Today morning I learned that Cultural Fit won in the Social Impact category. The golden kitty is mine, but the win is yours. How's that? Bear with me.
Yesterday I told my wife "tomorrow I'll learn that I didn't win the kitty." I was sure it would go that way. I wasn't bummed or disappointed. I didn't work on the project for likes, votes or a figurine. I made it happen because I wanted it to exist, so I did win already by shipping it.
I didn't put much effort into promoting the project, so how could I possibly win? I mean I tried but without any result. I tried to engage the DEV community but with no luck. I tried to promote the project on Reddit but forgot to attach the link to the post.
After two missed shots I decided to give myself time to think about how I can change product and marketing to make it appealing because it's wasn't working in the current state.
But all of the sudden, the win! There's only one explanation to this — it's you made it happened. It's your win!
Thank you, everyone, who upvoted the project, visited the site or simply read this. This wouldn't have happened without you!
To celebrate the win, I've launched Cultural Fit on Product Hunt:
Currently, it's far from the top which confirms my theory about the need for change. But it's okay because I already got much more than I expected.
However apparently when I sleep impossible things happen, so who knows what I'll find out when I open the laptop tomorrow.
Please, share your opinion in the comments.
When I released Telepost I wrote a post about my vision:
I knew that the project needs future outside of Telegram and I naively thought that messengers would make blogging easy. What could be simpler than sending a message? It turned out that people use Telegram channels not because it's easy to do so, but because it's a great medium that lets you deliver your message right into the app that people use to chat with their friends. It's not even easy to consume the content, as the app isn't optimized for a lot of text, so authors use Telegraph for long articles.
I wrote dozens of essays using Telegram and could say that the experience is awful, I'm not sure what I was thinking. I'm not even talking about editing, most of my users, I included, use external text editors to write and edit their material. The experience of posting itself is far from ideal. To create a beautiful post with pictures, links, and embeds, users have to plan how to break the text into messages.
Right now I'm rethinking how I want to involve the project.
As you might have noticed, recently I've released a new feature — comments. It's still in development, but I already see how it will improve user engagement with authors. Another planned feature is tags that will help to organize and search the posts.
Right after that, or somewhere in between is an editor that will help write, edit and publish posts. It will solve the problem I described before.
Please, share your opinion in the comments.
In 2007 my friend @alex_chrome and I published a small casual game called Spinball or Шароворот in the original. The base mechanic of the game was the popular match-four, where four connected balls of the same color are collapse giving the player scores.
We started working on the game in 2006. Alex developed a prototype which I found promising, and we decided to join our efforts. It took us several months to finish, and it was an undoubtedly valuable experience. We learned a lot about software development, game design, teamwork, feature cut, working with a publisher and everything that involves shipping a final product.
We both worked from our parents' homes, communicating via regular phone. I used my fathers tie to attach the phone to my head so can type on the keyboard and speak with Alex at the same time. At the time, persistent internet connection was a rare thing in Omsk, provincial Siberian city, so we had to use dial-up which wasn't cheap. Nowadays it sounds insane, but we used to email source code to each other with notes that have changed.
That was fun but also tough time, especially in the last months. It seemed that we'd never finish the game. Back then I learned about 80/20 rule in a hard way.
When we finally shipped the game, it turned out that we made some mistake in the contract with the publisher, so we'd never seen these pennies that we made. The game was a flop.
I was highly disappointed by the outcome and seemingly lost months, so I never returned to game development. I realized that the AAA games that I wished to work on takes thousands of developers and several years to finish. And all these years I'd work on a single small detail. That wasn't what I dreamed about.
After a break, I returned to programming, but this time working as a freelancer doing various internet projects.
Please, share your opinion in the comments.
When we relocated to Sri Lanka about 3 weeks ago, I decided to test my theory that travel helps to build habits and started working on a few new ones.
I quitted smoking. I started waking up before sunrise. I meditate every morning. Also every day I write and publish a blog post. If you think it's a lot, you're right. It is a lot, especially the last bit, but I enjoy it.
This is the 17th post I published. I write to this blog, @gonomad, @date_fns, and also I published one piece on Medium and one on DEV. I didn't set myself a standard of how big or elaborate the posts should be, so some posts are short, and some are long.
It's needless to say, some days I have a bad time thinking of a topic and the further I go the more difficult it becomes. When I can't come up with anything interesting, I go through my old drafts and finish the most promising. Now I'm running out of drafts.
Today I had an especially tough day. I couldn't think of an idea for almost an hour. I started writing a post to @date_fns but then give up because I didn't feel the flow and every sentence was taking forever to finish.
Then I realized that I never told about the challenge. What a relief! But what am I going to do tomorrow?
Help me! What I should write about? Please tell me in the comments 👇
Yesterday I had a weird day. During the day I felt like being productive, but when the day was over, I looked back and realized that I didn't accomplish that I planned to. It wasn't a tough problem that I couldn't solve nor plans were too ambitious. I just wasn't focus yet felt productive. How's that?
For the last days, I was quite active in Twitter, so the Notification tab always was glowing all the time. Whenever I had slight trouble with a project, I would open Twitter, check the notifications and get an instant reward. Someone likes my work! I'm doing great! It's so much easier than actually making progress. Unfortunately, the social networks are designed that you won't just leave. There's always something to see!
Whenever I have a bad time focusing on work, I try to deep dive into what went wrong and how to fix it. This is how I approach my productivity. This time I knew the answer immediately.
About a year ago I read Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products:
The book explains in details how to design products that make people hooked. It describes the hook model that consists of 4 phases:
1. Trigger – External or internal cues that prompt certain behavior.2. Action – Use of the product, based on ease of use and motivation.3. Variable Reward – The reason for product use, which keeps the user engaged.4. Investment – A useful input from the user that commits him to go through the cycle again.
I won't go deep into details and leave it for another post, but this is how the model works on the Twitter example:
Trigger. I meet a problem in the code that makes me anxious: "Damn, it's harder than I thought, it will take some time to fix it!". I feel bammed for a second, but it's enough to get to the second phase.
Action. Usually, I would solve the problem and get rewarded by the brain for doing it, but our brains are lazy and always try to cut corners. Why not check Twitter instead? I post work-related stuff, so to get satisfaction from work I can only check the Notifications tab.
Variable Reward. Sometimes when I open Twitter there're no notifications, sometimes there's plenty, so I not always get rewarded. By making reward variable Twitter ensures that I will return.
Investment. After a while, my tweets get lost in time, so I stop getting responses. Then I post another tweet that will provide me with another wave of rewards.
That was an easy problem to fix (I'll use Tweetbot that limits notifications to certain types), but it uncovered another, a global problem: to make profits, social networks are pushed to manipulate our feelings. Unlike Apple that helps iOS users to limit the time they spend on their devices, Twitter and others can't do it without losing profits. Apple benefits from selling you devices while Twitter from selling your attention.
It sounds like a problem without a solution, and probably it is unsolvable while money drives these companies.
Is there's a solution, what do you think?