Tips for success


Building momentum for your product

Here are five ways to build momentum and rally the community behind your product:

1. Build other products on Assembly

The best part of LET´s CREATE is the community, and the best way to build relationships is to work with people. When people see that you are smart and driven, they’ll be thrilled to work with you on your product.

A few more benefits of working on various products:

  • It will teach you how LET´s CREATE works and how people use it
  • You’ll end up with a diverse portfolio of App Coin ownership

There is no question that the most effective way to generate interest in your product is to work on other products on LET´s CREATE.

2. Get to work building your product.

Momentum breeds momentum. The more vision and activity that people see, the more excited they’ll be to dive into a product. Also, clear communication of completed and upcoming work will help someone get a great grasp of what you’re doing and how they can help.

3. Organize your work

In addition to starting to build your product, it’s also important to lay out your ideas. That means starting discussions, creating bounties, and posting updates to your product blog.

Tip: Keep your bounties clear, and small in scope. That makes it easy for newcomers to know how to get moving.

4. Documentation

On a technical level, it is always best to have an on boarding process to educate new users about the workings of the product. Whatever has been built already, how does it work? What is the technical structure of the app that has been built (or will be built)? A technical on boarding guide, if even a short one, can dramatically simplify the process of bringing new potential contributors up to speed.

4. Bring your friends

We all have that talented friend we love working with. Or the talented friend we’ve always wanted to work with. Here’s your chance. And, you can even tip your friend a few App Coins so they have a small stake in the product before they arrive.

5. Let us know

The LET´s CREATE team gets inbounds all the time from great people who would love to find a great team to work with. Hop into General chat and tell us what skills and backgrounds you’re looking for – we’ll try our best to send people your way.

As always, the best thing to do is to do what you best: make stuff.

Roadmap

As a leader of your product, it’s important to talk about your roadmap and post regular updates to it. Here are a few pertinent things to include:

  • People: Who’s involved? Who do you need?
  • Work: What’s happened so far? What’s coming up next?
  • Tech: What are you using? What might you use?
  • Vision: Where is this product going? Has that changed?
  • Monetization: How will you make money?

Etiquette

If you want to work on a bounty, first see if it looks like anyone else has been working on it. If not, it’s probably fair game for you to jump in.

If someone has indicated they are working on it but you get the sense they may have moved on, the best thing to do is ask. Sometimes things come up and people can’t finish something they wanted to finish – that’s ok, but it’s always best to communicate.

Community values

Creating community, products, and fun.

That’s pretty much the point of LET´s CREATE. These are not rules, they’re simply a reflection of the values and characteristics we’ve seen help the community thrive so far. Let us know what you think.

Friendliness

Enabling a diversity of opinion is a huge part of why we are building LET´s CREATE. But, we believe in positive, constructive debate. Please try not to be a jerk. We’ll try too.

Inclusion

This is not a developer community or a designer community or a Silicon Valley community. The more welcoming we are to everyone, the better off we’ll all be.

Education We all have a lot to teach, but even more to learn. Let’s seek to always keep learning, and never skip an opportunity to teach someone something new.

Fairness

Fair distribution of ownership is baked into LET´s CREATE in many ways, but it’s not always perfect. Showing respect for people’s time and work in a fair way can help make LET´s CREATE a better place to build products.

Excellence

This doesn’t mean denouncing anyone who falls short of perfection. It just means striving for excellence and helping those around you do the same.

Transparency

Openness is in the DNA of LET´s CREATE as a platform, and has also emerged as a core value of the community. It helps catalyze serendipity, civilize disputes, and improve progress.

Fun

Some of us are here to learn. Others to build large businesses that we can retire on. Others to build products that solve our own problems. No matter why you’re here, we hope you have fun.

Collaboration

Collaboration is what makes LET´s CREATE special. Not all of us are accustomed to working in such a collaborative environment, but when we open up to it, magic can happen.

Ideas

At its inception, a great product idea can often look like anything but a great product idea. Except in rare cases, your idea is only as strong as your execution of it. That said, there are some tactics that might help you come up with ideas, test them, and decide if they are worth pursuing.

Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs and investors know that it’s hard to predict the success of a new product. A great way to improve your chances of success is to talk about what you’re building and launch a version of it as soon as you can.

As a direct result of building Helpful in public, the team got early feedback and validation from potential customers – including ]someone who worked in customer support at Airbnb] for three years.

Coming up with ideas

Most great products are a solution to a problem. The easiest problems to solve tend to be the ones you have yourself, but you might also be able to solve other people’s problems.

It turns out that looking for problems can be much easier than looking for ideas. Anytime you notice something clunky, slow, inefficient or expensive — think about whether you could make it better with software.

Looking at behemoth software products can also be a great source of ideas. Sometimes, you might be able to compete with their full offering – but more often, you can pick off a small segment of their solution and do it better and cheaper than they do. This is a great way to break into a market.

In 2011, when Facebook and Twitter were both at-scale networks with photo-sharing capabilities, it might not have made much sense to launch a photo sharing service. But by focusing on sharing photos on mobile and nothing else, Instagram was able to break off a big enough piece of the social networking space that Facebook paid a billion dollars to own it.

Once you have an idea, you’ll need to be able to pitch it well.

Pitch

Your pitch is not just for customers — you also need to a convincing case for talented people to join in and build with you.

What are the keys to this?

Show that you’re solving a real problem

Demonstrating that you are solving a real problem is a great way to refine both your idea and your pitch. This could be a personal anecdote, a blog post rant that complains about the problem you solve, or a list of early customers already signed up and eager to use your service.

If your plan is to compete with an existing product by staying lean and efficient, then explain just how your idea will cost so much less than the competitors that you’ll be able to differentiate on price in a meaningful way.

Talk about your plan

Are you going to build for the web? Or will you be mobile-first? Why have you chosen that path? Have you chosen the platform that will make the most sense for your users given the problem you’re solving?

When do you hope to ship the beta? How will you reach your early customers?

Challenges

Every product faces big challenges. The best thing you can do is try to be aware of them so you can address them.

Is there a competitor who might move into the space you’re hoping to fill? Is there a complex technical challenge that you aren’t sure you’ll be able to tackle? Is your idea so new that a good amount of user education will be required?

Clarity

A good pitch is concise and clear. Say what you want to say in plain English, and in as few words as you can.

Team communication

Communication is key to collaborative development.

1. Chat

Your product’s chat room is a perpetual forum for any discussion around the product. This is a great place to share small updates with the team, to coordinate schedules and roadmaps, to share relevant articles, or to get to know one another.

If you’re on the Core Team, it’s your responsibility to be somewhat responsive in chat. This is where newcomers will be introducing themselves, and you have the opportunity to welcome them and help find interesting work to dive into.

2. Posts

When a topic needs a bit more input from the community, you can write a post.

It could be about the risks/benefits of using a specific framework or technology, it could be a brainstorm around a tagline or feature name, or it could be a discussion about locking in a launch date.

3. Meetings

Several teams on Assembly have recently been using Hangouts on Air for a weekly planning meeting — and this has been really effective and created a noticeable increase in development speed.

Holding a meeting can benefit your team in many ways:

  • Clarification of ideas and vision
  • Opportunities for differing opinions and ideas to emerge
  • A chance to celebrate recent wins
  • Motivating people around upcoming work
  • Getting to know each other on a more personal level

Hangouts on Air is a great product for these meetings because it’s fast and easy, and the meeting is automatically recorded and uploaded to YouTube for anyone who missed the meeting. But, there are lots of other great tools out there.

Tools

LET´s CREATE is a robust tool, offering features for collaboration, communication and growth of your business. However, there are lots of great tools available on the web that compliment Assembly well. Here are a few favorites:

Screenhero

Screenhero is fantastic for collaboration and pairing. It’s the easiest screen-sharing product we’ve ever used. Rather than scheduling meetings or coordinating over email, Screenhero works like a messaging app. Just click someone’s username, and they’ll receive a prompt to enter screen-sharing.

We’ve seen the LET´s CREATE community leverage Screenhero to help ramp new people up on a product, to iterate on designs and to code side-by-side.

Hangouts on Air

Hangouts on Air works just like Google Hangouts, with two key differences: the Hangout is broadcast live, and it is recorded and uploaded to YouTube.

QuickCast

QuickCast is the easiest way to create short (3 minute) screencasts. Once you’ve installed their Mac app, all you have to do is open it up and press record.

Short screencasts are a really great way to dig through code, demonstrate features and UX flows, and kick off a discussion.

LiceCap

We’ve all noticed the comeback of animated GIFs across the web, especially in the world of memes. However, GIFs are also a lean, fast way to share information. LiceCap is an easy way to make short screencasts into animated GIFs.

Whether you need to explain something in a bounty, demo features for a journal entry, or demonstrate a UI implementation, GIFs can be a fast, easy way to make screenshots more informative.