Polling Hacker News: What should I build next?

Having implemented and launched a large swath of new Turn-O-Phrase functionality over the last 2 months (namely, the puzzle designer and the custom puzzle user flow), I find myself at the proverbial crossroads. On a whim and without hoping for any real response, I decided to ask Hacker News what I should be building next.

I got really lucky and the poll got upvoted enough times to stay on the ‘new’ page for more than 3 hours, ensuring that a lot of people saw it and had a chance to vote. Some 125 kind souls ended up voting, which I consider a huge, statistically-significant success. There were also quite a few constructive comments and criticisms.

Here are the results:

  • 48 votes – Timelines – Interactive web-based timeline builder. Basically a diagramming tool focused on making gorgeous timelines, project plans, roadmaps, etc.
  • 32 votes – TwitterContests – Twitter contest generator. Running a raffle or a giveaway on Twitter is a bitch. This app is a way to automate that. Set the criteria for winner selection, timing and ways to qualify, then collect analytics.
  • 30 votes – HairCue – Mobile app which allows you or your hairdresser to take pictures of you after a haircut so you always have something to refer to next time you go + social around that.
  • 15 votes – Re:Trip – TripIt application that generates a beautiful visualization of your travel history. Sharable and vanity driven. Already started work on this one.

Some interpretation can be fitted to pretty much any outcome, but I cannot say that I was not surprised. First, I didn’t think Timelines and HairCue would do so well. Second, I didn’t think Re:Trip would do so poorly. I think TwitterContest’s relative position is pretty much what I would have expected, so if I had to guess I would have guessed that the vote would be something like:

Re:Trip – TwitterContests – Timelines – HairCue

I suspect Re:Trip didn’t do well because Hacker News is not exactly a community of frequent business travelers, and it’s difficult to appreciate the vanity factor attached to travel without actually traveling a lot. That’s probably the reason it go virtually no love – a distant 4th. HairCue, on the other hand, did really well, and this on Hacker News of all places.

So this is great: I now have a lot of new input and feedback to digest and to square against the actual difficulty of building these things. At first glance, it seems that what I should work on TwitterContests first, because it pretty much reuses all the tech I am already comfortable with. But I already started on Re:Trip, so should I put that on hold?

Meanwhile, my call for collaborators has so far been unanswered, so it still looks like I will be the one building these things. Go figure.

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5 responses to “Polling Hacker News: What should I build next?

  1. You should go on with Re:Trip, sounds like a really awesome idea (Coming from someone who does a lot of travelling)

  2. One thing I thought about for the Twitter giveaways is enabling monetary prizes. So you’d pay $10 to the app, which would then award it randomly to one of your followers. This way the app could take a share of the prize (say, 1$ per giveaway) and earn some money this way. Don’t know if Twitter ToS would let you do that, though…

    • Sacha, I feel like the transactions have to somehow be meaningful. I am not sure this is it, because I rarely randomly give money away to my followers/friends in real life. :) That being said, I think there is some intersection of legitimate prize-drawing behavior and using the Twitter ecosystem to support and enable it. Hopefully, if I ever build this app, it’s going to be about that.

  3. Pingback: Thinking of Going to a Hackathon? | turning things into products

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