After selling my main business in 2015 I decided to take 3 months off and do things that I enjoy without having monetary expectations.
The first thing that I tried was coding and I absolutely fell in love with it, I’ve been coding almost every single day since then. The problem was when I reached the 90% mark of a project, I would lose interest or for some weird type of fear I would never launch. It happened to me with several projects in the past 2 years, I invested up to 3 months on every single project but never shipped. I knew this was really bad and I had to start shipping, but my excuse at the time was that I was still learning how to code so I convinced myself not to ship.
This year I knew I had to start shipping things I coded no matter how ugly or buggy they were so I started a challenge.
2017 Challenge: Ship as many side projects even if aren’t 100% ready
Today I want to talk about a new side project that I designed, coded and launched the same day.
I saw on twitter that product hunt released a how to launch guide, so I wanted to start something the same day and put the guide to test.
There is a lot of noise surrounding the crypto currency/bitcoin industry right now, every time I talk to friends that know I work online, they joke about how we didn’t invest $100-$1000 in bitcoin back in 2010, we would have become millionaires by now.
I decided to create a little parody app that will show people how much they missed on by not investing in Bitcoin.
I knew it wasn’t a revolutionary idea, but the objective here wasn’t to create something innovative or to “change the world”, the goal was to launch something the same day and put product hunt’s guid to test.
Building and shipping the side project in 6 hours
Usually my design process starts by checking out Dribble, Pixels by Klart or CodePen for inspiration. In this case I remembered an app called Will Robots Take My Job that was launched by Mubs on PH, it had a great looking design and the functionality was somewhat similar to what I was trying to achieve (people select data and it prints out a result). I went ahead and created a design inspired by Mubs’s version, I ended up working 1 hour on the design and it turned out functional enough to ship, which was the main goal.
I decided to built this as simple and as cheap as possible so I ended up using css, html and js, no frameworks and no server side code. Its a static html site so its easy to deploy or update if needed
To get the historical bitcoin price data, I used the free CoinDesk api.
Ready to launch!
I was ready to submit What If Bitcoin to product hunt but it was only 10 PM in San Francisco, so I had 2 more hours before the PH feed resets and I can submit my app.
I had 2 hours to burn, so I went back to twitter (obviously) and suddenly I came across a a tweet storm from @levelsio about why airports suck 😂 .. it reminded me that he just wrote a huge post about launching Hoodmaps so I decided to re read it.
He mentioned about getting good results on Reddit, I went ahead and posted WhatIfBitcoin.com in the Bitcoin Subreddit. To my surpirse people started upvoting and commenting right away and it went to the first page of the subreddit within a few minutes, which resulted in 50–100 concurrent users and about 10k pageviews by midnight, when I was ready to submit to Product Hunt.
Submitted to Product Hunt:
I almost fell asleep but it was finally midnight in San Francisco (1 am in Costa Rica), I hit the post button on PH following the tactics they shared on their great articIe, immediately received their tweet that What If Bitcoin was Hunted and I went to sleep.
Mentioned by Life Hacker and final results.
During the 24 hours launch I was top 10 in /r/cryptocurrency and /r/bitcoin and I also was top 10 (ended up #7 for the day) on product hunt. During the day I started to notice a lot of traffic was coming from LifeHacker.com so it was a nice surprise to find out that What If Bitcoin was featured there .
Overall I got 55k pageviews within 24 hours and I got great feedback from the Bitcoin community and twitter. I achieved my goal of shipping something the same day.
By following product hunt’s guide, to my surprise I got great results and many 180 upvotes. I ended up #8 for the day which was much better than I expected. I knew my product was of low quality and will be competing with real and polished products, so I actually thought WhatIfBitcoin would disappear from the main feed right away.
I open sourced What If Bitcoin and can be found here, I will be launching bigger and better products (hopefully) in the coming weeks so feel free to follow me on twitter @surfcoderepeat or my blog surfcoderepeat.com
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