Yet, the moment has come, the moment to sit by myself, the moment to think by myself, the moment to meditate for a whole night to self-reflect myself as being a web developer, a founder of a in-progress startup, an idea inventor, and a teenager, and the moment to set my future goal in both my personal life and professional life. In the past, I haven’t written any types of post about “me”, the real “me”, about what I personally think and head forward, and I am feeling it is definitely necessary and worthy to be transparent to everyone out there who cares about me. So this post is going to be long and detailed, it might be only personal post I’ve written in the next couple months. But I am really going to be open-minded here at this post.
Instead of other people who likes to start with “Let’s go back to a little bit”. I am going to talk about “right now” (aka time();). It is almost at the end of the spring break right now, in this break, I really enjoy the free time I have left out (literally 90% of time in between 10AM-12PM). Yes, I have a chance to sit in front of my MacBook with my Coda opened, coding all these little side-projects. Yes, I have a chance to feel honor to be able to write 500 lines of code per day. Yes, I might have a chance to strengthen my resume and bio by adding more little websites and projects I am working on. And yes, I have a chance work on multiple ideas that I am originally interested and passionate about. But is it really worthy to work on 3 different things all at once? That’s the question I thought about yesterday morning, and I told myself yesterday at night, no.
As I said earlier, I am an idea inventor, I used to come up with one startup idea per day. Within couple minutes after I come up with the idea, as I digest and digest more about the concept, the better the idea gets in my mind. So I write them down. But after several days, because more ideas are being created, when I look back at the previous notes, my enthusiasm and passion are running away gradually from those ideas. Depends on its concept, some really cool ones might just stick in my head, and I tell myself, alright, that will have a pretty “huge hole to fill in”, let’s do it. I might tell one of my closed friends on the internet and most of the time, we agree to work together some time in the future.
Before I reconnect this point to my previous paragraph about why I said no to work on several things all at once, I am going to tell you what crazy projects I’ve been working on over the last two weeks.
- Chopstickie – Currently failed. I guessed not every heard about this. But I had an idea one week before the iPad released on April 3rd. I want to have a platform for all the excited iPad users to share how their screen looks like by uploading their screenshots. But it failed crucially. Why? The mobile Safari browser doesn’t even support file uploading using HTML form. But that took me a week.
- twtFF – I came up with this idea a while ago about making a deadly simple experience with the Follow Friday trend on Twitter. Some of the features I think of: Auto-submitting on Friday (Make the tweet it whenever you want); Autocomplete on usernames; Personalized suggested user lists based on recent activities; auto-reply on ＃FF tweets; and even a bookmark where they add a user to your ＃FF tweet just by one click. So with that excitement in mind, I talked to Zachary Collins about this, and we agreed to work on that during the break. And I’ve been working on it over the past several days.
- iGotiPad – Another iPad-related project. I found out this exclusive Twitter username wasn’t used yet, so I signed up and basically set up the Twitterfeed that automatically send out tweets about posts that are coming from a variety of popular social media blogs out there. It took me half days to set up the service. Why am I doing all of this? Why shouldn’t I do all of this? – At the beginning, I just think the ideas are awesome, let’s do it. But except for those reasons, I have a sense of feeling deep from my heart that I just want to show people I’ve done that much impressive projects, and I might become “popular”. (Even though I hate using the word “popular”.) But is that what will happen in reality? – As I was working and coding, I felt like “Man, this actually requires a huge amount of work, and why don’t I do something else that is much easier”. But when I did move on, there are some unexpected new challenges come in front of my face, and I feel the same things all over again. As I am finished or closed to finish, I really want to get the word out there and let people use it. But based on the connections I am having right now as well as the core functionality and attraction of the project, it becomes extremely difficult to grab people’s attention or to actually have a teasing point where users will love this product. I’ve think about the future of that project, is it possible for me to provide full customer support? Is it possible for me to plan out a marketing strategy? Is it possible for me to fix bugs? Is it possible for me to enhance the user experience and upgrade the service? Remember, I have to do all of these for multiple projects. So I realize the answer is no.
So, why should’t I continue to focus on what I already had and make it ultimately the best??? This can solve the problem listed above: getting “popular”. What I mean by popular here is not like Justin Bieber who has zzzzillions of followers and fans around the web, I prefer to define “popular” in two way.
- A popular person is someone who inspires a huge amount of people. The more inspirational you are, the more popular you are.
- A popular person is someone who makes products/services that tremendous people fall in love with. I only categorize few amount of people as popular people, and I want to list some of them below:
- Loren Britcher. He makes Tweetie which was acquired by Twitter.
- Marco Arment. He coded Tumblr and created Instapaper.
- Jack Dorsey. He founded Twitter and Square.
- Loic Le Meur. He founded Seesmic and started Le Web. What do they all have in common? Well, they are either inspirational which gives people a lot of suggestions and advices. (Especially Loic’s blog/videos and Marco’s tumblog, I read them all the time). Or they created something that blow people’s pants off. (Especially how Loren can make this awesome product all by himself, and how Jack started two revolutionized world-changing companies).
So in order to achieve what I wanted, here’s what I figure out I am going to do. Solely focus on OneExtraLap, this social quizzing application had been in work for quite few months, the private beta is out, it’s gotten some tremendous great feedback from our early adopters on Twitter:
- Incredibly impressed with my friend @StephenOu who just launched @OneExtraLap, a social quizzing platform. @ me or him if you want an invite. – By @netspencer
- @stephenou @OneExtraLap dude this is so impressive. good job – By @jakeosmith
- Everyone should check out @OneExtraLap made by @stephenou. Good stuff! – By @staticsafe
- @stephenou’s @OneExtraLap is honestly f*cking awesome. And you know it’s good when I swear to prove my point. – By @mattprivman I don’t want to lose what I already had, so that is what I am going to truly focus on in the following months. I will constantly get in contact with our early users to gather feedback, and add new features from those feedback. Once everything is set, I will gradually send out more and more beta invites out, and see if more people are going to enjoy it. My ultimate goal to this is to create a full-feature social quizzing website and provide people a break-through experience on social quizzing, even though it is a brand new concept. More details about OneExtraLap will be coming soon.
Besides focusing on OneExtraLap, I do want to involve in few more things, they are not any kind of “little projects”, but instead, they are more like some self-value increment. First, I will be a blogger at Icodom, a recently-founded blog that focus on technology and social media, I won’t write constantly over there because this isn’t my main focus. But probably once per week, I will contribute a lengthy article that emphasize on social media in general as well as some web development advices. Why I want to do this instead of side projects? Because I think I’ve coded too much, but I haven’t really learned about what this technology world is truly all about. I can finish up a little project in a couple of days, but I haven’t even analyze about itself at all, I don’t know who my target audiences are, I don’t know how this can grow into a real product, I never think about any potential competitors, I just don’t know how this will impact the market. So by being a blogger, I will be able to sit down and think, deeply analyze all the different aspects of this technology world that I am really passionate about. The knowledge I learned about marketing, branding, press, operation and other business stuff from my writing can also help on my development on OneExtraLap. Without any of above, no matter how well I code my site, it will still fail completely. Beyond that, I’ve told myself I need to read more, because by reading, I can be able to absorb different knowledge and digest them to myself from time to time. After reading an article, I will try to force myself to really think deep about it, and I will try to comment on 75% of the posts I read. I am sure this will turn out great.
What I am going to do with my current side-projects and waiting-to-be-made ideas? For the current projects, I prefer to stop nearly any development right now (except for few more days of work at twtFF), because there will be a big distraction if I continue, and it is not worthy to consume my time on multiple not-knowing-which-one-to-focus-on projects. For all the ideas in mind, I am not going to reveal it one by one here, but if you are a rockstar developer or really interested in my ideas or even my current projects, just get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org), I am happy to talk to you more about it.
So, here I am, at the fresh beginning of this journey. No more little side-projects, I am going to fully focus on my first startup, OneExtraLap, continue to enrich what I already had, learn the true meaning about technology, but not trying to exploring the world by going to random unclear directions. I will be still living in technology, I will still tweet when I have anything to say, I will still keep in contact with all the brilliant and wonderful people I’ve met over the past six months, I will still help out anyone who needs help or advice in best of my ability, I am not going anywhere, but I just need to focus on what I am truly passionate about. Doing few awesome things is much better than doing ten thousands random things, even though you think that ten thousands things are awesome.
Thanks everybody for supporting me!