2018 is effectively over, so how did I do on my 12 startups in 12 months challenge? Terrible. Let me break it down.
I started working on what would become outsidelist but then I was taking too long, so in the spirit of MVPs or something... I instead opted to "ship" a newsletter with a landing page built with carrd hooked up to mailchimp that I put together in an afternoon. No launch because who the eff puts a newsletter on product hunt? I did manage to get 100 sign ups... somehow over the next month, which was pretty cool!
I continued to work on outsidelist.com and I managed to get a horrible version out the door, posted to HN, tepid response. No product hunt because I didn't really like it at this point, I also didn't even know what I was doing...
This month I was determined to get something on product hunt (a.k.a "launch"), and that's exactly what I did. I turned levels.io's little badge on the desktop on nomad list "by levels.io" into a whole product, not the first time this was done or the last, but it was my turn, so I did it, called it "Hollaback" and put it on PH, it got some traction, was tweeted out by PH itself I believe... it actually made one sale for $3!! That was the best feeling in the world, something that I made, after all these years of false starts and making random crap, someone cared enough to pull out their credit card and pay me, insane. Unfortunately, people were confused about what exactly the thing did and what it was supposed to be used for. I intended it as a "website maker badge" where you basically link back to your own website since you're launching other sites as "side project marketing" no one got it though because the name and copy weren't clear enough, so that sucked. This is a problem with me, I don't name things or make the copy clear enough because I try to be clever. You know what's clever? Making things people understand how to use.
This month was kind of a blur, I started to work on a linkydink clone with the intent to launch it on PH, and I did make it, but I never got around to that last 10% (i.e. the last 90%), so I never launched it. Failed again this month.
Again another blur, I should mention that in between working remotely full time and traveling also full time with my wife and my dog, things were getting a little hectic, but that's no excuse for not shipping things, that's my own fault. No shippage.
Started on a tiny project called shippp, log in with twitter, tweet your todos and hopefully stick to them, it does work kind of, but again, no promotion or anything. So again, no shippage.
Kept working on outsidelist v2 for some reason even though the v1 was terrible, clearly I don't know what I'm doing. No shippage.
Outsidelist v2 ships! I can't believe it, unfortunately it sucks, it's unclear what it's for (again) and who should use it and why. Even I don't like it, that's how you know you're bad at something, when you make it and even you don't use it.
I started working on a disappearing once a day video social networking app called allyourppl, it actually worked, it was essentially only instagram stories, but only one a day with streaks for posting every day. Definitely my most ambitious thing yet. Then I sort of dropped it and started working on something called magehash which hashes the js on the payment page of your website to protect you against magecart attacks. This was the first project of the year that I did not do solo.
Finished magehash, while my partner in crime tried to sell the hell out of it to no avail, no one wanted it. Actually one person signed up, so that's cool. It actually works pretty well, it hashes your js every 6 hours and alerts you if there's a change via email. Simple and to the point, I still use it on my sites to this day. Facebook, google and stripe are constantly changing the js behind their CDNs, not sure if that's a good thing or not.
Decided to poll my twitter followers about the next thing I should work on. It was a tie between open source social todos (a la WIP and getmakerlog) or no login photo sharing. I decided to start the no login photo sharing first. I finished it in a few days, record time. It was mostly just me wrapping some existing js library and two backend functions to store the photos. I called it photo party and open sourced it here. After that was done, I started working on what would be streaking: an app to help me form a daily writing habit.
I finished a rough version of streaking that didn't even work fully in a few days and released it on Dec. 3 and I'm still working on it off and on to this very day.
Wrapping it up
So that was my year in review, I set out with a goal that would be very achievable if I didn't have a full time job or if I didn't sell my house and travel full time with my wife and my dog, but I did do those things so that and my own laziness definitely hindered me. For 2019 I thought about a "no code year" to focus on marketing or sales or something, but I think I'm not even that good at making products yet, I look at people like yongfook who graciously linked to my original 12 startups in 12 months blog post and drove most of the traffic to it and that guy is doing great, his products are insanely polished given the monthly release cadence.
Next year and beyond
I still want to get better at making websites, but I think I'm going to do it a little differently. I counted the number of sites/apps I use on a daily/weekly basis and it doesn't even add up to 12, why would I make random stuff that even I wouldn't use? I am interested in super competitive areas of things I use already though where there's a clear market and maybe just trying to carve out a niche for myself. So, for 2019, I'm going to keep shipping, but I'm going to only ship things I will use daily or at the very least weekly for a while because otherwise, what's the point? Here are some things that I would love to make in 2019:
- streaking 2.0 -> 250words, compete directly with 750words, private (or public) daily writing for web developers (dat niche though)
- an open source native ios and macos password manager for old grumpy programmers who hate the cloud and subscriptions
- an open source native macos git GUI to compete with all of the other ones
- 1 launched 🚀
- 5 completed not launched 😑
- 6 not completed/not even worth talking about 🙁