Short story: I decided that if an app was worth making, it was worth making great. So, after I implemented my original concept, I spent a few weeks focusing on the UI and included some new features. The final prototype looked something like this:
Then, I explained it to a few people. Guess what? Nobody understood it. Out of about 10 people that I explained it to, only 1 of them even pretended to be interested in tweeting competitively.
However, when I demonstrated the actual prototype to them, they liked using it.
But, the “competition” seemed to confuse them. To a surprising extent. Maybe I just didn’t explain it well… but nobody understood. So, it was clear to me that the app had some value to it; just not where I was expecting.
The reason that people like “Finish” is because it’s fun to guess what you’re friends are thinking, and it’s even more fun to see the wacky image results that come up as “hints”. About half of the people I showed it to asked me how to see what other people had guessed. So, there it is. They liked finishing their friend’s thoughts, and wanted to see the hilarious things that other people had guessed. They didn’t want to “compete.”
I’m not working on this alone anymore (because that’s no fun). From here on out, Daniel Herrington is going to help me launch this thing. Now that he’s on the team, we’re not just trying to make an app… we’re trying to redefine how people interact with social media.
Next, we’re going to remove the competitive aspect of the app completely and attempt to replace it with a more friendly, social experience. We can still re-use a lot of the code, but we’re not afraid to make significant changes if we have to. It’s our time, and we’ll spend it however we want.
One advantage of starting off by myself: any “wasted” time can be chalked up to a learning experience. Many managers will also describe failures as learning experiences, but my advantage is that I spent no money and actually gained technical experience by implementing something myself. Don’t get me wrong: I’d rather do it right the first time. However, I still spent my time crafting every detail of a user experience and analyzing how actual people responded to it. That’s a value-added experience for me, and it cost no money.
Of course, working alone can also be boring. But now it’s a team effort, so the sky’s the limit!