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Jason Leow ~
Jason Leow ~

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Micro-SaaS: single-feature 'vending machine' web apps

What are the single feature apps that would be fun to make? Let's brainstorm!

Here’s one trend-setting tweet in 2017 by @levelsio:

Here’s a new trend: fast food-type web apps. They’re single feature apps that do one thing, charge $ quickly and give instant gratification.

They have some characteristics:

  • tiny
  • single feature
  • no sign up
  • fast user flow (<1 min)
  • low price
  • charge $ quickly_

They grew out of the MVP trend, but we realized it’s not just us who like minimal, users like it too. No giant app with 100 features. A tiny app with 1 feature for one flat price. As a dev (or studio) you need about 10 of these (at $1,000/m-$5,000/m) to make a solid income ($10,000/m-$50,000/m). Homework exercise: think of something that you can charge $1-$5 for a single feature web app, that’s easily shareable and can go viral.

“I really love this trend — it makes websites feel like vending machines, in a good way.”

“Examples of fast-food apps: go to fiverr or ifttt and explore those small gigs/jobs which have users. E.g your resume as an infographics etc”

I love the entire thread. A treasure throve of ideas and inspiration for micro-SaaS. I love the idea of a single feature app, easy to code, and low bar to purchase. On top of that, single feature means less support needed, and less maintenance too. To be honest, making a full-featured SaaS feels daunting for me now, so breaking down the learning journey into smaller steps like this makes it more approachable.

Since he gave homework, I thought a little brainstorm would be fun:

  • Mindful work bell timer
  • Google Analytics counter widget to show just page views / users
  • Collections for Twitter bookmarks
  • Nocode tool to create simple Chrome extensions that show content
  • Nagging web app to email/sms/message you multiple times per day until you complete the task
  • Embeddable blog that works on Carrd
  • Embeddable calendars on Carrd/JAMstack
  • Embeddable news tickers or banners on Carrd/JAMstack
  • Embeddable polls on Carrd/JAMstack
  • Embeddable upload form on Carrd/JAMstack
  • Embeddable sliders on Carrd/JAMstack
  • Embeddable maps on Carrd/JAMstack
  • Embeddable floating buy/subscribe buttons on Carrd/JAMstack
  • Convert PDF to fillable PDF
  • Convert PDF to Excel/Word
  • Convert Excel calculator into web app/page

What else? Any ideas for a single-feature web app that will help you?

Follow my daily writings on Lifelog, where I write about learning to code, goals, productivity, indie hacking and tech for good.

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