May 18, 2007

Posted by John

Tagged presentation and railsconf

Older: Friday Keynote

Newer: Friday: Going Off The Grid

Friday: Building Community Driven Apps

By Dan Benjamin

  • Start something
    • Rails is ideal platform for web 2.0
      • fast prototyping
      • no wasted work, prototype becomes product

Cork’d

  • 500 users in first 2 or 3 hours
  • 20,000 in first month
  • cork’d was just acquired

The steps

  • Make a plan
    • good idea != successful, make a plan
  • Start small
    • showed his mac mini in a cabinet, they started with that
  • Stay agile: resist big infrastructure
    • focus on the app, not on the hosting
  • Build the right team
    • keep it small and don’t invite everyone to help
  • Determine ownership
    • Don’t just do 50/50
  • Have a revenue stream (ad’s don’t count)
    • think of your app like a business
  • Focus on simplicity
    • pictures of ipod
    • don’t build 50 features, instead, build 10 features; then people can only say that it doesn’t do something, not that it sucks at something
  • Don’t release a public beta
    • cork’d came out as a 1.0 beta
    • did a private beta of just friends
  • Know your audience
    • they learned a ton from the private betas
    • even better than knowing is actually being your audience
  • Build the app: The days of only being a programmer and not being a designer are gone, you have to do some of both
    • Think like a designer
    • Consider the data
      • Avoid big migrations
      • user entered data == bad!
      • “you’d be suprised how many different ways users spell california”
      • normalized data == good
    • Collaborate
      • common rails collaberation tools (svn, capistrano, campfire, basecamp, lighthouse)
      • collaborate in real time
      • they (dan benjamin and dan cederholm) met face to face in the airport when someone wanted to acquire them
      • use plugins (ym4r geocode, open_id_authentication, exception_notification, tagging, attachment_fu)
    • Take “Code Vacations”
  • Get noticed
    • “It’s google’s world, we just live in it.” – Quannon Au
    • use smart urls (increase usability and help googe)
    • leverage your markup (meta description, google does actually use meta tags, they like sentance descriptions, commas, capitalization, etc.)
  • Recruit Members – make it obvious and really easy to signup
    • Ask only what’s truly necessary
      • who get’s it right (cork’d, twitter, stikkit)
      • ask for everything but only require what is necessary
    • Limit non-members
      • youtube shows user links when you’re not signed in
      • show users what they could do but don’t let them until they create an account
    • Keep them coming back for more
      • make frequent improvements, not massive version changes
      • respond positively to your members
  • Create a developer network
    • Share your api
  • Find good parters
  • Just ship it

“If you do things right, people won’t know you’ve done anything at all.” -Futurama

This was a great, practical session. Nothing earth shattering but good reminders and a few great tips.

1 Comment

  1. Patrick Berkeley Patrick Berkeley

    May 18, 2007

    Thanks for the notes. Went to Clean Code instead, but this one looks like it was great!

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Authored by John Nunemaker (Noo-neh-maker), a web developer and programmer who has fallen deeply in love with Ruby. More about John.

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