Back in January 2020 when COVID-19 wasn't part of our daily conversations, I challenged myself to build and launch 6 products in 6 months.
I made the classic mistake of committing to share updates and only sharing one before giving up.
The "building and launching" part was taking enough of my time and it made sense to prioritise that over sharing the updates.
Anyway, I'm sure you're eager to know how the challenge went.
In summary, it was kinda successful. Let's revisit the original "success criteria" I mentioned when starting this:
My hope is that in six months, I will have:
- launched six products
- had great conversations with interesting people
- learned about problem spaces I currently know nothing about
- found my way out of the creative rut I'm currently in
By the end of June I had built 4 products and launched 2 of them, so that's a fail.
The launches certainly led to great conversations with interesting people, so that one is a pass.
I did learn a bunch about some problem spaces I know nothing about too (WebRTC is super interesting).
Getting out of my creative rut... I'm not sure about that one.
Let me break down how things went with the 4 products:
This was a site for comparing podcast hosting options. The Product Hunt launch didn't end up getting featured, but a Reddit post got a good number of upvotes. This site still gets a tiny bit of traffic every day. I'm convinced it could become a decent lifestyle businesses for one person with a year or so of effort. For now, I'm happy keeping it ticking over with the possibility that I may revisit at some point.
This product was a disaster. I wanted to build something that could help with the climate crisis. I figured a simple tool that lets people offset their flights would be a good start. The problem is that when it came time to launch, COVID-19 had really started to hit and no one was flying anymore. I essentially built this, then decided not to launch.
This is when things became interesting. I was actually planning to build a different product in March, but found myself procrastinating. I came up with an idea for a product I could prototype in 2-3 days and decided to build it instead. Long story short, I launched Screenjar, which is a tool that lets you request screen recording videos from people by sending them a unique link.
This instantly got more interest than my other products on Twitter and did ok on Product Hunt (ended 10th for the day). It also led to some awesome conversations with founders I've been following for a while. It even has a couple of paying customers. At this point, I decided to double down on Screenjar and essentially suspend the challenge.
While working on some tech for Screenjar, I build Screencastly as a basic screen recording tool that I could experiment more freely with. I didn't really launch this and recently took it offline.
What's the situation now?
When Screenjar got noticeably more interest than other products I'd worked on, I decided it would be wise to double down on it and suspend the challenge. As the first paying customers used it in a customer support context, I spent a good chunk of time having conversations with people who work in customer support to learn more about their role, what motivates them, the challenges they face, etc.
I also spoke to founders who run similar companies to the ones that saw the value in Screenjar. While I learned a lot from those conversations, I haven't yet figured out how to grow Screenjar. I'm still working on Screenjar and looking for ways to grow it, but I've starting working on other products again (which won't be part of this challenge or any sort of challenge).
This challenge got me shipping again, helped me meet some awesome people, and was generally quite fun. If you're stumped for ideas, I do thing these types of challenges are a good way to explore various markets and ideas and build that shipping muscle.
Sept. 27, 2020