As developers, we get all sorts of hair-brained ideas. I hope I'm not the only one who has a Google Domains account riddled with the land of misfit domains. And so it was no surprise that I had another idea while on a business trip with my product manager this week.
This one was different though.
I didn't start how I usually start - building out the database and sketching out architecture charts (my own personal favorite parts of web development). I started with something else...something I was always told to start with.
I started with the marketing. And it started snowballing from there. Once I was there I got excited about it, and I launched it like I've never launched something before.
This how I took upvid.app from idea -> public in 3 hours.
I was having a conversation with my (non-engineer) product manager. He was complaining about having to step through YouTube or Dropbox's process to get a public URL to a video. I then asked him, "Well, why don't you use Sharepoint or Google Drive." And he said he wanted to be able to give the video a name, be able to search the videos, and be able to "click to copy" the URL.
When I tried to convince him that he could still do those things in Sharepoint or Google Drive, he finally admitted that he wanted something "simpler" and that he'd be willing to pay for it.
The idea - A STUPID simple way of uploading a video and getting returned a not-easily-discoverable public URL to that video.
We left the office to go back to our hotel before he had to go to dinner, but all I could think about was this idea. It was so simple, it almost seemed too simple to be a real solution to a problem.
I looked it up, and I couldn't find anything that would let me upload a video file and get a public URL in return. Nothing. There were videos on how to do it with dropbox, google drive, youtube, zoom, etc...but no specific service for it.
Well, I thought to myself, if I have only one paying customer, that would be fun enough to do it.
So I set about figuring out a name, something I'm usually AWFUL at.
But again, this idea is different.
Almost immediately it came to me. What do we want to do here?
Upload a video
That's what it was, that's what it had to be. And while the .com was registered, the .app wasn't.
Quickest $14 I've ever spent.
The Name - UpVid
I've never designed a public facing logo in my entire life.
But this idea was different.
We're uploading video, right? Do a logo with an arrow up.
By this time, I'm absolutely rolling, and I'm not letting anything stand in my way...
But let me say - neither design nor marketing is an incredible strength of mine. I'm a web developer. That's what I'm great at, and I try to stay in that lane as much as possible. So trying to build this idea completely from scratch was proving daunting. I had built other things from scratch, but never something I had been this excited about.
And then it hit me...I wanted a simple video uploader, right? Then I had to keep the whole thing simple.
The Landing Page - A slight green gradient background with an email capture form for the beta signup...and three sentences. (Go to the site to see what they are! upvid.app.
This one was interesting to me...I needed to set up a connection between my website and a way to email people who were interested in the beta.
This was the first time I had ever done email collection by myself. I'm very involved in my company's marketing efforts, but I'd never done it for a product I'd built myself! It felt great to have that control and that ownership. So, I drew on what I do at work, and connected my Netlify form with Zapier to a small email marketing CRM we use.
The connection - Netlify -> Zapier -> Email CRM
I guess there isn't one yet!! You, the great reader, are the first to hear of this idea outside of my product manager! I'm so excited about this that I had to write about it!
But what say you, dev.to community? Does this seem interesting to you? If it does, give me a shout in the comments, or, put your email in my beta list!!