Launching a Software Product in a Weekend

(Week 5)

Originally the title for this post was “building a software product in a weekend”, but it’s not about building a product. It’s about launching it. You can build products all you want, but only launched products count.

This blog post is not strictly releated to my side project quest, since this blog post is not about solo side project. This blog post is about a codecamp.

Codecamp Post-Mortem

Last weekend five guys rented a cabin from a tourist farm and spent whole weekend hidden in a cabin in the woods and building a product. Luckily, I was one of the five guys.

We did the same thing last year, but it did not work out. We had a good time, but we did not launch a product. From that perspective, it was failure. So few weeks ago we had a email discussion about re-doing the codecamp. We decided to build the thing we did last year. We had made lots of mistakes last year, which we would know to avoid this time.

When we arrived, we spent about 30 minutes figuring out what we are going to do, and how we are going to do it. Naturally, since we are Finns, we did the planning in sauna. We did one big thing differently this year and it had a huge impact. We planned and agreed on our tasks. Everybody knew what to do first. We started building the software and the sense of time was lost.

Not everybody will understand that spending whole weekend in a cabin programming with bunch of hacker-minded people can be fun. But it was fun! The cabin had a big table in the middle of the room and we were spread around it without laptops. Internet connection was provided by mobile phones and tablets. Even though we were in the middle of the woods, we did not spend much time outside. We leave that for the next time.

The application was definitely not ready, there are bugs lurking around. But it has the basic functionality. It’s launched!

Currently, it’s a minimum viable product. We are hosting it on Heroku free plan and we have not even decided a name for it. For now, it’s has some weird name that we came up in the sauna.

Now it’s time to find out if it solves a problem that our target customers are having.

Are you a coach in a sport team? Would you like to create game plays for your team, and share them so the team can study it before next practice? Check out our product!

Want to Organize a Codecamp?

Organizing a codecamp is really easy! It’s almost effortless. It’s like a hackathon, but for fewer people. Just ask few friends if they would like to spend weekend programming some cool idea. Find a big enough cabin and rent it for the weekend. Make sure there is cell phone signal, so you can access internet. Spend one hour googling for the right cabin, make few calls and you are all set.

(I refer codecamp as a small event where group of friends gather together to building a product, the term might have some other meanings as well)

How to improve the possibility of success

Here are few things to remember when you are organizing a codecamp.