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Remote Tools

Lessons from two of the most successful side projects!

bansalsuv profile image Suvansh Bansal Originally published at hackernoon.com ・3 min read

As a builder, you need inspiration to work on a side project that will not only help you learn and grow but also build an app that is useful to the wider community. But such ideas are hard to come by!

Generally, ideas for side projects fall under two categories -

  1. Time-consuming and hard to build
  2. Not useful to a wide audience

At Flexiple, we too were faced with a similar problem while ideating. That is when we read about Unsplash by Crew.co and Betalist by Openmargin which helped us in coming up with a product - Remote.tools that garnered amazing reviews.

I am sharing the learnings we gathered from these products and the journey of the builders.

Unsplash by Crew.co

Unsplash’s website on $19 Tumblr theme

What is Unsplash?

A website that makes it easy to acquire high quality stock photos.

What is the story behind this?

While creating the homepage of their website, they were unable to find a good quality stock image that was also affordable. So, they hired a photographer to click a few photos. SInce, they just needed one, the rest would likely be unused.

Recognising that even others must face the same problem, they created a simple website (using a $19 tumblr theme) and uploaded ten photos, with the promise of “10 new photos every 10 days”.

What is/was the impact?

It began generating 11 million unique visitors each month and became the main referral source for Crew. Dial forward a few years, Crew was sold to Dribble, as the founders decided to instead focus entirely on Unsplash!

Learnings

  • Leverage your existing resources when building a new product
  • Build cheaply and quickly

BetaList by Openmargin

Betalist’s website when it was first launched

What is BetaList?

A place to discover upcoming startups and get beta access to them.

What is the story behind this?

The founder, Marc Köhlbrugge, was finding it tough to get beta users to test his product, Openmargin. He figured getting published in TechCrunch would give him those users — clearly, easier said than done.

To achieve it though, he created a basic prototype (again on a Tumblr theme), that contained a list of a few Beta startups (including Openmargin). The sell: “Be the first to discover and get access to the latest internet startups”.

What is/was the impact?

The clincher in this case, though, was the mail(s) to TechCrunch. Marc’s bet worked out and TechCrunch published an article about BetaList. Even Forbes, went on to write an article about BetaList.

Of course, Openmargin got the beta users it needed. Interestingly, once again, the founder instead started pursuing his entrepreneurial passions through BetaList, given the immensely positive response to the product.

Learnings

  • Once again, build cheaply and quickly
  • Have a good plan to market your side project beforehand

In the next blog, I will be sharing the lesson we learnt while building Remote.Tools (https://remote.tools) and its impact.

Till then, do share your experiences while ideating or working on your side project with us.

If it is a remote-friendly product then we would be happy to include it in the second version of Remote.Tools too!


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Suvansh Bansal

@bansalsuv

Co-Founder at Flexiple. Building a remote-first company for devoted remote workers.

Remote Tools

Top tech products catering to the remote working community.

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