Posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 under Apps
You can view spots.io here.
I’ve always had the ambition to ship a product in one week. After reading up and getting tonnes of advice on shipping products, the best advice I’ve received thus far is “Ship early and ship often”.
You can always reiterate on the product and make all of the gorgeous tweaks you wanted to down the line. Your main goal should be to get something built and live as early as possible.
Doesn’t this equate to bad work?
No. Far to often we plan an idea open up photoshop and spend to much time tweaking how a gradient or border looks. You should be focusing on getting the fundamentals of the product built. The meat.
Once you have the foundations of the product created, you can start to show the world something. The longer you spend in photoshop or tweaking details before you go live, the longer people have to wait.
All products are not good products. We think up of ideas very quickly now. It’s easy to build a web application. The Internet is vast knowledge base to help get you started which means there are tonnes of web apps being built on a daily basis. Only a few are adopted.
You can start to see very quickly what the adoption rate of your product is the sooner you have a fundamentally fully working product to show people. Ship early and ship often.
I love Instagram and what those guys are doing. A small team and an amazing service.
In order to build the product in a week, some constraints needed to be applied.
- No more than 2 hours per day would be spent on the product. Just 14 hours total.
- The vast majority was to be spent on coding with a minimal design approach.
Foursquare obviously allowed you to search easily and returned the list of Foursquare IDs which I could then pass over to Instagram. The problem here however was that Foursqaure only allowed you to search based on geo-coordinates and a location name.
Working back another step to gather the co-ords, I used Google Maps API to gather the co-ords and presto! I had everything I needed.
The biggest challenge was to determine if a foursquare location had Instagram photos attached to it. If a search returned 20 locations from foursquare, 20 queries would need to be made to the Instagram API to determine if photos existed. If each query took 3 seconds, you’re looking at a minute to display the results.
This would deter users so a solution was needed. Threaded API calls.
For every search, a batch of simultaneous API calls were sent to Instagram returning the results in a few seconds. Perfect.
Here’s a gist to show you how it was built:
The project was an amazing experiencing and gave great insight into how you can really build a product quickly if you focus on the fundamentals. Allowing you to get the product to the people and see what the response is like.
I would urge others to do the same and challenge yourself as much as possible. You can view the project here.