Build in Public: GoKiddo [Part 7]

Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.

Build in Public: GoKiddo [Part 7]
Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

Welcome back to my GoKiddo build in public journey. If you missed Part 6, you can check it out here.

It's been a while since I have posted

More than a month has passed since the last time I wrote about GoKiddo. It's not that I have not been busy building, I have actually been working extremely hard to get it done.

But anyone who has ever built something similar will tell you, there comes a time when you spend most of your time on "backend" things that the user will never even know of, but they are extremely important.

This includes things like:

  • Password reset flows
  • Making payments smooth
  • Infinite scrolling (that effect you see on Instagram where the posts just keep on loading and you never have to click "next page")
  • Image resizing
  • Page load times
  • Data security

Most of the items mentioned above "just work" when you use an app, but somewhere there is a developer who spent painstaking hours getting it just right.

Bringing an idea to fruition

There is a quote I like:

"Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference." - Nolan Bushnell

I have so many ideas, I lose track of them. Most of them suck, and some may not suck. But that's the point, everyone has ideas. But to tell you the truth, the idea is only 1% of any success. 99% is working months on end, moulding your idea into reality. Here's what you can expect:

You'll need to handle loads of criticism

Most people don't like criticism, myself included. News flash. If you are going to try and bring an idea to fruition, you have to get used to criticism from others and you also need to learn to be critical of your own output.

Each and every day, you need to ask yourself:

  • How will someone use my app?
  • How will they break it my app?
  • Will it feel natural to use this app?

When you spend months on end working on something, you become blind to obvious flaws, because you have conditioned yourself to use the app in a certain way which bypassed the potholes. But what will a user do the first time they open up your app? You guessed it. They will step right into that pothole and break their metaphorical leg.

Get other people to test your app

In order to avoid the scenario above, the best option is to get someone else to test your app for you.

Quick Disclaimer: most people are terrible at giving constructive criticism.

Quite frankly, most people just avoid giving criticism at all, because they are so bad at doing it constructively. So find people who are good at giving constructive criticism (if you can, they're rare) and have them use your app extensively.

Why is it so hard to listen to criticism?

I am a huge proponent of constructive criticism, but that doesn't mean I love hearing it. I think the reason is, I am inherently optimistic about what I am building, and it's difficult to hear that something might be wrong with it.

Often I have spent weeks on a feature, which to the layman's eye might seem obvious, but to get it working right (or almost right) feels like a massive accomplishment to me. And then to hear criticism of it may be discouraging.

But like all things in life, practice makes perfect, so if you keep on exposing yourself to criticism, you get better at doing it.

My advice is:

  • Listen carefully
  • Take what is valuable from it
  • Ignore the user's frustration
  • Make it better

It will take longer than you expect

Humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take. We always overestimate how long someone else should take to do something, and we always underestimate how long it will take us to do it.

I have spent 5 months building GoKiddo thus far. I have been spending about 10-15 hours per month on it, while I am working on two other companies.

And I still have made ZERO money from it.

Many people will look at what I am doing and shake their heads in disbelief, and then go back to what they were doing. But I made a choice in life, to choose optimism.

When is the last time you spent a significant amount of time on an idea without any short-term rewards? Get out of the shower, dry yourself off and get to work.

It's better to be an optimist and be wrong sometimes, than being a pessimist and being wrong sometimes.

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