Roughly 9 months ago I decided to re-launch my side project hubinterviews.com into something more. I wanted to challenge myself on a scale I had never done so before . I wanted to be able to pour my all into something. I wanted to be creative again, to watch something grow from nothing into something.
I had been toying with an idea of a gated, exclusive community led site that shared insightful and thought provoking pieces with each other. After seeing a few publishing tools do something fairly similar I noticed that there was one difference.
The quality of content.
I wanted a space where like-minded people could write and share ideas/thoughts with each other, but not just anything. I don't want to stumble across stories of pets or dogs with helmets on. Nor did I want to churn out article after article to satisfy a pool of users who need news every second of the day. No - this had to be controlled, carefully considered and the quality of the content had to become the prime directive if this wanted any chance of success.
Digest was born and I started to jot down ideas and sketches on how this platform could work. I asked a designer I admired a lot, Tim Boelaars, to design me a logo so I could start to imagine what this would look like. It was exciting.
I needed money but didn't really know the best way to procure the funds I needed to give this idea some life. I asked an old buddy of mine John O'Nolan of Ghost for a few tips and guidance and as always, John was there to help. "It's not what you know, it's who you know" has never rung so true in an age where communication has never been easier. One skype call - boom - done. Accurate, proper & useful advice. It gives you confidence. It spurs you on.
Finding developers can be a fucking minefield. Finding someone who you get on with and trust is just as important as how capable they are of completing the work. What's a realistic time frame? Is he pulling my trousers down with quotes? These are all things you have to take a leap of faith with and hope for the best. But, at the end of the day if your gut tells you it's not right - there is always someone else ready to help you. The development community is great for that.
I became fascinated with regular research and analysis of competitors for what features they were releasing before I stopped and realised. My product wasn't going to fail because of my competitors - it would fail because my product might not offer something unique. I'm not interested in what products are doing but more so, what their not doing. What can I piss my competitors off with? What do they not have?
As you're reading this you are looking at 9 months of stress, hell & little sleep. What we're hoping to achieve with Digest is dwarfed in comparison with other products but that's not the point. It's relative to me and my experience which has been one of the most fulfilling times in my life.
I've done this easy bit of building Digest along with the help of many people but now the hard work really begins. Creating a sustainable business that can help people in some shape or form is one heck of a challenge. But, it's a challenge I am looking forward to more than anything in the world.