Tell us about yourself and what you're working on.
My name is Adam Bard, and I'm a Canadian programmer. My project is called Later for Reddit. It's a Buffer-esque scheduler and accompanying analysis tool for Reddit, designed to help people submit posts to Reddit at just the right time.
How'd you get started with Later?
Reddit was always my go-to place for submitting projects of mine. I always found myself wanting to submit things when I had a working prototype, which was usually late at night when nobody was around to see them, so I created a tool to help me out with that.
The prototype took probably 10-15 hours of my free time on a weekend. Since then, I've just been improving it on evenings and weekends, working around my full-time job.
What's your tech stack?
I started out on Heroku and Mongohq (now Compose.io), and moved all that to a DigitalOcean VPS when I exhausted the free resources. I'm a cheap bastard that way. It still runs the scheduling and web interface just fine on that one relatively dinky server, although I do make sure to keep backups just in case it overwhelms itself.
How did you publicize Later after you finished building it?
I submitted it a few times on Reddit and mentioned it whenever I saw someone on there bemoaning not knowing when to post. The free accompanying analysis tool is really key. Who needs a Reddit scheduler if you don't know when you should be posting anyhow?
By now, the app just finds its way around by word of mouth. It helps that there doesn't exist a compelling alternative. They're all inactive "bootstrap specials" and command-line tools for programmers.
There's probably a lot of marketing that could have (and could still) be done, but I just don't enjoy it. It's more fun to think up new features and refinements, and to upgrade the design every so often.
When and how did you monetize Later?
Later had been running since 2013 with a limit of 1 post per week, but I just added the ability to purchase increased access at the start of February 2016. Monthly recurring revenue at the moment is about $250 USD and growing.
For a long time I would just upgrade people from 1 post per week to 1 per day if they messaged me on Reddit, and in a few instances I charged $20 per month for unlimited access.
I eventually got a message from a long-time user who was writing a big piece on marketing using Reddit, and suggesting a deal where I would start charging for the site and he would include a coupon code and collect a referral fee for those users. I said sure, built in payments, and people started upgrading their free plans almost right away. I only ever got a few referrals from that article in the end, but I underestimated how many of my existing users would be willing to pay for more posts.
If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
I probably would have added the option to accept payment a bit earlier, right after the first person contacted me asking about increased access. There's really no harm in having it there if your product delivers what it promises.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to just carry on in this fashion: to keep adding features, to keep things stable as more users sign up, etc. Making sure I'm not in violation of Reddit's rate limits or rules is important. On that note, I'd like to branch out to more platforms than just Reddit.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can also leave a comment below, and I'll try to get back to you!