Almost every day I walk down to a local Mexican restaurant and spend at least an hour there. The same restaurant. Every day. I may have mentioned this before. If there is anyone who needs out of a rut, it’s me. That fact gave me an idea for a new side project, which I started work on in early December, six weeks ago.
It’s called unrut and I think it’s a good example of a version one product. I included only basic functionality–there’s a lot of room for improvement. But instead of spinning my wheels as I attempted to finish a marathon list of features, I kept things simple. Users can search for places and then mark them as visited. What remains is a nice little organized list of places to try.
Using only cookies, the site remembers what you’ve marked as visited. So, if a place comes up in a subsequent search, you won’t have to mark it visited again. Would it make more sense to include user accounts, so that the site would work no matter what computer you are on? Yes. However, I trimmed this from the feature list for two reasons:
- It is not a necessary feature in order to get feedback from people on the concept
- Every site should let you sample, registration optional, so the cookie functionality will remain even after I include user accounts
And how about incorporating location-sharing sites to automatically determine where you’ve been? Yep, that’s a good idea. But creating a first version is about pointing your ship in the right direction, not necessarily sailing it all the way to your destination. Use the two simplicity paths to figure out the core and just launch that. You can always add stuff later.
Since posting a message about it on my Twitter feed this morning, I received good feedback. Some people asked for the things I already knew I needed. Others have said things that didn’t occur to me. That’s the power of getting a side project out there.
We all have side projects and I’ve written about many of mine on this site. I’d love to hear about your side project. And if you want help getting it done in six weeks, let me coach you.