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