The Evolution of An Idea: SecretPo.st
Born of a Personal Need
Married life is awesome, you can quote me on that. I sometimes find it difficult to tell me wife deep and emotional thoughts, which is something I’ve been working on since our marriage in 2008 and ultimately something I will continue to work on until the end of my time on this planet. At one point I thought I could be clever and write my wife a note – I find it easier to express things in writing than with words. But I wouldn’t necessarily want to be present at the time of her reading it. This lead to two ideas:
- Write a note that she won’t find until I’m out of the house for the day
- Give her a note with instructions to not open it until I’m out of the house for the day
Neither seemed foolproof and in my brainstorming, I came up with the idea for a message I could email to her, but one that wouldn’t open for a certain amount of time. A time-locked message, one that would display a teaser and a countdown timer until it was time to view the message.
The thought evolved to more than just deeply emotional confessions. I thought of a scenario where a message would open reading “I’m outside, bags are packed. We’re going on vacation.”, precisely at the time I would be waiting outside in a car, with packed bags, ready to take the love of my life on a vacation.
The thought was born and I planned out the MVP, which you can read more about in an article yet to be written. I first built the app on a subdomain of my wife’s website. It’s a personal project, no need to open it to the public. But the idea actually excited me, in a way that lead me to believe that other people would have fun sending these messages as well. So I put it on a public domain with a crazy disclaimer that more or less explains that it is a project, not a business, and runs a risk of being shut down at any time.
The Need Redefined
While my initial need was to create a space to confess deep thoughts to my significant other, it evolved into this idea of sending time-locked messages. Once the idea evolved in that direction, the focus became sending secret messages, deep or otherwise. Secret messages, however, don’t need to be time-locked. And so, the following message ideas were born:
and I’m sure there will be more to come. The need is now different and in a way it has gone from something more serious to something more fun. I’m ok with this paradigm because I can still use this fun tool for something serious if I feel the need to do so.
I’ll write more about the MVP process, as well as the naming process a bit later. They’re both part of evolution of the actual product, but are a little too deep to be written up in this article.
This Blog Has Evolved
It’s always important to figure out what problem you’re really trying to solve before setting out on a long journey. In the case of SecretPo.sts, I had a good idea of what I wanted to solve, but not all that good of an idea of how to solve it. And so a slightly different idea was born.
In the case of LaunchRiot, I had a fairly complex solution I wanted to build and in fact started building it. But after rethinking and redefining the idea, it became a fairly simple and personal blog. This blog remains a simple component of a complex overall goal, so in a way you could say the experience was a backwards evolution (or devolution).
I’m brining it up because it’s important to note that when you’re thinking of an idea, you should open to it going in any direction, both “backwards” or “forwards”. Learn to question yourself, learn to pivot and most of all learn to listen.