People working with computers and paper to process survey results

Build In Public — Update 1: The 21-day Challenge

I’ve spent the majority of my career building technology solutions, particularly web-based applications. Nearly every build I’ve ever done has involved careful estimation of how long a project will take to build and test properly. Entire management processes (e.g., Scrum) are built around how to properly determine and manage launch schedules.

But those careful estimation processes are almost always entirely wrong.

So yesterday I announced on Twitter that I’d be launching Blotter in 21 days. Sure, lots of folks participate in the build in public challenges where they launch in 30 days. But that sounded too easy 😅

Why 21 days?

My goal is to launch 6 businesses in 6 months, aiming to find at least one with a viable business model, user acquisition flow, and defensible unique value proposition. If I have one month to launch the business, I figured having the tech stack running in 21 days would leave me with a little over a week to run additional tests, get feedback, and plan out any longer-term marketing strategy.

Plus a good deadline is a tight deadline.

Am I starting from scratch?

Can you build a new product entirely from scratch in 21 days? That depends entirely on the project! My goal with Blotter is to launch something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It won’t do all of the things I can image Blotter eventually being capable of.

But it will be an actual service that (hopefully) provides value to people. It will accept credit cards and have automated account set up. It won’t be embarassing, because while it will be minimal in terms of feature set, it will be beautiful and useable and helpful.

What is Blotter?

Blotter might end up being a number of things. The core concept here is that there are a lot of folks who blog and Tweet. I believe that there is a strong connection between the two forms of communication, and that there is a lot of value to be unlocked by connecting them together. So Blotter is an opportunity to explore that space and see if my hunch is a good one.

For this first version, the focus will on a blog commenting system powered by Twitter. Each comment is a Tweet reply to a primary Tweet published by the blog author. I’ve seen a few folks using a one-off setup with Twitter as a blog comment system, so Blotter will be a more polished version of that.

Is this idea validated?

Not as much as I’d like (no pre-sales), but more than most projects I’ve built (which isn’t saying much).

I’ve received a number of interested inquiries from folks on Twitter. I’ve seen a number of "big" accounts on Twitter who have blogs with lackluster blog comment engines.

Do I wish I had pre-sales? Absolutely. Do I think it’s worth spending three weeks to test this system out? Absolutely.

Wrap up

I’ll be posting more updates here on the blog and on Twitter. Interested in keeping informed? You can get on the email list below or follow me on Twitter to hear all the latest.

Have questions about Blotter? DM me on Twitter or shoot me an email!

Thanks for reading!

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