Ask yourself: Am I building something I would actually use?

Hey IH,

Almost a year ago, I started a small side-project. BuildFaster. (btw, buildfaster.co is currently down. Something is wrong with the DNS configuration and I am working on that right now.)

The point was to sell easy-to-use and beautiful HTML templates to busy developers.

There was one flaw however. I honestly would never use the templates that I created.

Since I would never see a developer like myself use it, then that also includes quite a lot of others out on the web. I was never really satisfied with the quality of my templates and sorta rushed through the building process. 😕

Now let's switch this onto a good note. 🎶

Right now I am building GlowAndGrow - Painless, growth-focused 🌱, reflective journaling.

Shameless plug :)

Why is this great? Because I would actually want to use it. I'm not super great at journaling and past "lazy-journal-methods" haven't worked for me. I've already talked to quite a few people about this and they seemed pretty onboard with this idea too.

When creating an app, product, or tool, it is very important to keep in mind the following:

Would I use this?

So go ahead. If you are currently building a tool right now or have a good idea for an app, ask yourself that question.

If it's a "yes", then great! Continue where you were.

But if you say "no", then you should take a moment to think about how this effects your effort and motivation to build whatever you are building.

Wrapping up

So if you take the time to find something to work on that you would use, you'll simply just enjoy working on it more and at the same time will bring others like yourself along the journey.

Thanks for reading! 👋

  1. 3

    I sure am. In fact, I will be my first customer.

    Tempted to give myself a discount.

  2. 2

    Couldn't agree more! Recently built my first full stack app tailor made to my needs and started using it with my friend. Couldn't be more happier.

    1. 1

      Awesome! So happy for you!

  3. 2

    Thanks @BraydenTW for sharing, don't know if you remembered me but I remembered that I saw you on quite a few platforms (here and Hashnode). And we were doing somewhat similar stuff, even this. About 5 months ago, I started an idea to build similar product to Carrd, but then I just didn't see myself using it and lost motivation.

    The way I look at it is both ideas try to solve an already-solved problem in a way that we "expected" to be nicer and better. But when I actually sit down and tried to build it, I realized that there's very little difference that I can make compare to existing solutions and the effort is overwhelming.

    It's all learning progress I think.

    Now, every time I came up with an idea, I started with the problem first and tried to quantify how much time it's saving or how much value it's creating compared to all existing possible solutions that I can find. That's when I know the real value (even pricing) of the product and how to talk to customers. I will find ways to make its value $50+/user/month or won't pursue it.

    Feedback for GlowAndGrow, it's hard to understand the value of "painless, growth-focused, and reflective", because I currently don't have technical pain journaling on existing app (I'm using Notion). Growth-focused and reflective can be interesting, but they're too abstract for me as a user to see its value.

    1. 1

      Hi @phuctm97!

      Yes, I think that is equally true. Really evaluating the effect it will have on people is a great way to start.

      Growth-focused and reflective can be interesting, but they're too abstract for me as a user to see its value.

      Totally see what you mean. I can work on that today.

      Thanks for your feedback and great insights!

  4. 2

    Totally agree.

    If you would use it, you implicitly think it's at the very least good enough if not great. As a result it's easier to take genuine pride in the work, which makes a lot of things easier.

    1. 1

      True - thanks for reading!

  5. 2

    Thanks for sharing! I was thinking about this very thing the other day when reflecting on the two products I’m working on. I realized in both cases I was developing something I wanted to use to solve a problem in my own life. Even if it never gains traction I will still use it in my own works.

    I figured that this offers two benefits for solo devs

    1 - you are motivated and will make progress
    2 - you’ll battle test the software as “customer number one” and it’ll make a more compelling story when looking to get paying customers

    1. 1

      Same here. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish with GlowAndGrow. Like, who cares if it doesn’t sweep the world? I know me and quite a lot of others will.

  6. 2

    Great idea. What are you doing to help people review their glow and grow statements? I think journaling (writing things down) is the first step. But without reading what you wrote and noting changes, it's not that useful for personal growth.

    1. 1

      Good point. One of my ideas is to have the users attach a certain glow or grow to a goal they have so they can work towards it. I will also have a weekly send out email to each of the users so they can reflect on what they did that week.

      What do you think?

      1. 2

        I think the idea with the goal is nice.

        If you can I'd add a way to tell users "This is the 3rd time you said you wanted to grow in this, maybe do xyz or reprioritize". Something similar for glow (e.g., you mastered this. time to focus on something new)

        1. 1

          Wow - that’s a pretty nice idea! I could definitely try that and run it by some beta testers later down the road.

          Thanks for your help @katerinabc!

          1. 1

            No problem. Working on something similar, but in an adjacent place, so have been thinking about how journaling can be improved quite a lot.

            1. 1

              Cool - maybe we could share some tips along the way.

              What is it that you are working on?

              1. 1

                As part of human-matter.com/labs we're working on a combination of goal tracker & journal. The tech side isn't yet developed, but the product will combine behavioral science & text analysis.

                I think there are different audiences

                1. journaling about your day for productivity/ mental health issues
                2. goal/habit tracking
                3. something for those who haven't figured out their goal

                I don't know if there is something for the 3rd group

                1. 1

                  That’s cool! Well, best of luck!

  7. 2

    The fact that you are acknowledging the importance of dogfood-ing your own product, is a good sign. In the initial days of Designtack, I was the only user of my tool and as I talked about it, people found out how it helps me and how it can help them.

    The more you use your product, GlowAndGrow, the more it will help you.

    1. 1

      Thanks for reading @vd - great tips.

  8. 1


    I'm working on Kinlind which is something I would love to have. It is a lot harder than other business ideas I've had but it will keep my attention and passion.

    Passion is infectious and makes it easier to find the right people to join the journey.

    1. 1

      Love that. Best of luck with it!

  9. 1

    Oh I thought BuildFaster was your current product. I would use/need that :P

    Perhaps it is about framing. I think there are similar template as a service startups which do seem to work quite well

    1. 1

      Makes sense, thanks for the advice. I might do a rebrand later in a pivot it, but right now I am working on GlowAndGrow.

  10. 2

    This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

    1. 1

      Good insights. I do not plan in selling this right now. It will mostly be a free tool with paid features along the way.

      Writing down glows and grows of my day can be done on paper. But viewing them, sharing them, gamification of the experience will take it to that next level.

      Thanks for your help!

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