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How to come up with the idea of Just 1 Thing application

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Indeed3 months ago

As I watch [Masterclass] How To Build And Grow Tech Products To 500k+ Users For Free, I see the slide where it mentioned MVP and just 1 Thing. And also, in the slide, the example of the app is Random Name Picker - Raffles, Decision and Groups. I have couple questions about this.

  1. To come up with the idea of Just 1 Thing application, I believe most of the ideas are already executed before. Is that something I do have to afraid of or not? When I search on app store now, I see similar apps to Random Name Picker. And I'm afraid for how we grow the number of users as most of users choose to use something existing with top rated.
  2. If we take number 1 question as a factor (most of users choose to use something existing), how to come up with the idea about something that someone has not executed before?

I want to build on side projects by myself but to come up with something specific with quality. I'm thinking about to do system design doc (define specific requirement, breaking the big task to small task (make it granular, etc)). Try to make a plan before make any execution.

Please let me know if this plan works for me or not. I want to execute on how I can serve something to users that we all think it's useful.



  • 2
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    Engineer @ Robinhood
    3 months ago
    1. Execution matters more than the idea itself: even if you pick an existing idea, people will still download it if there's a clear benefit to existing solutions.
    2. Off the top of my head: try building apps for a niche community (a hobby, an online community, etc.)

    I wouldn't treat a side project like working in a larger company: the focus should be on the execution of the idea not the archicture. Users in the end see the product and not the effort and process that went into it. Focus on getting clarity on the idea, figuring out the minimum set of features needed to use it, and then build it as quickly as you can. If you treat this how you would approach work, you'll likely end up stuck in the forest of ambiguity and ship nothing (either from eventually get bored/burned out at the fact that you're effectively working an unpaid job and you don't even get paid for wasted time).

  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    3 months ago

    If you're just getting started, I would not do a system design doc for your side project. Just write the most horrible code imaginable to build your app and publish it. Once you do that once or twice, then you'll have something worthwhile to put in a system design.

    On the topic of finding something, I left some thoughts on this question which I'll repeat here. Here's an algorithm for how to find an app which should be able to get downloads:

    1. Take an existing app with 10K+ downloads
    2. Remove some features
    3. Remove all ads

    Some other fantastic discussions related to this: