Ahmad Awais

Senior Full Stack WordPress developer — WP Core Contributor — Front-end Fanatic — Accidental Writer. I love to write, talk, build, and share everything about WordPress. You can find me making small automation scripts for DevOps stuff or toying around with WP Business ideas. Let's catch up at Twitter @MrAhmadAwais.

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How WP Community’s Feedback Helped WPMetaList.com

Ahmad AwaisAhmad Awais

Before I go ahead and explain what’s what and what happened, I’d like to share how I used to work and how I keep optimizing my workflow. So, here it is. I was one of those designers/developers who spend a 30% of their time actually building stuff while spending the remaining in research to follow the best possible path. Even when I wrote, I wrote with the belief that the easy, conversational tone of good writing comes only on the eighth rewrite. As Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness would say — That part of my life was called, “Being Perfectionist”.

 

Perfectionist

Who… Perfectionist… What?

Perfectionist is a fictional term to describe an event of technical stupidity. Yes, stupidity, while there are people who won’t agree with me but if you are someone who wants to work with the ideal workflow, to produce ideal products, and get ideal results then you my friend are delusional. There’s no such thing as IDEAL/PERFECT.

Running after an ideal state will only make you realize, after enough expense of time, that it was not worth it. I don’t know how and when, what happened but at least about two years ago, it was Jan 2013 when I first understood this term called MVP (late to the party). The minimum viable product. I was like, why didn’t I know that before

mvp

The Minimum Viability…

According to Wikipedia the minimum viable product (MVP) is the product with the highest return on investment versus risk. I am an EMBA student at the moment, but instead of discussing the technical bull, I’ll just come straight to the point.

So, the Concept of MVP Is; When

Enough with the story? This concept of building a product and launching it right away was awesome. I’m practicing it for about two years now, this strategy has turned my life upside down is so many ways, that I can’t even begin to explain (read as, I am explaining it anyway :P )

There were several reasons behind building an MVP instead a full-fledged product, one of them was ‘How it felt working on your product after 6 months which is yet to be released’…

6_months_late_product

My Workflow in Ref to MVPs

So, WPMetaList.com was an idea, that said, I’ve always been a big fan of HackerNews and then came ProductHunt. Being in love with WordPress and unable to find a similar site for WordPress niche, I decided to build one.

i.e. A platform to feature creative, cool and intuitive WordPress Products every week and then allowing WordPress followers to vote & share their recommendations by voting or writing comments.

It was September 2014, I guess. I even bought a domain WPHawker.com. Came January and a few holidays, I thought this is the best time to build it. Spent a week building the site, designing the layout, figuring out the workflow and dealing with complex responsive media queries (read as not so complex). When someone asked how long it took me to build something like that, I was like…

less_time_toMvp

So, when I was done, I posted it over social media asking for feedback. Amazing feedback, a few people were more than happy to contribute to making it better, you know, WordPress community; always helping each other out. Two years ago, I would’ve never attempted to build a product this way. It must have taken at least three months, one month for market research, one and a half for design & development and half a month for onboarding/copywriting/documentation and stuff. And after all, that work if someone had told me that WPHawker domain name sounds pretty weird, my reaction would’ve been something like this…

doing_it_all_wrong

What Happened With the MVP Then?

One of my friends in WordPress community, Ansel Taft, a friendly front end developer reached out to me right after Jean Galea  from WPMayor.com had told me that he was not so sure about the name WPHawker. Ansel on the other hand, took his time, not only to provide me with feedback, he thought was critical, but also helped me brainstorm a new name. After 15-20 minutes of brainstorming, I was setting up the DNS for WPMetaList.com. And this time, after the feedback, my reaction was…

feedback_new_domain

This is not all, more than 50 people with 100+ feedback comments/messages in 24 hours, YOU GUYS ROCK! You won’t find such an active and helping community anywhere else. You can call it one of the biggest reasons why I love WordPress.

To put it in a nutshell,  I built something which could be useful with the risk of failure, but only built what was primarily needed, like there was even no newsletter signup form at that moment, and then Kim asked about it! So, I went ahead and coded one.

WPMetaList Stats & Future

WPMetaList is doing just fine for a platform which is only 7 days old. Don’t take my word for it, ask around who registered, or register yourself after reading these stats.

WPMetaList in First Seven Days

So, if you haven’t considered building a minimum viable product so far, try now and don’t forget to register yourself at WPMetaList.com

To Conclude

I’d say; Yes! it’s started as a minimum viable product but that doesn’t mean, what I built was crap, I put about 50 working hours or so, to make it look better, I knew what I was doing (nine years of WordPress dev/design experience).

I kept the dev/design process agile as the feedback came in, almost 80% of it was built/fixed and shipped right within a week. I don’t want you to build crap, I want you to build and launch your products as soon as possible, don’t try to build the next big thing right from the start. Build a strong foundation! otherwise…

mvp_bad

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Senior Full Stack WordPress developer — WP Core Contributor — Front-end Fanatic — Accidental Writer. I love to write, talk, build, and share everything about WordPress. You can find me making small automation scripts for DevOps stuff or toying around with WP Business ideas. Let's catch up at Twitter @MrAhmadAwais.