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I’m Shipping 12 Startups in 12 Months 🚀

swlkr profile image Sean Walker ・2 min read

Once upon a time in 2014, a guy who I am wholesale stealing from came up with an idea to launch one side project per month to get better at finishing his projects. He was inspired by someone else, so pass the torch, I’m about to do the same thing. I don’t really have a problem learning new things, I already know how to make web apps. My problem is finishing. I usually get distracted or run out of steam before I get around to launching something. That’s about to change.

It’s the marketing stupid

Having a bunch of code sitting around on my computer is actually losing me money because no one knows about my project. So most of my time each month will be spent on marketing and just generally getting the word out. To the right people hopefully. Of course I’ll post it to the usual channels, subreddits, hacker news, indie hackers, and product hunt. I’m also going to attempt to get press attention by sending some carefully crafted emails to journalists who care about the project I’m building.

The less code the better

The more time I spend crafting the perfect code is time wasted. No one cares about perfect code, they don’t care if I use spaces or tabs. They don’t even care if I write all of the code in one big file. They certainly don’t care what language I use or if I write each project in assembly or machine code. In fact it’s better to write less code and get a project shipped quickly to get feedback and to see if anyone even cares, thank goodness there’s a hard limit of a month, otherwise I might slip into old bad habits and keep writing code.

Keep moving forward

I like a monthly release schedule because it helps to put things in perspective. My latest side project is just that, a side project with zero traction. In order to find out what people want, I can’t just ask, that’s not how it works. Showing people something, getting a tepid response and then moving on to the next thing is much, much better to do monthly than to wait years until launching something. I’m increasing my luck surface area by rolling the dice 🎲 12 times a year.

I’ll also be blogging and tweeting about my progress every day. The first project for the month of January is outsidelist, a list of the most inspiring, natural places. So let me know what you think, and sign up to get notified when it ships. It’s going to be a wild and crazy ride. Strap in.

Originally posted on medium

Discussion (5)

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jjsantos profile image
Juan De los santos

Great post!

Currently I'm trying to follow the same method to deliver my projects. In the past I have worked in some projects, but that toke me a lot of time to get that "done" because I was always trying to make the "perfect" code and I spend a lot of my time just re-writing components, but a the end of the day that was not validated by the users and as you said, they don't care about how your code looks like...

Now I understand how important is to create a MVP to see the behavior of the market and then release monthly changes according to that, is the best way to create a great product that the people will love to use.

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brianbola profile image
Brian McNabola

Wow very ambitious.
Do you have a specific framework you'll use all the time or choose based on the project?
Will you use a ci/cd pipeline to test and deploy ?

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swlkr profile image
Sean Walker Author

I do have a specific framework, I wrote my own in clojure so kind of a weird decision, but it's what makes me happy.

I won't have a ci/cd pipeline and I definitely won't be writing tests. It took me so long to shake my software engineering thoughts of robust code to get to this point of being able to just ship stuff and worry about scaling later. It's kind of freeing once you think, oh wait, I don't have any users or any traffic or anything. I can just put stuff on a page that looks halfway decent and go from there.

I will say though that I'm not just writing any old garbage, the stuff still works, but I'm more focused on the marketing/sales side for once in my life than the code side. I do still make some concessions though, like I have a git hook on my server so I can just push, don't really want to be FTPing haha.

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brianbola profile image
Brian McNabola

Any update on how this went be interested to know pain points, blockers if you got 5 products currently on the go?

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swlkr profile image
Sean Walker Author

Yeah it went… ok, it was definitely harder for me to ship one "startup" a month due to the full time job and I also kind of took a road trip up the west coast of the US 🇺🇸 for 3 months. I did manage to do these things though:

outsidelist.carrd.co
outsidelist.com
hollabackapp.com
chipperapp.com <— this one isn't finished :(
allyourppl.com <— neither is this one
shippp.app
outsidelist.com v2 <— currently working on this one, will finally launch on PH in a few days