2019 Challenge: MVP #1 - Startups From The Bottom newsletter community
As stated in this post, one of my goals for this year is to make a functioning and testable MVP every two months. Over the past weeks I've been listing potential ideas, and settled on which one would be my first MVP.
And the winner is... (drums rolling...)
Startups From The Bottom is a newsletter which delivers an "in-depth, actionable idea and analysis for serious entrepreneurs" (as it says on their website) to your inbox every day. In reality, every day you get a short email (~5 min. read max) with a startup suggestion in the form of some bullets expanded. This bullets, which are always the same, are:
- Backstory: how a problem or pain point was found
- The Idea: what the solution could be
- Deep dive: how it should be implemented
- Validation: how do they know this should work
- Monetization: how could money be made with the proposed solution
Over the past months they sent several ideas which I definitely thought I could implement myself as side projects to make some extra money. But what I value the most from these emails is that every day, when you read about some cool new app that could be made or some product that the market needs, your brain gets to work and imagination starts flowing. It's a nice and simple way to prevent your brain from stagnating and get it moving.
The thing is, I found myself wanting for something more than just an email every day. It is a good starting point for igniting the engine, but how about the follow up stage? What if I came up with a better implementation than what they proposed? I have no way of sharing it with other readers. Or, how can I keep my favorite suggested ideas at hand? If maybe I'd like to create one these, how could I reach for help from the nonexistent community? There are a lot of people out there (supposedly 1200+ readers) that have no way interacting with each other, losing a huge opportunity to create a community centered around the newsletter.
So I decided that my first MVP in 2019 would be a website where all the suggestions from the newsletter would be uploaded, and where people could register and have the ability to:
- Bookmark their favorite ones for future reference
- Comment on ideas, forum-like
- (Maybe) Upvote/Downvote ideas, for the creators of the newsletter to get feedback on what they are sending
Implementing this shouldn't take me more than the two months time frame I have available to finish this first MVP.
The website would be implemented using Laravel, a PHP framework which I'm already familiar with. It would have an admin panel for managing the site's content. Users would be able to register, bookmark ideas and participate in the forum, and upvote/downvote ideas. The website would be hosted in DigitalOcean, where I already own a droplet where it can be set up.
Several colleagues and friends who are also subscribed to the newsletter have the same needs. If you browse through startup or indie forums (like IndieHackers for example), you'll see a lot of posts by people asking for advise on bootstrapping their own business or side project. As the Startups From The Bottom subscriber list is made of people wanting to receive ideas for creating their own hustle, a specialized forum made just for these kind of topics is a natural step for the project.
Given the site should have regular visitors (a new idea would be posted every day), I guess money could be made with ads. Another option could be to offer some kind of tiered subscriptions, where paying users get some additional features.
Some days ago I already got in touch with the Startups From The Bottom team to get their permission to make this site around their newsletter content. They already were, in fact, in the process of building this, but have been struggling with the development. I got to chat with Brian, really nice guy, and are now finishing the details of the agreement.
So I now have two months (self imposed deadline, so that I can start with MVP #2) to finish this little but exciting project. Keep around to get updates and hear about the implementation process!