My First Web App, Part 3: Appsessed

Read: My First Web App, Part 1: The Origin Story
Read: My First Web App, Part 2: I Was A Weird Kid

 

As we saw in Part 1, one day I made a little tool to help me do tasks I was procrastinating on that I didn’t want to do.

In Part 2, we saw that I am a Creator type person and I had tried to make other products for people before. I had never launched any.

What changed? What made me KNOW that I was going to finish THIS one and actually put it out into the world? How did I get appsessed?

People.

More specifically, I started showing it to some of them. I brought my laptop to my café hangouts with friends. I cornered people I knew and didn’t know at a tech conference. I called up folks back home on Skype. My process was I wouldn’t tell them anything about it, just ask them to spend 10 minutes to take a look, tell me what they thought it was, and give it a try.

This was such a vast difference from the couple of products I had user tested before.

Many people lit up when they used it. Most said it would be really great if I only changed this or that.

And so I started a process of appsessively testing, revising, testing, revising. I showed it to so many people.

By the last round it had achieved perfection. So I thought. Every single person had sparkle eyes for it, gushed over their favourite part, and asked when it would be ready.

This was the Fall of 2016. I thought it was ready.

Until …..the last person to test it……

 

To be continued…

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My First Web App, Part 2: I Was A Weird Kid

Image: Eight year old me (sitting) and my cousin when she was nine (standing). I believe this was a skit with songs that we inflicted on our parents.


 

Read: My First Web App, Part 1: The Origin Story

 

I’m a Creator. I love making things. Both as a kid and as an adult I’ve made poems, songs, skits, simple video games, and plans for how-to books. (I was a weird kid.)

As an adult add to that: unique performance art shows, new workshops, and businesses no one else has done before. (I’m an eccentric adult.)

 

I had tried making digital products before.

I have a little wasteland on my computer — no, a little… Dreamland! — of half-concocted ideas, courses, apps, and systems that I fully intended to make public some day. I even got as far as user testing a couple of them. (They failed said testing.)

In the Spring/Summer of 2016 I had about 5 ideas on the go that I was sure that, as soon as I did some market research, I would know which ones to finish. I didn’t know how to do market research though so I kept putting it off.

 

And then on July 14th, 2016, on that adorable, rickety, old Montreal apartment’s balcony with the plants, this web app concept happened. Read the first origin story. It didn’t matter to me that I hadn’t researched it. It didn’t matter to me that I hadn’t user tested it. It didn’t even matter to me if people wanted it. At that moment, I knew it had to happen. I needed it. I had a feeling in my heart that other people out there wanted and needed it too.

I began working on it obsessively for the next few months. It’s a simple little tool but it has a lot of details — user-wise and coding-wise.

What clinched the deal for me? What made me KNOW that I was going to finish this one and actually put it out into the world for real? How did the idea get validated and the obsession to complete it get lighted?

 

Read: My First Web App, Part 3: Appsessed

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My First Web App, Part 1: The Origin Story

Image: Jill Binder on the rickety balcony in Montreal with the plants and the view of the brick buildings, July 2016


 

On July 14th, 2016, I was being pretty hard on myself.

Normally a Vancouverite, I was sitting in my July-in-Montreal sublet adventure—on the rickety balcony with the plants and the view of the brick buildings—and I was staring at my screen.

I had a website coding deadline for a client.

I didn’t want to do it.

That’s not right. I wanted to do it, but I just… couldn’t. All I had in me that day was staring, not doing.

“Well this is silly,” I told myself. “I’m a productivity nerd. I’ve lectured friends about productivity a thousand times. I know how to do this. In fact, I could write out the steps to do this and then follow those steps.” (I love lists and steps.)

Before I knew it, I had written out an (unpublished) blog post.

Was I then ready to do the thing? No, I had more procrastination left in me. “It would be better if I had a web page that walked me through doing these steps, carrying the info forward to each step, giving me a timer, etc. Then I will be able to focus on my work easily.” (I have excellent procrastination logic.)

For the rest of the day, I brushed up on my Javascript skills and I made one page that made going through my steps a breeze.

At the time I pointed to someone else’s online countdown timer that I could change from my page. I set it for 25 minutes, a standard Pomodoro sprint. I still just couldn’t. The thought of even the “doing nothing” step (more on that another time) was too much.

I told myself, “Ok, 10 minutes or bust.” I changed the timer to 10 minutes and you know what? I finished my original task in that 10 minutes.

 

Read: My First Web App, Part 2: I Was A Weird Kid

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