listifi.app is an app I built recently to solve the problem of sharing lists with friends and colleagues. I often found myself sharing the same lists over and over again. List apps are everywhere, but most of them focus on productivity. Listifi is a social list sharing site with the intention of making lists extremely simple to share with people.
In this article I’d like to talk about the overall reception of my launch, what I learned along the way, and what I plan to do next.
Overall, this has been one of the most successful app launches I built on my own. I posted to the following websites:
These posts drove most of my site traffic over the past few weeks.
- ~2k unique visitors
- 142 lists
- 185 guest users
- 13 registered users
A Sobering Experience
Overall, I feel proud to build a product that people are using. It feels amazing to build something and release it for the world to use. However, I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. I was really hoping for more engagement. I only managed to convert a handful of users from guests to registered users. The number of “useful” lists are very low and most of them were created by me or my direct friends.
I think my biggest learning experience from this was that I need to understand the problem and the customer better. While I had a lot of fun building this product and I did what I do best: write code, I made some key mistakes:
- I didn’t do any market research on the problem I was trying to solve
- I didn’t interview any potential customers to see if what I was building was useful
- I didn’t try to get users early to help me figure out what features mattered the most
- I didn’t fully understand the problem I was solving
- I didn’t fully realize that I was building a social networking app — which is really hard!
After spending some time on IndieHackers, I have realized how costly these mistakes can be.
Find a problem, not an idea
Early on I became enamored by the idea of a list sharing app, that I lost sight of the problem I was trying to solve.
I didn’t want to do the research, I just wanted to write code. There is a ton of hacker waste because of this trap software engineers fall into.
Hacker waste is when servers are spun up, resources spent on marketing, and labor is wasted building a product no one wants
It’s cliché but I believe we learn more from our mistakes than our victories, and I think I have grown from this experience.
Where do we go from here?
At this point, I’ve built the features I wanted to build. It’s a fully functional app that has some interesting features like staring lists, voting on list items, and allowing users to make suggestions to a list.
My plan is to continue to use listifi.app, to build lists and share them with others. I still find it very useful. I’m going to continue to market the product and try to get users engaged. However, I do not plan on adding anymore features until I can drive some real user engagement into the app.