(for context, I’m doing a challenge where I have to get to 2k monthly recurring revenue by the end of the year – so far, $0 and 83 days left)

I’m stupid. I shouldn’t start working on a project without validating the idea.

That’s the typical Lean Startup advice, right? But then again, I’ve never successfully “validated” an idea. It sounds so logical and easy, but it’s really not.

In the past, I’ve tried Facebook ads (not enough data to make a good prediction), talking to people on the street (they just say whatever you want to hear), asking Reddit and Hackernews (nope).

Now I decided to just quickly code up a project and throw it online.

It’s an app to get inspired by other people when you’re stuck on Tinder. You don’t know what to reply to this beautiful girl? Ask some Internet strangers!

I’m fairly used to programming in Android so that’s how I did it. This won’t do well on Hackernews because they probably mostly use iPhones (and the idea itself is also not very attractive to them, not very technical, basically just a CRUD app).

Anyway, I took some notes on what the specs should be before I started. This is what I wrote down:

  • your post only stays online for a little while
  • completely anonymous
  • can be text/image
  • people respond with funny/witty responses when you’re stuck talking to a girl
  • nested replies

So far, so good.

Technically, this is roughly how I did it:

  • native Android with Android Studio
  • testing on an old OnePlus One phone
  • Heroku to deploy the backend
  • Git for versioning (both client and server side)
  • PHP (yeah I know)
  • Mysql micro instance on AWS RDS
  • AWS S3 to serve images
  • Modified preorder tree traversal for nested replies in the forums (only 3 levels deep at the moment but can go arbitrarily deep)
  • random UUIDs as user id to prevent double voting (because no user profiles)


Random thoughts in my head during the process:

  • Why the hell am I doing this, a Reddit or Facebook group would accomplish the same thing (but then again this can be said of 90% of new apps today)
  • Scared to release this monster into the wild, what if it sucks etc
  • Feature creep, I thought it was going to be finished in less than a day, ended up working on it for 2-3 days
  • Should I make it for iOS or for web so I can promote it on HN more easily? NO just fucking put it online, don’t waste time. Developing is the easy part.

Here are some images from the creation process:

OK, so what’s next?

  • Ask reddit’s Seduction community if they would use something like this
  • Tell r/entrepreneur I’m doing this challenge of getting to 2k MRR by the end of the year and see if they have any tips for me

And after that?

  • Learn how to program for web! Android/iOS is not cutting it anymore
  • Another 2 day app? Or more promotion for this one? I feel like I need to catch a wave or get on something big (like how Pieter Levels stumbled on the Nomadlist idea during his 12 startups in 12 months challenge)
  • Asking advice to people who have successful lifestyle businesses? Through Twitter/email

Yeah this is going to be harder than I thought.

Check out the app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.untristats.textgamefame

Yes I used the oldest trick in the book – I seeded the forums with fake content ¯\_(ツ)_/¯