April 7, 2019

Sunday Edition: Weekly Retrospective!

#weekly-retrospective, #daily-stand-up

The weekly retro gives hackers the space to:

  • Reflect on our triumphs for the week.
  • Reflect on where we fell short for the week.
  • Share concerns about being on track for your monthly epic and ask for feedback.

To join in:

01 Share your epic (a big chunk of work with a meaty objective) you'd like to complete by the end of January.

02 Share your triumphs for the week.

03 Share your failures for the week.

04 Share your concerns moving forward.

05 Give feedback to at least one fellow hacker and give them an IH Point for their check in.

Optional:

06 Share your Work In Progress to underscore your accomplishments.

(Smiling) The regular scheduled stand up will resume tomorrow.

  1. 3

    EPIC

    Launch Magnus rush publicly

    SUCCESS

    • Kept the ball moving this week, reversing the last several weeks of stall which I had been through

    • Added a pivotal feature into the platform, which adds significant value by addressing a major problem!

    • Used the mobile app heavily and found a bunch of little bugs to fix

    FAIL

    The week started like last week did, with me overwhelmed and pretty far away from taking any action

    CONCERNS

    Right now, at this moment, I have little concern about hitting my goals for the month. Of the things left on the list, having conversations with podcast hosts is probably the one I'm least confident on, because I haven't done it LIVE before, via phone call. Exchanged small notes in email, or Slack, etc, but never the full treatment. So that will be a learning experience but also kind of simple in execution.

    FEEDBACK

    Inline, where appropriate!

    WIP

    Magnus Rush, interactive podcast platform and app: https://magnusrush.com

    1. 2

      Exciting! Live conversations with your main bread and butter! When are those suckers scheduled?

      1. 1

        I'm prepping the mobile app builds now for submission to the app stores. Need to have the app available for them to try out and see how it works with the platform. Interactive features are super sweet, and need to be experienced to really get it. So maybe as soon as next week?

        1. 1

          Getting super freakin' exciting!

  2. 3

    EPIC

    Validate concept.

    SUCCESS

    Learned a new framework.

    FAIL

    Learned a new framework. Although I'm thrilled I've at long last had the proper intro to Gatsby, I'm now far afield of what my original goal... to determine if anyone even wants Jeanius. And, in retrospective, I've been doing everything but that.

    CONCERNS

    Getting my ass back on track. This week, I return to the core that is Jeanius' primary contribution to the universe and determine whether anyone wants that contribution.

    FEEDBACK

    Forthcoming...

    WIP

    Jeanius

    1. 4

      Ah, the constant pull between upgrading your skills/knowledge as a developer and building a successful startup. After one of my startups failed in ~2014, I realized I was so behind that I spend 6 months just catching up on front-end web dev stuff!

      You said you want to determine if anyone wants Jeanius. What's that process going to look like for you? Also, what's your business model? Hard to tell from the site.

      1. 2

        (Heartfelt sigh) Yeah. We won't even talk about my quickly plummeting skill set, keeping in mind that the skill set was nascent to begin with.

        As for the process to validate Jeanius --- I don't know. I've thought about it since you posted your question and. --- I still don't know. For this project, I had thought to rely on traffic/affiliate commissions. A chick comes in, enters her body stats, then sees a universe of jeans that fits other chicks with her exact same stats. If she clicks on any of the recommended jeans and makes a purchase, I'd get a cut.

        But what am I testing? ( 1 ) That a chick would actually use the app prior to buying a pair of jeans? ( 2 ) That a chick would click one of the recommended pair of jeans, thereby putting a chunk of change in my pocket? ( 3 ) That I could get sufficient traffic to support this model?

        I can't test #1 and #2, because ( a ) it ain't finished; and ( b ) I can't finish it while at my current day gig. I've done the research re #3 and seemingly the search traffic is there, but I've no idea if I can reach it without a cash outlay similar to Happy Endings. (Although with Jeanius, unlike Happy Endings, a chick can get the benefit whether or not there are other chicks are using the app.)

        My thought was to write an "example" blog post that summarized recommendations for a specific body type, throw $100 in Google ads at it. I discovered for e-commerce, ad conversion rates are 2.69%. And then CTR is typically .5 - 1% for affiliate sites. If I exceeded both of these numbers, I'd continue. Thoughts? Is that sufficient correlation? How would you test it, @csallen?

        1. 3

          Your blog post idea sounds good. I might also test a landing page with buy buttons? And/or I might try straight-up sales, e.g. DMing people on Instagram (more work, but you get better feedback).

          This all reminds me a bit of DollsKill.com. They've got a similar affiliate thing going on, except on their site you shop an entire "look" based on which "doll" matches your style, as opposed to shopping for jeans based on what your legs look like. I wonder how they made it work in the early days? I might look into that.

          Given your dilemma with not having a ton of time to finish a product while working your day job, I might try one of a few options:

          Option 1: Take a stair step approach where you start super small, accrue some advantages, and use those to get to the next level. An example would be Indie Hackers, which was a blog, which spawned a mailing list, which in turn seeded a community. Or Glossier, which also started as a a blog (Into the Gloss) before it became a makeup company. For you, perhaps step #1 is a blog and IG account where you demonstrate expertise around buying jeans and see if you can grow an audience or a mailing list. Then build on top of that. I'm not sure what step #2 would be, but the idea is for each step to be an SLC, not an MVPs.

          Option 2: If you're working a full-time job, you probably have more money than time. Consider paying someone to build your app for you. Again, I would keep it extremely minimal. What is the smallest thing they could build that people would pay for? The fact that this person would be costing you money would be a good constraint to help you focus.

          Option 3: Start with a service, not a product. I'm not sure what that would be here, unfortunately. Personal shopping? But the goal would be to do something where you're getting paid to provide value in this area. Then that can be your job, you'd learn a ton about customer's problems, and you'd have more flexibility in your schedule to build your product since it could be an extension of your day-to-day work. But again, this is easier for something like coding (which pays well and where it's easy to find contracts) than it is for selling clothing.

          --- related:

          One challenges with jeans is that they're an infrequent purchase compared to, say, makeup. And compared to how often founders want to think/talk about business. So that might present a bit of a challenge to doing any sort of audience-building. 🤔

          --- also related:

          Your website looks great and is fairly fleshed out. That probably took a long time to do! But it's almost all "coming soon" and "not ready" yet. It's basically an MVP from that article I linked, not an SLC. I have the tendency to do that, too, but it's not a particularly helpful habit, because we could be spending that time building something less expansive and more useful. What keeps me grounded and focused is remembering that there are people I've interviewed who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars from a one-page website and a mailing list, nothing else.

          1. 2

            re Validation. I'm pretty damn certain that chicks wouldn't pay for this service. Use it? Yes. Share selfies in their fav jeans? Yes. But not pay. Hence the affiliate route. Would it still be useful to try the sales route? Are you queasy about the affiliate route?

            (Smiling) This rest is more for me then for you! You've been more than generous with the wisdom bombs! Thank you!

            **re DollsKill.**Ooh. Nice find. I'll definitely dig into their origin story.

            re Time. Actually, time is not the issue. Interestingly enough (or not at all) the prototype that got me my first gig in tech, is also the prototype that I can't work on while at my first gig. A bummer. But I thought I'd make lemonade out of lemons and take this opportunity to build audience first.

            re Challenges. On average chicks purchase jeans 5 - 7 times per year. (Smiling) But they take shitloads of selfies in jeans that they like to share. It's definitely a concern. Which is why I'm trying to find a no-MVP-path to validation.

            re Naked Site. I haven't yet finished porting/surfacing my content generated last month to/on the gatsby framework. But regardless, I have considered narrowing focus given nights and weekends. And here I thought that audience building would require less time than building the app! And you're right. One page/100 of thousands is grounding. (Grinning) If not a little depressing.

            Lots of questions. We'll see if I can find answers before digging to deep. Many thanks for the feedback! 🙇🏾‍♀️

        2. 2

          That blog post sounds like a cool MVP to test it out. You should give it a go!

          1. 2

            Thanks for the encouragement! Just knocked out the content tonight!

    2. 2

      "Learned a new framework" heck yeah that's a success!! One which will help you in every project going forward :)

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