Idea Feedback: Code Roasting as a Service

Guys and gals - I've been stewing on an idea these past few days and would love your feedback.

(My) Problem
I'm working on my own SaaS, and have some traction. I'd love to dedicate more time to it but it's not gonna pay the bills right now so I'm also juggling freelance work.

The Idea
I've been a front-end developer for over 10 years now. I want to throw up a simple subscription service where other, perhaps less experienced devs, can have me "roast their code".

You subscribe for say, $99/mo (TBC), and that'll give you 4 roasts. A roast consists of the client sending up to 200 lines of code (also TBC), and me creating a super helpful video, solving their problem, or just generally giving constructive feedback & encouraging good habits.

So essentially it's a code review, but more personal, and probably more suited to those in the "learning" phase.

So, would you use something like this? Do you think it's viable?

I cannot find the link for the life of me, but I heard about a guy doing this for improving people's golf swings. He built a nice $200k/year lifestyle biz.

Ps, if you'd like me to roast your code (free), let me know! Then if I build this I might ask for a quick testimonial via Twitter (if you find it useful, of course) 😀

  1. 6

    Just post your code in any dev community, you will get roasted for free!

    1. 1

      Hah, was waiting for this :-)

  2. 5

    Before I answer your question, I want you to show you the trap that you, I and others always fall into: you have problems generating revenue with your main idea, and so now you try to generate revenue with some other idea. You are not solving your initial problem, you are just shifting it. Because now you will have to figure out how to do marketing etc on your second idea. So I would say either keep your first idea and freelance, or try your second idea and freelance. Don't expect your second problem to solve your first.

    Secondly, I'm an experienced coder (almost 20 years professional experience), and I think your "roast my code" is not valuable for experienced developers. I think your main audience would be people that are still learning to code, either newbies or <3 years of experience. It's mainly a service for "education" and not "improve my production code" I think.

    Now on this last part, when it's education, I think selling a product such as a book or video would leverage your time more than selling your time, because you're already doing that with freelancing. You could try to sell your time when you would get higher pay per hour than your freelancing, but that would also mean your clients need to be richer. And I highly doubt the newbie programmers have more money than the companies you are currently working for.

    Stop thinking about other ideas, double down on your main project, and suck it up getting some money from freelancing.

    You and I are in the same boat friend, I'm also doing freelancing while trying to get some revenue from my main idea. It's a good combination, but it sucks to not have enough time for your project sometimes.

    1. 1

      Brutal - but appreciate the detailed feedback. Just so we're clear - the objective here is to shift time and focus to my SaaS, not away from it. And hey, if I can throw up an MVP in a couple days then why not try, right?

      EDIT (lost my comment below): More generally, I do think it's worthwhile testing many ideas via MVPs. Among the (few) successful friends I have in this space, the constant definitely seems to be their relentless "launch rate", rather than hit rate.

      1. 1

        Ah wait, maybe I misinterpreted your post. Your Saas is the "roast my code"? In that case, definitely try an MPV.

    2. 1

      This comment was deleted 2 months ago.

  3. 2

    You say "roast", I say "quality audit". If you proceed with this, at least don't use that terminology. As others have pointed out here, you're likely to get submissions from juniors rather than peers, and developers hate others looking at their code at the best of times, so to be "roasted" rather than "reviewed and encouraged" is off-putting.

    How about a "Code Catch", "Parachute", or "Once-over"? Something that feels supportive, or at least neutral.

  4. 2

    there are crazier ideas.

  5. 1

    I think this would make a good YouTube series. That’s probably a longer path to monetization, but could be another way to monetize it. I know I enjoy watching design roasts online because I’m trying to get better at design.

  6. 1

    I would roast code for being paid, but to submit code to be roasted, hmm, seems a bit of a hassle, to much context needed.

    1. 1

      Yeah, that's a good point. I guess if I'm dealing with pure functions or other more "isolated" code snippets then it'd work well (a 200 line limit should hopefully ensure that). But need to think more RE context...

      1. 1

        if you have a plugin in vscode / intelj, and you select a piece of code and just submit, I would not mind, especially if open source plugins, but how could someone give valuable feedback without context, in the end don't care much about roasting aspect, but feedback is good, I think I could write what a function is supposed to do.

  7. 1

    There are a lot of similar-ish companies doing this like https://www.frontendmentor.io/. How would you be different?

    1. 1

      Yeah, a lot of players... although the field seems huge. I guess there's only one way to test - started working on an MVP last night 💪

      To answer your question, I'd be looking to get an edge in 2 ways:

      • Simplicity. This is literally gonna be a case of submitting up to 200 lines of code, then get a video back in 24 hours. No complex pricing, no connecting Github, or participating directly in PRs... it's literally one feature. The focus will be entirely on speed & quality.
      • Beginners. I'd target people who are actively trying to improve their coding skills, who have perhaps invested recently in themselves or completed a boot camp and are now looking for reliable, ongoing support.
  8. 1

    You can get 5x more feedback using audio surveys with voiceform.com? Also, can you roast our code...

    1. 1

      Looks like a cool product! And yeah, I'd be happy to roast (free). Started throwing up an MVP last night and should be ready next week. I'll ping you then 🙏

  9. 1

    Hello, I'm a Fornt-end dev, and when I was reading your idea something about "asking for coaching" came up to my mind, I mean: if a junior dev wants to improve maybe he will ask someone else more experienced for some sort of "coaching", but also I was thinking that "coaching" has some limitations, since the dev is not paying, the coach does not have any responsibility to it.

    So I think this is a great idea for those who wants go beyond that soft "coaching" approach and get more feedback about their code.

    And regarding the price, it think you will see what adapts better to your customers

    1. 1

      Exactly! You can ask for coaching, or post your problem on Stack Overflow but there's no guarantee it'll be addressed.

      I think the ideal customer would be someone who recently completed a coding course/bootcamp and is now either working on their own project or freelancing. They want to invest in themselves and can justify the expense.

  10. 1

    TBH my eyes were popped when I saw the pricing. From my perspective I'm probably a less experienced developer who is probably not making much through development. So I probably won't be able to afford that price tag, especially a subscription.

    I saw a few people doing this just for the sake of youtube/twitch views. On the other we are roasting web page designs all day long here, all I get in return mostly a simple "fuck you" while this (https://www.roastmylandingpage.com/) guy charges £149 for a roast with many happy customers. So it's possible to do, just requires some show I'd say.

    1. 1

      Oh, this is fantastic - exactly what I'm talking about, but for code. Turns out the creator is on IH. Hey @olly 👋, would love your thoughts on this!

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