January 31, 2017

Show IH - Paralela, a Pay What You Want website to help you practice French

Hey IndieHackers! I've been inspired by IndieHackers (particularly the Pieter Levels interview) and have been working for the last month on an MVP. I figured I would show it to you all since this site is what finally got me to stop talking about launching and start actually launching.

Paralela is a Pay What You Want SaaS that has you type out sentences in foreign languages (currently French, adding Spanish soon). As you type, a live translation of the sentence appears below. Then, the next day, you get an email with the important vocab from the sentences they typed out the previous day. The typing aspect is good for spelling, the translation aspect helps with learning grammar and phrases, and the follow up vocab emails help people retain what they've learned. Best of all, it's a fairly fun and low pressure way to brush up on your French skills.

Anyways, I'd love to get everyone's feedback on the product idea, design, revenue model, etc. You can check out Paralela at https://parale.la, and you can try the demo at https://parale.la/demo/1.

Lastly, I just want to say again thanks to everyone for being a part of this community! It's lovely folks like you who've gotten me to finally start building and shipping products.

  1. 3

    Slightly related topic. I was looking for an app or site to help a 3 year old learn French but I could not find anything that seemed like a really good solution.

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      In my opinion, the best way to teach small children French is through immersion. If you speak French then speaking French to them is good. Other than that, it couldn't hurt to expose them to French movies, French children's books, etc, until they are old enough to take lessons or do tutoring (maybe around 6?)

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        Thank you, I will try this.

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    Congratulations on your launch! Why did you decide on a pay what you want model? I saw your explanation on your site, but I wanted to hear more about your rationale. Are you learning French? What are your thoughts on marketing Paralela? Most people who start learning languages give up. Do you have any thoughts on addressing the possibly high attrition rate? P.S. I am interested in these questions because I am myself also learning on language learning site, but for Japanese.

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      I decided on a PWYW model because I figured that the cost of the "good" is immaterial to me - it doesn't really matter whether I have 10, 100, or 1000 subscribers, I still just need one server, one domain, etc. So I figured why not let people name their price? Plus, it's an interesting model and I thought it would be fun to explore!

      I already speak French, although I am using Paralela to brush up (I'm getting rusty!). And yes, high attrition rate is definitely real - I email vocab to users the day after they complete a lesson and will set up drip reminders if Paralela gets enough interest.

      Last thing - check out https://www.koipun.com. They launched on /r/learnjapanese to some success.

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        Funny thing you mentioned Koipun! I actually created it :) How did you find out about it?

        About PWYW, I would be very interested to see your results. I would love to see a blog for Parela in IH fashion.

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          That's so funny! I almost didn't post it but I'm glad I did. I'm not sure how I found out about it - did you ever post it here? I might've seen it and forgot that I saw it here.

          And yes, I am working on a blog post now! Gonna do a write up about PWYW, traffic from various sources, ad effectiveness, etc. I'll be sure to post it on here when I do 😊

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            Yes, please post it here! I am looking forward to read it. And yes, I had posted koipun on a comment in here a couple of weeks ago.

  3. 2

    I really like the idea, i don't speak French at all, but if this was something that existed from english to danish, would i use it. I can't get your demo to work, maybe it's just me doing it wrong, but i think you should write some text, so people know what to do.

    I actually really liked you design then i got my first hand impression, but that disappeared really fast again. The entire box-shadow is not really working (or your logo is nice and simple), in the navigation should you just remove the box-shadow, and use some kind of background color or border-bottom instead then hover/active.

    Your about section really need to be worked on. It needs to be set up in a different way, and design. Maybe something with a bunch of box(with a bit of border-radius on) with the question at the top, a kind of breaker(a line or something), and then the answer. This is really up to you, but i would suggest to look at a bunch of FAQ, there are a lot of different ways to do it.

    The last thing i will say is, i think you will with a bit of work, could take a fast amount of money, and even make different plans (then you got some more features). Your idea with pay what you want is also a nice idea, but i think if you work hard enough can make a really good profiting business out of this! :)

    Best of luck :)

    PS. I wrote this comment, with an idea that you have done the design by yourself.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the response! I agree, the design could definitely use some work. That's really annoying that the box shadow isn't working, I spent so long trying different variations on borders, outlines, box shadows, etc, trying to make it look good and work on most browsers. Can I ask if you're on mobile? That would explain the CSS problems and also the demo not working - I haven't yet setup mobile keyboard detection.

      But seriously, thanks for the feedback 😊

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        I was on an Macbook :/

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          Hm, I'll look into it.