Building in Public January 13, 2021

ThreadStart - 1 week experiment

scholz

I'm currently building an app in public as part of an experiment. It's already day 6 of 7 of the 1-week-sprint but I thought I'd share it here as well. Better late than never.

The idea is to build a successful side project in a fixed set of time, forcing me to ship early and focus on what is important. All this in public on Twitter, showing what I do, sharing a bit about my thought process and the numbers of the project. To do so I create a new Twitter thread each day, which kind of plays into the theme of the whole project.

Experiment process

I split it into three parts each with a clear goal:

  • Phase 1: 1 day to get 1 subscriber
  • Phase 2: 1 week to get 1 user (<- I'm here right now)
  • Phase 3: 1 month to get 1 customer

Achieving the goal means going to the next phase, missing the goal means stopping the project. This creates some urgency and risk, because I do want it to succeed.

ThreadStart - the project

The project at hand is: threadstart.io

A nice little tool to help craft Twitter threads. Over the time I want to build more functionality on top of it, but for now it needs a very narrow focus.

Phase 1 was not a lot of time, so there was hardly any functionality. It included the landing page, domain registration, server setup etc. Just enough to get started and spark interest. I've managed to get 8 subscribers, so I was good to go for Phase 2. I wrote a short sumamry on my blog:

https://www.scholz.dev/blog/threadstart-phase-1-summary

Now I'm towards the end of phase 2 and I feel like it's looking good. This phase requires me to get the core functionality in place, so that you can create & post threads on Twitter. Otherwise achieving the goal is impossible.

One absolutely unexpected side effect this had, was a harmless tweet that went viral and led to ~ 100 new followers on Twitter, which is a lot to me. (Had ~350 before that)

I did not have a lot of expectations going into this experiment. It was more about working out my "shipping muscle" as I tend to overthink & overengineer my projects. Having a clear timeframe and goal helped a ton with this.

I did not get a lot of responses in the beginning, but it feels like its getting some traction now. The hardest part was keep going, while feeling that nobody cares the first few days. My main motivation to keep pushing was that I actually want the app for myself, so I'm not just doing it for others.

I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on my approach. Did you do something similar at some point? If yes, how did it turn out?

(if you want to follow the threads I post them on my Twitter account)

  1. 2

    Cool idea, I've never bothered writing Twitter threads but this seems like it'd make it much easier. One note, check how Twitter handles URLs, I believe since they are shortlinked all URLs count as 23 characters regardless of size which could throw off your character count.

    1. 1

      I sure hope it makes it easier 😁 I'm also new to the whole thread writing side of Twitter. It actually started with the initial idea for this project, a few weeks ago. And is one of the main drivers behind it. I don't just want to help people, that already write good threads. I want to help those who have no idea where to start.

      Admittedly, right now only the former will benefit. But among the next features are things targeting the second group of Twitter users.

      ad URL) Good point, I'll have to check on that!

  2. 2

    @scholz DM me on Twitter, I have some feedback for you

    https://twitter.com/AlbertWalicki

  3. 2

    I write around micro saas opportunities every week and you may check at https://microsaasidea.com

    There is a lot of market around Twitter apps. I wrote my thoughts around this at https://www.indiehackers.com/post/building-1k-to-10k-mrr-micro-saas-products-around-twitter-audience-twitter-apis-d26423cf5a

    Let me know if I could be of any help!!

    1. 2

      Super interesting post! Lots of food for thought. I'd certainly consider ThreadStart in this microsaas range.

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