Why I'm launching and grading all of my work
Some of the best advice I ever received was to treat business ideas as experiments instead of companies. In theory, it's much easier to ditch an experiment that isn’t working than a startup that you’ve already labeled yourself CEO of after spending 10 hours finding the perfect domain name.
This strategy definitely helps. But four years into building my own bootstrapped internet businesses, I’ve fallen into the trap many founders can’t avoid: it’s just hard to kill your darlings. I've been lucky enough to have a few projects succeed, even one acquired, but for every site I've had featured on Product Hunt, there are four more that never saw the light of day. And each of those I spent far too much time on, primarily when I was in love with the software I built instead of focusing on the problem I was solving. So to find out when I should focus on growing a project or killing it off, I made this site to grade my projects for me.
While it won’t be perfect, having an algorithm run every 24 hours judging everything I make actually is pretty reassuring. Besides allowing me to build out my ideas in public and sharing the results, having a running list of your failed businesses is a great way to keep your ego in check (current list).
To hit my deadlines and rapidly test out ideas, I’ll also be modifying how I work, using a series of custom "launch starters" that speed up the MVP process. An updated list of the tools will be kept here, but my approach is pretty simple:
For each idea, build the minimum necessary test needed to validate the concept and generate revenue. Money is the ultimate test of whether you’re solving a problem, which is why it’s a focus of the grading system.
I've built out a series of supercharged boilerplates I'll use depending on the requirements of the MVP. You can get access to the same starters inside the community.
One of the most critical aspects of this site is sharing what I learn along the way. While posting revenue data is trendy in the indie maker movement, there are shortcomings in only focusing on those metrics. Tactical advice often wears out quickly and leads to unoriginal copies and half-baked concepts.
So in the results section of each post, I’ll try to share the strategies I use to digging into problems, discovering customer pain points, and solving them with software. And I'll also be sure to share when everything hits the fan and postmortems after an idea fails. Let’s go launch some things. 🚀