My name is Stephen.

I like to write and tweet.

I work, code and photograph.

Learn more about me and my blog.

Lessons Learned with OneExtraLap

Even though OneExtraLap never succeeded, I learned so much. I poured my heart and soul into it for 8 straight months, and I'm extremely proud of what I accomplished. This was my first crack at building my own thing, and I never looked back.

Tomorrow will be my first day of school, and I think it will be a pretty good time to write a quick post and share some of the lessons I learned with OneExtraLap.

1. Didn’t solve a real-world need

Before I started writing code of OneExtraLap, I didn’t even think of the essential questions that every application should answer. How will your app benefit users? What niche are you targeting? So I basically built the entire product without knowing what is it for and who is it for.

2. Expecting too much

I always have a high expectation on everything I do, no matter how important the task is. Everything time I announce something on Twitter, I expect retweets, I expect current users to try it out, I expect visitors to sign up. But it never happens.

3. Didn’t collect email address

This might seems an extremely minor part of a business, but it is very crucial. Because the soonish you put up a landing page to collect email address, the more users your app will have on the first day. I made a big mistake here. I only started this process a week before the launch, which I can only collect less than 50 emails.

4. Want everything to be perfect

I guess I am a perfectionist, I always want the entire site to look perfectly and behave perfectly. So I put in too much time and focus on the design and development of the site, and ignore the business side of things most of the time.

5. Having too much to worry about

I have to be responsible on every parts of OneExtraLap. Interface design, feature development, customer support, bug fixes, system administration are all things I need to deal with. This constantly caused a problem: If I can’t fix a bug, I can’t continue on new feature development. If the site is down, I can’t respond to customer email complaint because I need to get the site up as soon as possible.

6. Didn’t notify bloggers ahead of time

I didn’t notice the importance of this until I actually launched OneExtraLap. I didn’t contact any bloggers when the app is in beta mode (which is the time bloggers will mostly like to try out and write about the app, because of the exclusivity). Until recently when I tried to reach out to them, I never get a response.

Moving on…

I couldn’t be happier with the success of OneExtraLap, my first project. Success not as much measured in users, pageviews and press but success measured in how much I’ve learned through the process. But from the survey I created last week, I heard that OneExtraLap is quite cool and fun, but it is definitely not something a “must-have” or a “can’t-live-without”. And it is not something that solves a real-world need.