Day 11: I’m so hipster, I pivoted BEFORE I dropped the MVP.

Status: Code for location data is partially up. Tabled work on the front-end and am sticking with vanilla WordPress, no customizations.


I’m tired as fuck. It’s 3AM and I know I have to (a) get up in four or five hours and (b) repeat this process tomorrow. At least I’m trying some pancakes at Rocco’s when I get up (which is an absolute godsend for crazy people like me. They’re up as late as I am, and they have food, tea and a grill. They don’t know they’re a startup incubator. Someone should tell them.)

So I spoke with Lauren from two days ago. She gave me some top-notch advice, but the real takeaway from that conversation was completely unexpected. Her advice was so simple, and, better yet, so easy compared to what I was doing, it left me a little dumbfounded when she dropped it on me. I thought of doing something similar to this, but she really made it make sense.

Why don’t I just use my technology…but as a blog?

(I guess that doesn’t really count as a pivot since my mission, concept and targetted audience haven’t changed, but it’s a pivot on my approach to building the MVP, which counts in my book.)

It’s perfect! Or at least it sounds like it is looking 30,000 feet down. I can use my ranking and scraping technology to automatically put posts on WordPress/Mailchimp and, using a well-crafted email, can capture the crowd-sourced data I’m looking to collect and metrics that might be able to help me steer conversations (and conversions) better?

It’s so fucking simple, but so fucking important. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier. I guess Eric Ries wasn’t kidding when he spoke of how easy it is to accidentally go full-scale right from the get.

After hearing that, I decided almost immediately to completely halt working on the web frontend and devote all of my time to making my backend MVP ready. According to my task list on Todoist, that should be ready in three weeks. The goals are so much more concrete too.

The results are already starting to manifest. I spent a few hours today writing up some scripts and doing some research around finding the locations I’m looking to target using various APIs from the Google Maps team and the static data released by the MTA. Google’s quota limits kind-of scare me, but if I’m careful about how I filter my results, I think I’ll be fine. Their APIs are really easy to use. I went from nothing to having a list of subway stops, coordinates, nearby businesses and even ratings (!) within four hours. I haven’t put them all together yet, but when I do, it’ll be great.

Speaking of online services, I finally decided to man up and get Google Apps for Work. It’s $10/month, which sucks because it isn’t free, but is a pretty damn good deal for what’s essentially an office in a box. I first thought of going Office 365, but (a) I still don’t trust Microsoft’s web services, (b) I can see that move screwing me long-term when I eventually migrate all of this onto Linux hosts and (c) Anna, who seems to be really eager about helping me, would probably enjoy much less than Gmail. Also, Google Apps has Android for Work, so keeping my work and personal data separate is really easy now.

I’m tired as fuck, but I feel amazing! Real fucking progress!

Day 11: I’m so hipster, I pivoted BEFORE I dropped the MVP.

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