November 24, 2019

Minimum Viable Product

Colin Bartlett @cbartlett

When I decided to build and sell my status page scraping service I resolved to myself that I would create a product that had a revenue model from launch. It was important to me that I not be dependent on ad revenue or investors. It had to make money from day one. I kept the proof of concept I had already built and wrapped a little more substance around it. I added Rails, I added a database backend and I came up with some simple pricing plans. A free plan would allow anyone to monitor up to 5 services and a paid plan at $10 per month would allow monitoring 20 services.

I also created a $100/month plan that allowed monitoring unlimited services. I figured nobody would ever sign up for this but from what I read, having a very expensive plan made your regular plan look more reasonable.

For payment processing I chose Stripe because of my previous experiences using it on some client applications. I really wanted to limit how much time I put into this idea and Stripe had a very easy to use Ruby gem. But more importantly, they had a drop in Javascript widget that would pop up a modal for users to enter their credit card information. Front end development was a huge weakness of mine and I was really grateful to have Stripe's Javascript integration that had me up and running in a matter of minutes.

Since front end development, and any kind of design, was so challenging for me, I decided to hire a talented designer I knew to come up with some branding and a basic UI. I paid $750 for their work creating a logo and a basic user interface mockup in Photoshop. It felt worth it to me to outsource this piece of the process because I would have otherwise spent scores of hours on it myself.

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