My Solo Side Projects

(Week 4)

Over past few years, I’ve actually built solo side projects. They have been just for fun projects, built usually in one or couple of days. Most of these side projects are pretty much in the MVP state. The idea was to test if the hypothesis about the problem were valid or not.

So, here are my launched solo side projects. These are the ones that are worth of mention.

This is a simple timer for tracking time during meetings. When you start the timer, you’ll get an unique URL which you can share with meeting participants so everyone knows how much time you have wasted during a meeting.

According to the analytics, this site is actually being used. It’s not a massive hit, but it’s nice to know that there are people who are using this site. It means that there are people experiencing a problem and solves their pain.

The domain was registered in 2009 and this is in fact my first side web project. It’s been rewritten many times over the years and the visual design of the site has changed many times. The last rewrite I settled for really minimal design, since I wrote the whole site from the scratch.

Time-Weighted Return is a measurement of compound rate of growth. Since that thing was really hard to understand, I had to write some code to wrap my head around the concept. So I built Stockif and it answers just one question. “What if I have had bought stock X,Y and Z one month ago?”

This site is using Yahoo Finance as data source, and according the license, I cannot show any advertisement or ask for money. That makes sense, since Yahoo Finance is giving their API for free.

That fact makes it pretty hard to built this project further. If I would try to build a feature which would provide enough value that I could charge money, I would need to switch stock market data provider. The prices for stock market data are so high, that this would not be a side project anymore.

I tried to find a suitable savings calculator. There are lots of saving calculators on the web, but they were hard to use, requiring to type values into input fields. I wanted a calculator where I could play around with the values with sliders. So I built this.

I am first to admit that this side project is not finished. The most important feature is missing. There is no good way to adjust your savings target. You can adjust monthly savings rate, yearly returns and initial savings, but you can select the target from pre-defined set of options.

A quick-win improvement for this site would be to create the missing slider. I have a feeling that this project might have potential to grow bit more. Currently, the functionality of this site is crippled, but after the improvements this site might have hope.

Build Craft Create

This is a simple blog aggregate site. It combines a bunch of blogs about web product design on one page. I have a feeling that I am the only one using this site, and I have the analytics to back up my claim.

This site is lacking a easy method for adding or removing blogs. Currently the site has too complicated method to add or remove a blog. Because it’s so hard, I have not bothered to take care of this site.

This side project does have Google Adsense advertisement, but I’ve built this to be responsive, so the advertisement is kept as minimal as possible. Due to the scalable layout, I wanted to make the reading experience as effortless as possible without any ads sticking out of the layout.

Build Craft Create

And if you really want to see my best side project, check out Gridlover. It’s a web typography tool which I’ve built with @sakamies.

What About My Side Project Income Quest for 2013?

Having this much side projects is actually a good thing. I have made a public promise to build a income generating side project in year 2013. So far, I have already launched one niche web site, but I makes sense to improve few side projects on this list as well. It is not necessary a massive task to develop few missing features and then put some effort on internet marketing to get more traffic.

It might look like I’m going for quantity instead of quality with my side projects. The internet is already filled with so much crap, so I am not making things any worse by shipping few features.

We’ll see, I’m not stressing about this. :)