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EXECUTION MVP Software Release

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by GregDott, May 8, 2018.

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  1. GregDott
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    GregDott Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    This is the next phase of my first progress thread here (EXECUTION - Killer Software Project)

    I have started releasing the software I have been building for the past 2 months today on forums related to its domain.

    At this point, I will wait for basic feedback (or lack thereof) and act accordingly. If very little comes from this approach, I will start with a bit of Facebook ads and see how that goes.

    Quite excited and nervous. Feeling like a 12 year old at a school disco asking girls to dance. Lel.

    All things going well, will have something useful to report in a week's time.
     
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    Hi Greg, nice to meet you.

    Looks like you want to continue the conversation here, so I'll put my comments from your original thread on your new one here.

    You're a talented writer who has a way with words. I understand that you might prefer to focus on other things right now. But I encourage you to respect your writing ability as a substantial arrow in your quiver.

    What is Miracle Morning?

    Eight Factors But Maybe There Should Be More Analysis
    Weighting Grid For Massive Immediate Action
    Just As Soon As I Crunch The Numbers (TM)

    is more elaborate then needed, I dare to imply ;-)

    Need + Entry together define the scope of the potential Demand, its floor and ceiling, so I think you can simplify this to a single summary number of Demand. Competition is a corollary of Need + Entry, not an independent variable, so you don't need to break it out separately.
    Time + Scale together define the scope of your potential Supply, which could be a second single summary number. Temporal Investment is a duplicate of the Time factor.

    Therefore you can have just as good results from a four-factor matrix:

    DEMAND - How much money is flowing to SOMEONE in this niche, whether or not I succeed?
    SUPPLY - If I succeed, how much of that money flow could rightfully come to me?
    ADVANTAGES relative to competition, WHY I might succeed: Can I put in more money? Be effective because of better knowledge and experience? Be physically closer to the buyers, and that matters?
    RISKS as to why I might not succeed - Could I lose CONTROL by any one rug pulled out from under me? Is this beyond what I could do? If I could pull it off, would it be worth it?

    "Hopefully I didn't overlook something absolutely crucial."
    Yep, this is it: the fact that some turns in the road aren't visible until you're already driving along the road. An issue I face too, also having a tech-geek background!

    Tech geek stuff:
    • Thanks for the heads up about Laravel. My background is mostly in ASP.Net with C#. It looks like this framework would help me be a lot more productive in PHP, if I wanted to get back to crunching server code.
    • AWS: Did you use the free tier or pay for it?
    • Is the CMS mission critical to delivering what clients pay you for? Or is it only for your own promotional and routine business material?
    • "I plan also to have created 2 skins for it." That's not Minimum Viable Product functionality, unless you already know "We won't buy it unless it looks pretty and cool and that's customizable" is a non-negotiable, mandatory, absolutely mission-critical demand of beta test users.
    Another forum user suggested a SaaS mastermind group here
    SaaS Mastermind Group - Striving to $100k/mo
    I replied to his post and sent him a direct message and haven't heard back.
    Would love to discuss all this further with you if you'd like!
     
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  3. GregDott
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    Hey, nice to meet you!

    Thanks for the input and encouragement. To be honest, I only really ever considered writing for the sake of communicating, but I will take your words to heart. Thanks!

    Yeah, I really like Laravel so far. Once you've got your head wrapped around how everything works, it's super quick to create things. There is also some really nice automated stuff for generating db tables, models and associated controllers.

    Regarding AWS, I started on the free tier, but created a number of databases (and forgot to delete the ones I wasn't using) and that caused charges of around $30 last month. A little annoying but it was my own fault. School fees. For the most part, my current usage (now that I got rid of those db's) falls within the free tier.

    Haha, yeah regarding the skins, definitely not MVP. I can be a little OCD trying to get everything perfect, but have had to reign that in considering the basic requirements for an MVP.

    Thanks for the info! Will check that out.

    I'm happy to keep the conversation going. To learn and give as much as I can.

    Cheers!
     
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    Your previous thread was interesting.

    Good luck on your journey!
     
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    I'd like to use the free tier for some demo sites, but I find their documentation a bit intimidating. Do you need to give them a credit card to get started? Can you have your site throttled back so you don't run into overage charges? It looks like free includes a full month of a small Linux instance and also a full month of a small Windows instance.
     
  6. GregDott
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    Sure, the documentation can be a bit frightening. I started my AWS learning with a Udemy course. I find it much quicker and easier to starting learning something new when it is explained by someone else.

    You do need to give credit card details to get started, but obviously charges won't accrue until you exceed one of the free tier limits. Unfortunately, you can not automate any sort of throttling (sneaky buggers), but you can create billing alarms (if billing is about to exceed $x you get an automated notification). Even before that, they are nice enough to send you notifications when you are nearing your free tier limits, so you can manually adjust things if that does become the case (before any billing even takes place).

    The free tier is available for 1 year of usage...

    There are a number of ways to set up a site on AWS depending on the type of site. I can help you determine the services you would need to use, based on your site requirements. It's pretty straightforward once you know what function each AWS component performs.
     
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    That's exactly what I was hoping for! Thank you for letting me know. This provides peace of mind for me to move ahead with it.

    For a start, I simply want to host web sites (each from a different domain name) using Wordpress with a basic caching plugin. These will initially be for demo purposes, so performance and scalability are not huge issues at the beginning. I already know the basics of how to install Wordpress and its prerequisites. I know I could pick an already set up image for that, but am thinking I might prefer to get a basic OS image and add one component at a time, so I fully understand exactly what's on the machine at each step.

    If you've found a good cheat summarizing the different AWS components, I'd like to see that.

    Thanks for your help, Greg!
     
  8. GregDott
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    Sure, no problem.

    Ok for Wordpress based (or any site with dynamic content) sites you will need to use the following services:
    • EC2 (Virtual machine instance)
    • RDS (Database service)
    • Route53 (DNS management)
    That's basically the services you would use. For the most part, everything should be straightforward. I think you can install cPanel on your EC2 instances. It's pretty easy to set up SSH as well though, which is what I use. You have to set everything like Apache and PHP up on your EC2 instances as well. You can probably get by on one EC2 instance if you're comfortable configuring your Apache server to route different domain requests to different folders.
    One difference with using AWS is that you wouldn't set up your database on your virtual server. You use RDS. You would then route all database requests (configured in your WP config file I think) to the URL they would give you for your db instance.

    You'll need to get a brief understanding of security groups as well to get everything working properly.

    A fair amount of googling will also be necessary, but hopefully that should get you started.
     
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    Thanks. It looked like I'll also need an S3 bucket to store the static info from the web site? Or does that only apply if you need scalability through using a CDN? I saw some articles on setting up SSH for remote desktop access to the EC2 instance. The rest, including assigning different domains to different folders in Apache, seems straightforward to me. It looks like RDS, plus the security groups to get the right stuff shown publicly or hidden privately, will be the steepest part of the learning curve for me.
     
  10. GregDott
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    RDS is pretty straightforward. I didn't have to look at any documentation or anything there. Just jumped in. There is also a radio button to select only RDS instances that fall into the free tier.

    Security Groups are a very broad topic it looks like. I understand just enough to get what I need done, which is very little, so if you keep it to what you need you should be up and running pretty quick.

    You can store your site's static stuff in S3 if there is a huge amount of data. Otherwise, you get something like 8GB SSD storage with a free tier EC2 instance... so it all depends.
     
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    Update for the week:

    Posting on forums and FB groups etc yielded 0 fruit.

    I decided to stop being Shylock today and ran some FB ads. Never done anything of the sort, so just seeing what works for now. Will see how that turns out and make refinements.

    In the meantime, I am developing further components for the software that will function alongside and beyond the current offering.

    My initial excitement has worn off. Ended up sleeping for 2 hours this afternoon when I should have been working. Expected this to happen at some point. I was my own feedback loop for a while, and now it is at the point where I need feedback from users to keep the process alive.

    Next week's goals:
    • Feedback from at least 10 new users
    • Finish next component and release

    Thanks for reading and have a lovely day :)
     
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    I hope "posting on forums yielded 0 fruit" doesn't apply to here :smile2:

    So it's just a drop-in replacement for the connection to MySQL? No need to revise queries, etc., just to give it the connection string in the config file?

    8 GB SSD should be plenty for the initial batch of demos and small projects. If more is needed, it would be for a project with a funded budget!

    Good luck with your external feedback. Hopefully you can scale some responsiveness now, with your test users sending in questionnaires while you sleep.
     
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  13. GregDott
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    Haha, doesn't apply to FLF.

    No revised queries or anything of the sort. Yeah, exactly. There are a bunch of db options you can choose from. MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL...

    Sweet thanks man!!
     
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    Weekly progress...

    Ok, nothing happened as I had hoped. Huhu. First part of the offering sent 0 sparks flying. Numerous link clicks from ads etc. but not a single account created or email list signup.

    The first part of the software offering is not the main product. Really just a component of it, and in itself somewhat boring, so not too disappointed in that regard. Will continue to finish the main product and see how well that is received. I'm not feeling too discouraged. I'll save that for the main product.

    Another thing to note: I have done a lot of web development, but I am no designer. I am going to find a web/graphic designer to help me create a better image for everything.

    Other than that, had 0 time to work on any of this the past week. Picked up a new freelance client and been finishing off loose ends with 2 others. Keep realising how much my time estimation sucks and I waaay underquote for time spent on a project. Not helping things. Need to buckle up there.

    Anyway, that's it.

    Have a lovely weekend people. Keep working hard. :fist::bullseye::palm:
     
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    So are you getting traffic, but no conversion?

    This looks like you put "feel discouraged" on your to do list for the 1.0 release :playful:

    I think you could likely find a nice enough looking free template for the MVP.

    Congrats on finding clients. What's up with the estimations? Do you know where that's going wrong, or is it a mystery?

    Sent you a direct note too, check your inbox.
     
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  16. GregDott
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    Yeah that was basically it. Not concerned about that for the initial part of the software as it is pretty vanilla and boring.
    Yes exactly. I will only allow myself to feel discouraged when the thing that I am hoping will appeal to people is rejected haha.
    You are right. I have this problem where I want to build everything myself. Need to stop that really. Not helpful towards any progress.

    Thanks. Oh it's a number of things. The first is carelessness combined with over-zealousness. I had some rather lousy clients before this one who were absolutely terrible with communication so the prospect of a new client got me salivating like a dog. I jumped on the project without looking too closely at it and figuring out how much work would really be involved. I am also quite new to freelancing so I am still figuring out my time estimates etc. This was the worst one of all though. Good experience, so I'm not feeling bitter or anything. I've decided to make an estimate, and multiply it by 3 or 4. That should roughly get it right.
     
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    Sadly I fell off the wagon for a bit.

    A month to be exact. Got bogged down with some freelance work that I took on. Estimated time badly and had to spend the last month grafting my a$$ off with only one Saturday of rest. A nice learning experience, but one that I do not wish to repeat.

    Everything has essentially suffered in the wake of this tragedy lol. Personal life, practically reduced to 0. Fastlane oriented work left by the side of the road and forgotten like a pox-infested child displaying the onset of kwashiorkor.

    This has given me the need to re-focus and consider what is absolutely essential to success. Incidentally been reading 'The One Thing' by Gary Keller. Great book so far.

    Anyway, it has made me question the viability of the product I am making and the process of market research I conducted before. My market research was not thorough enough. Not conclusive enough. Again I was too keen to jump on the idea when I engaged with people and saw a good amount of interest generated. I am going to do what I should have done in the first place (and I have to admit did not do before acting further). Landing page with basic offering. Collect email addresses. Ad campaign. I feel like a tonsil for not verifying the idea to this point in the beginning.

    If my verification fails, I will take this horse out back and put a few slugs in its brain. Then onto the next idea on my list. Except this time I will do landing page email collection verification before anything else.

    I feel a little silly. These are things I know I should have done back when I started, but was just too excited to start doing something. I guess sometimes you have to mess up so that you can fully understand what you need to. Even though the information was right there in front of you. Spouted out by a thousand others who had done the same, or seen someone else do it. In some way I feel good seeing this tendency to be dumb. Makes me feel better equipped knowing that.

    Hopefully next week there will be something of better substance to report.
     
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    You might find Elihu Goldratt's "Critical Chain" helpful. He suggests that you estimate how long each task will take, if things basically go well. Then run another estimate based on "but what if" issues. Take the difference between those two totals, and instead of padding each individual task, put all the padding at the end of the project. The book presents this all within a fictional storyline that explains all the reasons for how to do things differently than standard project management.
     
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    Only for a month, and you understand exactly why it happened and how to climb back on the wagon and steer it around the ditch this time. Well done!! Give yourself credit! That's a lot faster learning than many people ever do! I forget if we've discussed "Lean Startup," I think its approach to validating the market could be just what you're moving towards now.
     
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    Thanks man. I will check that out. I think I need that.

    Thanks for the info and encouragement!
     
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    Weekly update:

    Not much progress on this. Been super bogged down with last freelance job. Really tired of dealing with existing, poorly created systems. Immense scope creep has also been a thing. I've been saying yes far too easily to the client. It starts small (just as the Nazis did). And little by little you edge closer to madness. Only when you are executing innocents do you realise you said yes to the wrong little things too many times. Huhu. Terrible comparison. I do apologise.

    Anyway, has got me to thinking I should create a niche for myself in the web development world (as opposed to jumping at whatever pops up). Instead of modifying and fixing existing systems, I plan to start offering a unique product. Going to experiment with it and see where it goes. Basically planning on making simple yet immersive animated websites using a Javascript game-development library called Phaser. Going to rebuild my freelancing website this way as an advert, put out some ads and then see if it generates any interest.
    I also want to become independent of freelancing platforms and stop fighting for scraps from the floor.

    Still need to get landing page for collecting email addresses for my main idea going and see if that generates genuine interest. Gonna get to that this weekend and hopefully will have a good idea by sometime next week.
     
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    So, go heavily sidetracked with freelancing work, and all the wheels fell off of this one for a while. Added nicely to my freelancing profile, so not all in vain.

    Basically in the last few months, all I did on this was some more market validation, and the results were not what would be encouraging enough to move forwards with development. So... I'm laying this one in the ground, and moving on to the next idea.

    I did get some useful insight into what happens when you are over-zealous and do not take the time to examine things properly. I wasted a large number of hours on this, when I could have avoided it if I was more mindful in the beginning.

    Maybe another thread will emerge in a week or two.
     

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