The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

EXECUTION Starting My First Software Business - What I’ve learned trying to make and sell software.

Remove ads while supporting the Unscripted philosophy...become an INSIDER.

nassimslab

New Contributor
Mar 18, 2020
8
7
11
canada
31284

You can read this here also: Starting My First Software Business

Introduction
Since I started my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science I’ve long dreamed of starting a software business. After a couple of semesters went by and I was more comfortable with programming, I’ve decided during the March break of 2020 to finally start.

A Problem To Solve
To make a business you have to solve a problem. I noticed during my studies that I would struggle to focus on my course material because I was addicted to YouTube. Blocking It completely didn’t work. I would often find myself disabling the blocking software.
I thought to myself that I needed to make YouTube itself less addictive without blocking access. A custom software would be needed to achieve this goal.
However, I didn’t know for sure if this problem was specific to me or was common. I needed to verify if it was worth solving for others.

Gauging The Potential Interest
Before writing a line of code, I designed the User Interface of my software and went on Reddit showing and explaining my idea. Reddit is a great platform to see if people are interested in your ideas. You can have feedback in the form of up-votes and comments. There is also dedicated communities for different subjects. The key was to choose the right subreddit before posting. I naturally targeted communities geared toward’s digital minimalism and tech addiction recovery.

The Concept
The initial idea was called MinimalTube. It would’ve been a mobile app that would allow users to search content and add them to a watch list. The searching feature would have to be disabled before users could watch the content they’ve previously selected. It would also keep track of the watch list total duration so one could be aware how much time they were going to spend.


This was the inital design for MinimalTube.
Those visuals got people interested. I then started collecting emails for early adopters who wanted to try the app first hand. Then the problems started…

Trials and Tribulations
When it came to actually make the product, I ran into a major hurdle that I couldn’t have predicted.
The problem was that YouTube imposed the usage of their API if you wanted to publish your app on the Play Store. This was a problem because it had very limited quotas. An API is a third party service that you can use to get access to certain data (ex: Getting the video titles when a user searched something).
It also gave me the sense that if MinimalTube would get too popular. I would have Google’s lawyers sueing me.
Because of this I started to shift the main idea to something else more subtle. A small command line desktop app.


This is how it looks.
This above command line program would generate a watch list that you could open with a web browser.


This is an example of a watch list file

Business Model
I’ve noticed that making people pay for something that looks good is easier than something that isn’t. I can’t stress this enough. Making people pay for an ugly command line app would be too difficult.
My idea was to take inspiration from instagram influencers. When a user make a watch list there would be a little click-able square ad space (think paid sponsorships). This model would work only if I had many downloads.
Users could also have the option to donate money.
This is something that I didn’t take much time to think about because its hard to have a sense of how much you should charge or not.

Launching
I didn’t want to pay for a domain or hosting. I simply put my app on a website called itch.io which is known to host indie games. The advantage for using it was that it would be easy to process payments if any and would cost nothing for me to have it up and running.

Results
  • +200 downloads in two weeks
  • 3$ of profit. (3 users decided to donate 1$)
Conclusion
It was a good first experience. I made 200 downloads with no prior audience. I spent 0$ on all of this and made 3$. I’ve spent a lot of time on this but I’ll hopefully get it back as experience to drive my next venture.

Lessons learned
  • An idea can be good and useful but goes against copyright so it’s not worth pursuing.
  • User Interfaces are extremely important (They need to be top notch good looking).
  • The advertising model doesn’t work except if you’re a massive hit. Millions of downloads.
  • Be more courageous in charging upfront.
If you’re interested in using the app head over to https://www.minimaltube.itch.io/mt
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Last edited:
OP
OP
nassimslab

nassimslab

New Contributor
Mar 18, 2020
8
7
11
canada
I did consider doing it as a browser extension but I'm currently learning the skills needed to make one so I might do it one day. I wrote the current MinimalTube in python.
 

Saavedra

Contributor
Aug 4, 2013
42
28
42
I did consider doing it as a browser extension but I'm currently learning the skills needed to make one so I might do it one day. I wrote the current MinimalTube in python.

btw just say that the post and project was executed very welll, congratulations to you just for having such a great execution!
 

Hassan

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Oct 14, 2012
176
207
168
Solid execution man. What's next, and how are you planning on marketing things for the business?
 

Saavedra

Contributor
Aug 4, 2013
42
28
42
Do you know if it is possible to improve the recommendations in YouTube? right now it recommends tv shows, sports and generally crap, even if you block a lot of them or mark as not interested. could your service do a mass block by keywords or list?
 
OP
OP
nassimslab

nassimslab

New Contributor
Mar 18, 2020
8
7
11
canada
Do you know if it is possible to improve the recommendations in YouTube? right now it recommends tv shows, sports and generally crap, even if you block a lot of them or mark as not interested. could your service do a mass block by keywords or list?
This not what my program currently does but I can sense a big opportunity for this as a browser extension. I would basically use video titles in the recommendation section and match them with terms you have decided to block so to hide them.
 
OP
OP
nassimslab

nassimslab

New Contributor
Mar 18, 2020
8
7
11
canada
Solid execution man. What's next, and how are you planning on marketing things for the business?
My plan now is to learn how to make browser extensions.
Because browser extensions are on top of website I will have no legal problem with YouTube.
The challenge is always monetization. Browser extensions usually have a wider reach. Maybe a paid sponsorship model will work this time.
 
OP
OP
nassimslab

nassimslab

New Contributor
Mar 18, 2020
8
7
11
canada
UPDATE:
I took my app and pivoted to something slightly different.

Give this tool a YT playlist ID and it will convert it into a convenient HTML file.
  • An HTML file can be opened using any browser (Desktop & Mobile).
  • Each video will be side by side with each other. You can navigate efficiently between them. Play one pause it and play another and go back to resume the first one, etc...
  • No distracting recommendations and comments.
  • Easily shareable with your peers. ex: Through email, drag drop attachment in discord chat, etc...

I've put this tool behind a 1$ pay wall and applied the same strategy that I did with MinimalTube.
I'm trying to see how many people are willing to pay.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Sponsored Offers

  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Fox's Web Design Guide: Earn $100K this year (Yes, 2020!) and Go Fastlane
Hi guys, I repost here my old review with a small update : Feb 2020 : Hi guys, Just wanted...
  • Sticky
FEATURED! Introducing... WEALTH EXPO$ED, A Short Story By MJ DeMarco
Ah, I should've checked here to find out that it was free! Although, Amazon only charged $2 for...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Lex DeVille's - Advanced Freelance Udemy Courses!
Pick the one you need most. Some just buy them all. :D Loving your email sequence.
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE You Are One Call Away From Living Your Dream Life - LightHouse’s Accountability Program ⚡
Dropping a quick note in here to say... if you are on TFL, you are part of an elite group of...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Kill Bigger Incubator
I joined @Kak's business incubator in the first week of May. During our daily chats we uncovered...


Visit A Forum Sponsor
sponsor

New Topics

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom
AdBlock Detected - Please Disable

Yes, ads can be annoying. But please...

...to support the Unscripted/Fastlane mission (and to respect the immense amount of time needed to manage this forum) please DISABLE your ad-block. Thank you.

I've Disabled AdBlock