev scene, X/Twitter has become very important for me. In the last few days, I was not able to post any updates on my journey, which I noticed immediately. Here you can see my impressions from the day I posted my last update till the day I posted my simulation of a double pendulum tweet here:

It drastically declined. If things like these happen, we need to ask ourselves two questions:

  1. How did this happen?
  2. How can I prevent this in the future?

The first question is very easy to answer. Last week was an unbelievably stressful period that has not only cost me my usual indie dev time but also my sleep. There was a deadline till Saturday at my job, which was not at all movable. But as a high school student who cares about his grades, you don’t have a choice but to invest a lot of time into studying as well.

Okay, this sounds like I am complaining. I am not. These are just the facts. Instead of thinking about what the problem was, I should think about how I can fix it in the future. And the answer is simple:

Make a Plan. I am going to try to always have 3–4 tweets finished which I can post at any time. It is only going to take me 5 minutes to schedule them when I know that a week is going to become stressful and my stats are still going to go up. Now I have to find some topics I want to write about, but that’s the tiniest concern of them all! :)

Thank you for reading through my journey! I appreciate any feedback, positive, or negative!