Working on what you love as a way of taking a break

I’ve been taking it easy for a while on the bootstrapped product front. Basically, since I decided to stop working on Joined-up Data, I’ve been through some ups and downs. It started with a bit of a down, thinking about another failure to add to the list and how I’m back to square one all over again. But the truth is, I’m not at square one because I’ve picked up a lot whilst working on it and that will stand me in good stead.

My freelancing work has been pretty full on during the normal working day but I’ve been doing a bit of side project coding when I’ve had chance. Not marketing or validating an idea actually has potential customers, just coding. Taking an idea and going straight to the code! This would clearly be a very bad idea if I was hoping to make some money from the side project, but it feels soooo good to just work on a problem thats all mine and write code towards solving it. Mostly though, I’ve been writing code to learn new stuff which also feels good.

I think it’s important to get back to what you love from time to time. Especially when you’re feeling a bit low or in between things and not sure what’s coming next. It’s certainly been great for me. New ideas for products (and remembering of old ideas) have been coming in like water from a firehose. I’m definitely getting better at discounting those that are unlikely to make money but there are a few that have been hanging around which I don’t think will make money but that I’m feeling compelled to do anyway. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on them but it’d be great to get them out of my system and enjoy some fun coding for a while too.

The 7-day product challenge

I’ve listened to Justin Jacksons Product People podcast for a while and I’ve also been listening to his latest podcast venture, Build & Launch. The basic premise is that he builds and launches a product in 7 days and the podcast gives updates on progress throughout the week. It’s fascinating listening and a lot of the things he experiences are very familiar (albeit somewhat condensed in time!).

So, inspired by this, I’ve been thinking about taking these ideas that I can’t let go of and aim to build and launch one of them in a week. I mentioned this on the podcast I co-host, Britstrapped, and Nick (my co-host) pushed me on the 7 day aspect – I ended up promising to deliver the first one on Thursday 2nd April!

I’m currently calling the first idea to implement App Assets. This is born from my work on a mobile app, Time Boxed. My aim with this app was to release a useful app but also learn about cross-platform mobile app development with Qt (my favourite framework!). It’s released on the iOS app store, the Windows Store (for Windows Phone and Windows 8) and I got it working on Android but not polished enough to release it on Google Play (life got in the way again, maybe I’ll finish it one day…). I found it quite a chore to manage all the different images that you need for each of the different stores. There are app icons of different sizes required for different stores, different resolutions for different devices and different images depending n the version of the OS. And that’s not mentioning launch images on iOS which need to be supplied in different sizes and orientations.

So, here’s the idea: a QtCreator plugin to help manage the various images required for each mobile platform.

It’s a fairly simple idea but I’m already worried about fitting in the work required in 7 days! If it goes well, I may even take each of these ideas that are rattling around in my head and launch each one in this way.

Wish me luck!

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