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On finally launching something

damcosset profile image Damien Cosset Updated on ・3 min read

Introduction

My last article was about how I struggled with a particular problem. Turns out this problem was part of an application I was trying to make. Oh, nothing fancy, nothing that will change the way we do business, or live our lives, but it's my thing.

Simply put, it's an invoice generator. You fill out some forms, get to see a preview of your invoice, and it generates a PDF for you. See? Pretty cute. You can find it here.

Side-projects graveyard

I started a lot of projects on my computer/github. How many of them did I finish? None :D There are always proper excuses to not finish a side-project. Not enough time, the excitement fades away, you don't need it anymore...

After solving the PDF issue, I actually didn't work on this for a couple of days. I was happy I solved a difficult problem, and just moved on... The project, like dozens of others before, was doomed to end up with its own grave on my github, and a inactive folder on my computer. A folder I could glance at from time to time and think: Oh yeah, I remember trying to do that.... But, after months of procrastination, planning, wishful thinking... it's finally live.

So, what changed this time?

Who cares about perfection?

First, I had already bought the domain name and the server to host my application. So, I was committed. Not a huge commitment of course, but still, I spent some money on this!

Second, I changed my mindset about this product. I have quite a few ideas about how to make this better ( obviously, I mean look at the state of it... ). There are a lot of functionalities I wish to implement. But, there is one simple rule... The longer it takes to build something, the less likely it will reach production status.

So, I asked myself a very simple question:

What is the one functionality that you can't take away from this?

Answer: Generate an invoice as a PDF

In the amazing book Rework, from DHH and Jason Fried, you'll find a lot of great tips about that kind of things.

Build half a product, not a half-assed product

When is it safe to let people have it? Probably a lot sooner than you're confortable with. Once your product does what it needs to do, get it out there. Just because you've still got a list of things to do doesn't mean it's not done.

The way you build momentum is by getting something done and then moving on to the next thing. No one like to be stuck on an endless project with no finish line in sight.

Endless projects, No finish line in sight. That sounds a lot like all my previous attempts at launching a side-project. Getting my project to one inescapable functionality gave me an attainable goal. So, that version is done. Now, I can move on and improve it, and/or add new functionalities. One at the time, step by step.

All the way

After 3 years as a developer, I actually never had the chance to take care of the sysadmin part. I write code, but I never managed a server, configure the DNS, and understand what is actually going on. Sure, it's not really my job, but I didn't like having such a huge gap in this area. Launching a product meant I finally had to take care of it. Even if I only took care of the basics, it feels good to explore this.

Conclusion

Anyway, Invoice Maker is now live. It's mine, and even if it is not really pretty and it doesn't do all the things I want it to do, I'm proud if it. I'm proud because I battled my own indiscipline, my own fears and insecurities. I hope I'll remember a few things from this experience:

  • Launch now!
  • Scratch your own itch
  • Commit yourself in some way
  • Perfection is a myth
  • One good functionality is better than a dozen if the product is never launched

Happy Coding <3

Discussion

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eekayonline profile image
Edwin Klesman

So relatable. My credo is:

Code Hard, Ship Harder

And this is exactly what you've applied. No more procrastination but releasing. It just feels soooo good to have finished the "idea > create > publish > validate" creation cycle, doesn't it?

Onward with validating the idea and making it shine :)

Congrats on you shipping! 🔥🚀👌🏻

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damcosset profile image
Damien Cosset Author

Hell yeah! Finishing the cycle is a great self-confidence boost :D

Thank you very much!

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chrislutz profile image
Christian Lutz

Awesome article!

Everything you code without publishing it to the world is wasted time.
You may learn something while you code your secret little project, but no one will ever be able to use it.

It's like running a company, no one knows about besides you.

Keep up the good work. ;)

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jamiekaren profile image
Jamie Ferrugiaro

This is great! Congrats :) Just a note...I tried this out and the Download as PDF was not working? I'm guessing it might have something to do with being at work and our firewall? Just a hunch...

Attached a screenshot. Not that you can tell much. But nothing happens when I click on the button. Seriously not to rain on your parade, here! I thought you might just want to know.

As someone transitioning from A/R to web dev I found this a neat project!

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damcosset profile image
Damien Cosset Author

No worries! Thank you for reporting it ;)

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jamiekaren profile image
Jamie Ferrugiaro

Other than that it was great! Maybe you could create a completely new system for our ancient software system for us??? OKTHANKSBYE. ;)

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damcosset profile image
Damien Cosset Author

I will note that on my to-do list ;)

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damcosset profile image
Damien Cosset Author

I may have solved it. There was a stupid bug I think I fixed. Fingers crossed.

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dusan100janovic profile image
Dušan

You are totally right. I am currently in that situation, you described (having a ton of ideas, trying to reach 100% code coverage, creating more and more tasks every day... In other words, striving to perfection). Seeing more and more now, that it is to much work for a side project.
This article will have effect on me for sure. Because of that, thank you :)

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Damien Cosset Author

Glad it helped ;) We all have limited free-time and willpower. Small and frequent wins are so important on side-projects. Good luck!

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sbodi10 profile image
Sapan Bodiwala

You hit it on the nail. I've run into the same issue over and over again having an idea, then starting it, but then abandoning it, always feeling like I need to do more. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation to keep grinding!

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Damien Cosset Author

Glad it helped. Good luck!

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Benedict Nkeonye

Great article!

I could relate to a few things you said. Thank you for this wonderful article. I'm definitely inspired!

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Damien Cosset Author

I'm glad it inspired you :) Best of luck!

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Benedict Nkeonye

Thank you. Best of luck to you too!

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darksmile92 profile image
Robin Kretzschmar

Great you finished and launched it!

I had exactly the same evolution :D

If it does not have all the features you want it to have right now, the launch is the right way to have some motivation to enhance it.

I think when it is live, you always hear a little voice in your head "someone on the world is looking at it and wondering, when feature XY might be added" or "someone looks at it and thinks what the hell this crap is" and this motivates at least me to keep working on something :)

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Florian Rand

Nice job and congrats! I don't want to be "that guy", but would be cool if you remove the react icon before launch :). All in all good luck with launch!

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damcosset profile image
Damien Cosset Author

Haha, thank you. Yeah, there are absolutely some obvious things I should modify!

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flrnd profile image
Florian Rand

I think you are not the first one forgetting about the favicon thing (I myself always forget about it).

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Marco Nicolodi

Gratz man im happy for you

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bradzo profile image
bradzo

Thank you Damien - this was a great read!

I've been struggling with this too, so thanks for the heads up, and the kick up the bum. :)

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Damien Cosset Author

Just launch my friend :D

Thank you for the kind words and good luck ;)

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fatimatariq25 profile image
Fatima Tariq

Great article! This is something great I read today. Bookmarked! Thanks for sharing it with the community.

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penguintheorem profile image
Attilio Urbani

Reading your article unlock my mind to do the same with my side project. Hope I'll write something about it next weeks. Thanks a lot :)) and good luck for next releases !

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Anderson. J

Congrats! Keep iterating!