Early Ideation

The ideation process never ends, but is particularly difficult in the beginning. So many options. So many paths you can go down. Product people say “start with the problem”. I think this is too narrow — start with the change you want to effect in the world, then pick a big problem getting in the way. One that you’re passionate about solving.

The 'Golden Circle' exercise from Jake Knapp's 3 Hour Brand Sprint


  • Friends and family for the long conversations. Chris H, Ryan, my sis and her bf, Guy, and many more.
  • Jake Knapp and his 3 Hour Brand Sprint gave a lot of clarity.
  • Evernote for quickly jotting down all the ideas that came into my head.
  • Here's mine.
  • Concepts.app for the creative freedom it allowed.
  • My previous journey at Pureprofile and all that went on it with me. What I learned there gave me the confidence to take this new journey on.

Validating the idea

Relativist.space whipped me up a landing page with a waiting list and survey. I bought $300 worth of ads across Facebook, Instagram, Snap, and Google. Average CPA < $1. Seeing the survey results come through with people telling me about the goals they wanted to achieve was a beautiful thing. Excitement was building rapidly.

Working on the landing page in our old apartment in SoHo, NYC — December 2018


  • Dasha and Relativist.space for the beautiful website.
  • Fiverr for creating the story and display ads.
  • Formsite for the waiting list survey.
  • Squarespace for allowing a punter like myself to iterate on Dasha’s beautiful work.

Taking the plunge

People say things like “you have to have a burning desire so deep there’s nothing else you want to do” . I don’t think this is true, especially at the outset while you are figuring things out. For me, the burning desire came later. It came with clarity of knowing not ‘what’ I was trying to do or ‘why’ I was trying to do it, but ‘how’ — it came once I had a plan. Taking the plunge came from feeling (relatively) safe to do so. The fuel came from the knowledge that this could be the one chance I get. And the push came from my wife. To this day she’s still Journey’s #1 fan and my supporter and confidant on this rollercoaster.

My biggest supporter and much better half


Mentors and friends — DcB, Joe, Kit, Tahls, Alex, Chris, and many more.

Just start

We were headed home to Sydney for Christmas 2018. I hadn’t started designing Journey yet, but I knew I wanted Guides in there to help people get started on a Journey…and I knew I should take advantage of my hometown network while I was there. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had a camera, a tripod, a mic, and a few wonderful people willing to put up with an amateur.

The first Guide I interviewed on Christmas Day, 2018 — my best mate, Eddie Lloyd

Terima kasih

  • All the Guides I’ve interviewed so far: Eddie, Marina, Paul, my sis, Joris, Kristina, Chi, Rachel, Will, Jason, Sat, Lewie, Tommie B.
  • My beautiful Fujifilm XE3 camera and cheap tripod and mic.
  • LumaTouch and My Passport Wireless Pro for allowing me to do the painful editing process from a cafe, with my pencil and iPad.
  • RobHK for teaching me how to use LumaTouch on YouTube.

Designing the user experience

From the humble beginnings on the right, I quickly migrated to the iPad and quite enjoyed this part of the process. I went deep on the apps with great UX that I could apply to Journey — Airbnb (Explore section) and Instagram (Feed) were the main two. Great artists steal, right?

Early UX with pencil and paper

Go raibh maith agat

  • Luke S for all your wireframing help. You are the better Luke.
  • Whimsical for easy user flow diagrams.
  • Adobe Comp and Marvel for making it easy for a punter like myself to put together the original Journey prototype, all on the iPad.
  • Banter Cafe in SoHo for putting up with me for hours at a time. I miss your faces.

Designing the user interface

As my dad always said, ‘bite off more than you can chew, and chew like mad!’. That’s exactly what I did with the UI — it was a painful process. A steep learning curve combined with work that never seemed to end. Until it finally did.


The build

I became obsessed with the Flutter framework, and spent 8 hours a day teaching myself to code. After a month I was good enough to realize I would never be good enough. I got help. I interviewed 20 developers and agencies — it’s difficult to overstate how lucky I was to find Mohan, Sugumar, Bhavani, and the rest of the Smarteer team. I’m so thankful. They are amazing developers and wonderful humans.

The amazing Journey dev team


Test & iterate

The beta release coincided with a sailing course I took in the Costa Brava in Spain. I got the crew on Journey, it was an incredible feeling seeing it come to life. Little did I know how far we were from being able to push it to the public. The testing and iterating continued for months after I got home.

Journey's first users


  • Arun, Alex, Aris, and Maisy for being Journey’s first users.
  • Everyone else that invested time to give their feedback. Paulie, Tom, Dennis, Rosh, Phil, Mietta, Elise, Luke C, Luke S, Alex, DcB, Alan, Jack, Nick and many more (apologies to the rest of you who aren’t springing to mind as I write this).

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