This post is different. It doesn't teach you some programming tricks, or how to run your LXC containers on K8S with a bi-directional gRpc service that stores data on blockchain storage!
It's just my experience about building an MVP in less than a 24 hours! 23 hours to be specific. All I can say is that the result was very different from what I expected.
It started with this tweet:
Yup, that's me committing in public to build an MVP in 24 hours.
But what was your motivation, you might ask?
I actually did this as a break from my product which I (now we) have been working on for almost three years. We're very close to our launch and yea it's too ready for the first launch! But that's OK! I wanted it to do what I really wanted it to do, and it couldn't be done faster than that. Trust me when you get to play with it in less than two weeks from the time I'm writing this post you'll see why.
I've been building the product for a while, and as many of other founders of startups, I'd watched so many videos from YC, YOUTUBE, etc., all about launching an MVP as soon as possible! So, I thought let's try what they all suggest and see the result.
So, at this point I'm convinced that I want to build an MVP, in less than a day. I actually doubt you can make anything sensible in less than that. Worth mentioning, I didn't spend every hour on the MVP by the way, but the point is that it was reasonably short period of time to build anything meaningful.
Now it's the time to decide what to build and how to do it. The fact is that I had thought about the general idea before but never had gone into the details. Just I know the startups at pre-seed stage are at their toughest point and building my main startup, utopiops.com, I had experienced first hand how does a founder feels like at this stage.
I had decided the platform should provide these core functionalities:
- Helping early stage startups to expose themselves to the public and find the audience for their product
- Attracting early adopters and people who are passionate about new technologies, services and trends
- Helping investors to introduce themselves to the startups and give them the data that helps them evaluate a startup
Ultimately I decided to include these sections:
This section of the platform belongs to the startups that are in their public beta phase. These are the startups that have implemented the very core functionality of their products and now want to make it available to the larger audience, most likely for the first time.
This is usually the most serious and real validation of the idea and the founders at this point are not yet convinced if the idea is going to be a success or not. A main challenge the startups face at this point is lack of users which gets worse as the founders don't know whether to attribute this lack of early adopters to the demand of lack thereof in general or to something else.
In this part of the platform we shape an ecosystem where not only startups can introduce their products, but also regular users can find the products that can solve their problems before anyone else and/or by getting exclusive offers, support, or any other extra benefits stay ahead of the competition.
This section is dedicated to the startups who have a product that is ready to be used in production, i.e., the end users can reliably use the product. At this point the functionalities might not be at their greatest shape and form but they are truely ready.
The main goal of the founders at this point is to generate leads and ultimately paid customers and this can happen through users who directly sign up to the product or the ones who spread the word.
Having paid users can be the end goal for some startups, while for the majority it is a means to convince investors to invest in their startups.
Investment is always risky, no matter how experienced or wealthy you are. Therefore, finding the opportunities that can maximise the return on your investment is the main target for the investors.
However, the risks and rewards are inversely related meaning the earlier you invest in a startup, where it's the riskiest time, can lead to the maximum reward. Things get better when you also take the fact that the startups are sold at their cheapest price into account.
Giving exclusive analytical data to the investors can help them decide where to invest and potentially even reach out to the founders to discuss their terms and initial interest for investment in the products.
Also, the historical data can help the investors to assess the opportunities.
Well, this part is pretty obvious. All the parties involved, from the founders and investors to the users, they all want to hear about the stories of the startups, new trends and achievements, investments.
This attracts the users irrespective of their role to the platform and acts as the marketing hand of the platform too.
After deciding what to include in the MVP, even if it's just filled with mock data, I had to decide on the technology stack. I was already familiar with React.js and I knew that SEO is pretty important for such a platform, so I just went with Gatsby for the front-end. For the back-end part I know that I can keep the cost at bare minimum with serverless architecture. I also didn't want to spend more than 5 minute on the whole end to end CI/CD and hosting so for me the obvious choice was Utopiops. I hosted the whole stack on Utopiops and with a push command I had the updated version of the whole platform.
By the way, I had to design a logo so I used Canva and particularly their free plan which helped me design my logo in around 40 minutes.
Here again I decided to be a good boy and listen to whatever I had heard from the experienced advisors in the filed such as the guys in YC. The two main pieces of advise I listened to were:
- Charge from the day 1 (free during the MVP)
- Simple and clear pricing plans from the day 1
Obviously the first part is gonna start as soon as the MVP phase is passed and I release the actual product which will happen in less than a month. Let's not forget that I have a big product coming to the market pretty soon and I won't have the luxury of time to work dedicated on this.
Yes, result! I'm talking about the results already. I had to admit right after finishing the MVP and sending a tweet about it I had a great feeling of relief and achievement. I know I had the skills to do the implementations and I chose a platform that simplified the hosting and deployment significantly but still I had never achieved anything meaningful in my life in such a short period of time before. I also had some mixed feelings and was asking myself could I just pick something simpler to build instead of Utopiops that took me around three years from ideation to the complete product?
The answer is that I love Utopiops and I think it's gonna be a game changer that will help many companies to lower their DevOps costs significantly and enjoy a full-fledged software development platform that can increase their productivity and there was no other way to do this in a shorter period of time.
However, I'm enjoying every minute of building PreSeedHere as I know how difficult is to be an early stage startup founder where you suddenly feel you're the loneliest person on the planet while you have a brilliant idea/product that people will love if they get to know about it.
Also I'm happy to say that unbelievably I've already got few subscribers! This is the part that I never expected to happen to be honest. After all how could something being built in a day attract users? However, it seems that my first-hand experience had put me in a unique situation that helped me understand the pain points of a large group of people very well.
If you're an indie hacker, solo founder, small startup, a any number of founders trying to build a product, or provide a service I suggest you to make sure you visit https://www.preseedhere.com and subscribe to get a unique opportunity to get early access for free while it's still available and if you're reading this at the time that free access is no longer available, hopefully there is a lot you can achieve becoming part of the PreSeedHere community.
By the way it's open-source, so if you need to see a feature on YOUR platform feel free to submit a PR!