Shaving the yak

By Ed Vinicombe on Mar 24th, 2016

29 releases in and here we are. Digest 2.3.2! In other words - we’ve done a shit load to The Digest since my last post.

I would never of imagined we’d be where we are today when we launched in December 2015, a lot has happened, a lot has changed, an awful lot of code and marketing has been gutted over and over and started again.

Throwing things on the wall franticly to see what sticks. Something stuck!!??? Repeat - repeat - repeat.

As far as start ups go, the best thing could've possibly happened to me just before thedigest.org launched. I met (who is now) a great friend - who also happens to be a fucking awesome developer.

Kaspar (the lithuanian ghost), came on board and now there are two of us on this journey. It is the best anyone could ask for when starting a project like this. Kaspar has joined me as our CTO and is responsible for every last bit of tech on our site. It’s an absolute blessing and a relief.

We embarked on a fun journey together but not before both realising that the site at the time of launch in its infant form was a piece of shit.

That’s never easy to hear. I just spent the previous 6 months before this moment working my ass off as well many thousands of £ spent on the very first build of The Digest with a developer that I thought I trusted (kinda).

What can you do?

I was lucky that Kaspar came on board and we stuck as many plasters on the damn thing as possible to ship it and get it out of the door. Done. Then - we could iterate. This is the bit that I feel I should write something helpful for people wanting to start their own product and stuff … mmm … let me get back to you on that one.

Looking back now at our first iteration at launch, the site to me is unrecognisable. The code is more stable, we have more users actually using the bloody thing every day, we are hitting our traffic targets, we are slowly but surely getting to where we want to be.

I always thought to myself if one person signed up and learnt something useful on The Digest I would've accomplished what I set out to do.

Amazingly, those goal posts have now been shifted quite dramatically in such a short space of time, which is of course, really cool. We’re setting our sights far wider, raising our expectations accordingly and carefully planning our next move in good time. It’s a gratifying feeling.

The Digest is quickly growing into a recognised place where people want to learn about UX. The more focused and poignant I make that message the clearer our product becomes.

A friend recently enlightened me to a great term that I’m just gonna steal. 'Shaving the yak', depicts exactly where we are on our journey - we came out with this big overgrown mess of a product with loose ideas and ambiguous in direction.

Now, we are honing in, focusing our product and bringing something to market that people find useful and want to share with the rest of the community.

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