App of the Month 8: Journal 1

After a successful project last month + 5 days, I figured I would keep the ball rolling this month. However, this time I’m going to not do an iOS app. This month will again be tied to my restaurant discovery project from a couple months ago. At that time I said the project would span just two months which seemed reasonable. Things change though, so let me quickly recap the objective and revise my outlook for the work involved.

Objective

I’m trying to solve the issue that many people face every time they plan to dine out: too many restaurants to choose from. This is a perfect example of The Paradox of Choice, at least for my wife and I. We often want to try a new restaurant but then are daunted by all the options and end up going somewhere we already have tried and know we like. If, however, there were significantly fewer choices and each day we looked the choices were different, we would almost certainly have tried many different restaurants.

That’s the goal — provide a service that helps users discover new favorite restaurants.

How I’m Gonna Do It

Originally I thought this would be a two month project. The first month would be to put together a POC/MVP back end that served up unique restaurants around a given address each time it is requested. Ideally this would be new places every day and no reuse within like a 30 day window. The second month was going to be an iOS app that displayed this information to the user. However, I’m pretty certain that is nearly impossible to succeed at.

I did get a really basic POC back end completed the first month. It should be sufficient for the time being. However, reviewing the work that first step took and how hard it is to make a quality iOS app (or anything in general) I have decided to expand this project past just two months. It will be at least three, maybe more. The new steps will be: a POC backend, a POC email list with suggestions, and then probably a mobile app.

Why

Like I mentioned, making a good mobile app takes a lot of work. Trust me, I’ve worked on great apps and they take an amazing amount of work. Also, I’ve worked on simple (and not awesome) apps, so I’ve got perspective. However, I’ve never worked on writing an email list service. That can’t be hard, right? Also, doing something like an email list will allow me to do quick testing and hopefully get something up and running quickly. Also, it should be a low cost option that will not tie me down to any particular platform. On top of this, I can use a simple email list sign-up form as a way to gauge interest in the concept before putting more time and potentially money into the project.

How

As I just mentioned, I’m going to put together a simple email list sign up form that will let anyone that is interested sign up to be notified of when the service comes online or at least opens for beta testers. Also, I’m considering setting up a simple form for submitting information on restaurants that should be included in the service. Initially I will be pulling information from third part services but would like to host my own if the service ever takes off.

Here’s to something entirely new!

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