How we built an app in a week and won the Product Hunt hackaton

We created a Product Hunt contest winning app in 5 days. In this series we share our successes and failures in an attempt to build a successful product.

After registering late, we now had to work fast. After a quick and dirty scoping session we began setting up the MTurk API connection and designing the interface. Using our own Base* template, a basic Bubble app that has most of the standard app features like basic front end UI, navigation, user management and a backend database, we started the new app from scratch on a Monday and were just in time to deliver MirrorMirror the following Saturday morning. Client work continued in the meantime, so it was an experience our families didn’t fully appreciate…

The point of no return…

Seeing the amount of features you can develop with a clear scope and our own pre-built elements, it’s hard to argue against the power of low and no-code solutions. We created an interface for users to create a test with images or text and even html. Each user has his own dashboard with an overview of all the tests created and a detailed overview of the the test results.

We implemented transactional emails to notify users when their tests were completed, built the Turker interface where the respondents go and make their choice and created a feed with curated public tests that we display on the landing page. On top of that we made an admin dashboard where we could allocate free credit and keep track of users and Mirrors created.

I was with my daughter at swim class when suddenly my phone went crazy.

Seeing the competition when voting opened made us pretty confident about our chances of winning with MirrorMirror. Yes, there were some really nice ideas in our category but *obviously* nothing came close to the app and features we had. I mean, we even had a nice landing page!

Being the proud parents of our first public app, we did what all proud parents do when they get the chance: talk about their baby to anyone who may be listening. We turned to the community and created a post to celebrate our contest submission in an attempt to get some votes. Additionally, we really hoped to get some nice (or not so nice) feedback from users. The results were….. not what we expected!

While we appreciated the support from the community, there was ONLY ONE free Mirror (we gave out one free test per user that we paid for ourselves) created on the app in the two weeks during the contest. Why didn’t anyone create a Mirror?

Our first REAL Mirror

This was supposed to be THE tool for designers and entrepreneurs to validate their designs and ideas and make smarter business decisions as a result, mind you.

The results told us something else. One test out of five people who signed up in over two weeks. We implemented some quick fixes and saw some increase in traffic but our confidence had dropped to an all time low.

The day of the Product Hunt winners announcement, I was with my daughter at swim class when suddenly my phone went crazy. Hotjar exploded and people were commenting on our forum post. It was only until we got back home that I realized we had won our category. I couldn’t believe we actually won. This was exciting and promising at the same time!

So here we are, we won the Product Hunt Makers festival (ok, yes, for our category), have a pretty solid and bug free product. Now what?

In the next articles we want to go on a journey of discovering how we can reach our goals for this app and share what happens in the process.

Spent: 350h

Earned: $0

Please let us know how we can improve this series. Is there anything specific you’d like to know about this project?

Part 1: Building a successful startup. How hard can it be?

How we built an app in a week and won the Product Hunt hackaton was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
04/25/2019 - 08:47

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