Trying to build an app over weekends, worth it?

OSIsoft morActiv
Apr 7 110 Comments

I don't think I will ever switch to that for full time just because I want to have a job security.

I strongly believe in the idea but don't have a clear business plan to make money.

There are too many apps in the area, so I think market size is good; but I am too native to think about how will i market it even though I will make my idea better than all others.

I wish to build this since years but lazy because it's too much of a work to make it industry level. Part of the reason is that now a days everything needs to be on web, Android and iOS at least and additionally browser extension, Mac & windows desktop app, bots etc.
Any suggestions and insights will be helpful.

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TOP 110 Comments
  • Uber
    2muchblind

    Uber

    PRE
    Apple, Microsoft
    2muchblindmore
    Just start building it step by step. It’s easy to make money once you get users.

    And even if you fail, you’ll learn a ton and it’ll be invaluable experience, especially if you want to work for FAANG because they tend to be impressed by entrepreneurship.
    Apr 79
    • Uber / Eng
      meowimacat

      UberEng

      BIO
      Hello humans 😺 this is my owners phone, but he doesn't know that I use it 😼
      meowimacatmore
      FAANG is primarily interested in leetcode abilities instead of entrepreneurs
      Apr 8
    • Tutanota randodata
      @2muchblind

      What about the current interviewing style at high paying tech companies makes you think they want entrepreneurs? Like the guy above said it’s mainly leetcode and watching a bunch of system design videos
      Apr 8
    • Uber
      2muchblind

      Uber

      PRE
      Apple, Microsoft
      2muchblindmore
      Anyone can just study Leetcode and practice design problems. Interviewers
      at FAANG know this, that’s why you’ll never get an L7 at Google with 6 YOE.

      Question is — what have you built from ground up? Have you understood the pain points and changing business requirements of your customers and been able to delivery technology accordingly? How can you keep the business moving when you are extremely resource constrained? This is what tech entrepreneurship gives you.

      At higher levels (whether IC or management) these experiences become more crucial.
      Apr 8
    • Tutanota randodata
      Are you saying if I have a 6-7yoe did leetcode AND have a moderately successful app(not even in the problem space of the company I’m interviewing at) they will give me the honor of interviewing for L7?

      I find it hard to believe
      Apr 8
    • Uber
      2muchblind

      Uber

      PRE
      Apple, Microsoft
      2muchblindmore
      If by app you mean moderately successful business with a team and paying customers, and if you were the CTO/tech lead, then I believe you could get considered for L6 or possibly L7. (Or management equivalent.)

      But note that 6-7 YOE is very little and very few entrepreneurs have anything “fairly successful” at that point.
      Apr 8
    • Square / EngSQ
      Lol L7 with 6 YOE
      Apr 8
    • Twilio / R&DHotPursuit
      @2muchblind, I agree your point on the paper. But in real life, "Google rejected the author of homebrew because he couldn't invert trees". How will we justify this?

      I won't call him an entrepreneur or won't decide his level at Google but I'll definitely call him a passionate developer to implement ideas in real code.
      Apr 8
    • Databricks data4u
      Gayle said he would be a “product owner but not a good software engineer”
      Apr 12
    • Uber
      2muchblind

      Uber

      PRE
      Apple, Microsoft
      2muchblindmore
      Did Gayle really say that @Databricks? Are you being serious?

      @Twilio, unless you’re a very high level manager you still need to play the Leetcode game. I’m sure homeboy would’ve done really well at Google had he flipped some more linked lists in his spare time or some shit.
      Apr 12
  • Amazon / Product
    .🦔...

    AmazonProduct

    BIO
    🤐
    .🦔...more
    DM me and happy to tag team if there’s mutual interest.
    Apr 716
    • Microsoft not-a-dev
      I’m pretty sure outside of your work hours you can do whatever you want, as long as you respect policies similar to what I wrote above. I’m sure amazon has a moonlighting policy too
      Apr 8
    • Apple EdenFruit
      I am not allowed to do anything outside Apple work. They hit me with that the first week and I had instant regrets about taking the job.
      Apr 8
    • Microsoft not-a-dev
      That doesn’t sound lawful
      Apr 8
    • Facebook lyfer
      Are we actually thinking Amazon's legal team will have problems justifying literally anything as competitive?
      Apr 8
    • Bloomberg / EngidFR43
      Whether or not the policy is enforceable varies per state, but for us they encourage contributions to free open source (with approval) - and the process to get approval to had a side business is straight forward as long as it wouldn't compete with the company. The only thing I heard get denied was someone who wanted to recreate existing functionality (and even cited proprietary things) and sell it on the side. Everyone just laughed at him but he saw nothing wrong with the request lol.
      Apr 8
    • Salesforce Zed12
      @EdenFruit If you're in California, I think there's a law to protect you against that, assuming the idea isn't related to their business and you're not building it with their property (e.g. laptop).
      Apr 8
    • Apple EdenFruit
      idFR43, there isn't anything wrong with that request. I have seen it done twice in my earlier career, with companies blessing.

      Of course, the company claimed exclusive partnership for X number of years.
      Apr 8
    • Amazon Ruff1an
      Is there a documented process in Amazon that one can follow to get this exception?
      Apr 8
    • Amazon / EngYoYoda
      @ruff1an I'm sure there is one, just talk to your HR or look up in our policies page
      Apr 9
    • New uythnvd
      damn I’d never sign away what I do in my free time.
      Apr 9
  • Microsoft aDlv82
    My app makes me 10k/mo and really made my life better. At least I don’t care the shits at work that much anymore and it helps me focus on real important thing. I stay in the company because I find it beneficial to my skill, not only money. The skills required for launching apps and working in enterprise are mutual complement.
    Apr 811
    • Microsoft aDlv82
      Just by Ads. So I don’t need to do support that much.
      Apr 8
    • OSIsoft wikendHack
      What's your app? Would be interested in learning more about your success story. Do you have your blog?

      DM if you are uncomfortable sharing your identity publicly on anonymous platform.
      Apr 8
    • SAP
      takka

      SAP

      PRE
      SAP
      takka more
      I’d be interested to hear that story, too
      Apr 8
    • Amazon Dssa
      Same, would love to hear the story
      Apr 8
    • Netflix enjoylyfe
      Same would love to know more. Please DM if you don't want to put it up here
      Apr 8
    • Honeywell / Engthat1guy
      Yea man, at least explain what space you’re in. We’re all hungry for success stories. Is it a game? Is it a tool (level/flashlight/calculator, etc) photo editor, etc.
      Apr 8
    • Xperi helln0
      Interested too. I also have a SaaS idea but didn't yet find the motivation to even start working on it.
      Apr 8
    • Groupon / Othertech100
      Ditto, would love to learn from your success
      Apr 9
    • Microsoft aDlv82
      Hey guys. No plan to give too much details. Just remember to avoid these 2 myths: 1. I need a novel idea to monetize. This is totally false. The easiest way to monetize is to see what everyone is doing and try to do the same. If there’re many players, it just means that the market is lucrative. 2. I need latest/fancy tech to monetize. This is also false from my experience. We basically spent 1 day for MVP. Just put together things we found on Github. The server side is crap as well. But who cares. Anyway we didn’t have users at all. After we spent some budget to grow the user base, we started to receive crash or perf complaint, then we started to improve. Now it is quite robust after 1 year.
      Apr 9
    • SAP
      takka

      SAP

      PRE
      SAP
      takka more
      What are you targeting? B2B? Any free tiers?
      Apr 9
  • Amazon / EngYoYoda
    I'm doing the same. It's nearly impossible to think about the amount of money you have to spend on marketing to attain critical mass for your app. I'm still in a market research phase, doing my hw to make sure it's worth my time to build everything.

    I would advice you to do the same. Here's how I'm approaching my side project.

    1. Define what you wanna build.
    2. Research to find out if users really want your product
    3. Define your MVP
    4. Build them out slowly.
    5. Don't go native, use cross platform frameworks like flutter or react native. They are as good as native but it will save you a lot of time.
    6. Consider cost! How much do you want to spend from your pocket when you launch.
    7. Network and talk to potential investors and partners.

    Good luck to you. I'm happy to share my idea and meet in person to talk more if you are interested, as we are in a similar situation.
    Apr 82
    • Microsoft not-a-dev
      Reality is that if this is a side project, the biggest value is in the learnings made along the way. So, rather than your 7 steps above, I’d recommend just 3:

      1. Consider the costs and if you can afford them (to start it, and to run it)
      2. Build it and figure things along the way
      3. Have fun!
      Apr 8
    • Cruise Automation Gus888
      How do you do market research?
      Apr 9
  • Facebook / Engoldbig
    I've made well above 1M this way
    Apr 87
    • Facebook whodattt
      Doing what?
      Apr 8
    • Apple EdenFruit
      Elaborate, please.
      Apr 8
    • Facebook / Engoldbig
      Building apps on the side and earn ads revenue.
      Apr 8
    • OSIsoft wikendHack
      What apps? Would be interested in learning more.. would be helpful if you can share some more information as this caught an eye.
      Apr 8
    • Honeywell / Engthat1guy
      Yea seriously. You can drop something like that without deets. At least what the hell it was in a broad description.
      Apr 8
    • Facebook / Engoldbig
      Hey guys it's utility apps. I don't want to welcome more competitions to the market obviously, just to tell you it's completely doable.
      Apr 9
    • Facebook whodattt
      Alright then how long ago. This was very well doable when mobile was new. You pretty much would have ridden a wave aince then. Time to market is essential. Today markets are mature and there s no way you ll build a 1M app on the side. Just my $0.02
      Apr 9
  • VMware pOQO24
    I work on my side business almost everyday. I can’t view myself working for a company in the long term. Such a waste of life tbh. So in my opinion, it’s definitely worth it. Learning about online marketing is invaluable and if the app doesn’t make it, something else will.
    Apr 83
    • eBay FMBay
      All of my friends that works at VMware started to do stuff on the side because VMware...
      Apr 8
    • Dell LUHV04
      How do you get started on online marketing ?
      Apr 10
    • Google Mr. Glass
      Where do you learn online marketing?
      Apr 12
  • Lyft jef7b
    I sometimes drive Lyft as my side project. Money is ok.
    Apr 81
  • Facebook whodattt
    Ive done this. If its really niche you can make a couple of bucks. If not too niche and you can make serious income (think above 100k/yr), then likely you re going to get rekt by someone who is doing it full time.
    Apr 83
    • VMware pOQO24
      When you reach 6 figures, you quit your job and do it full time
      Apr 8
    • JB Hunt yajtqxIznv
      But how many apps provide that income consistently? That lifespan seems short unless you can sell it to someone big.
      Apr 8
    • VMware pOQO24
      I am not talking about an app per se. I am talking generally about any type of side business. It’s definitely up to you to determine the future prospects of your business and if quitting your job is justified. But if you re making 100k running your own business “on the side”, you can easily scale that up ten fold doing it full time.
      Apr 8
  • Microsoft aDlv82
    React Native is your friend. No need to write native codes
    Apr 82
    • Google / EngPri
      Or flutter or xamarin
      Apr 8
    • Amazon / EngYoYoda
      Xamarin is paid. So it's flutter vs react native
      Apr 9
  • Dropbox iLUo57
    I have a pretty good game idea (play tested with friends) that has taken forever.

    Shipping is a feature.

    Shipping is just one part of it if you want to it to be profitable.

    It's a lot of work. Be sure you have goals in mind and don't turn a fun or learning goal into creating a profitable app if that is not what you want.
    Apr 88
    • Facebook whodattt
      As someone who has been in games... you have no idea what you re getting yourself into. Gaming is likely the most competitive market for obvious reasons.
      Apr 8
    • Dropbox iLUo57
      Oh, I know. :). But yeah, flappy Bird is 1:1M. Can it happen again? Sure. Your best odds are a great marketing budget.
      Apr 8
    • Amazon mico
      +1 @whodattt
      Apr 8
    • Amazon / Engscoops34
      Isn't Notch a billionaire now?
      Apr 8
    • Amazon / Engscoops34
      I heard the guy that made 2048 or flappy bird was making over $100k/month
      Apr 8
    • Apple EdenFruit
      Got a game in the oven for 5 years now. Its just to hard to joggle a career with business. Never shipped.
      Apr 8
    • Dropbox iLUo57
      Yes, Notch was very creative, worked hard, and hit a creative gold mine. He sold Minecraft for $2B.

      Flappy Bird was a surprise hit. Made aot of money fast (bursty). Probably made fu money in that time frame. Is not the pattern you should plan your career after.
      Apr 8
    • Honeywell / Engthat1guy
      Totally. And the number of apps that are the stupid quick fire gameplay apps like flappy bird, there are thousands of those games.

      A game where a balloon that rises up and you have to swipe away all the dangers. A game that two balls are attracted and you have to make them not hit each other. Etc etc. it’s really just a miracle if something happens to go viral because literally any of these small shit games could.

      Therefore : it’s ridiculous to ever think a game idea will take off. It’s all chance.
      Apr 8
  • Amazon XLRa82
    Too native? Wut
    Apr 81
  • Microsoft / Eng
    cQay24

    MicrosoftEng

    PRE
    VMware, Cisco
    BIO
    Senior Software engineer at Microsoft.
    cQay24more
    Just do it buddy! In my view, the actual value of a software engineer lies in knowing how to solve real world problems independently (using technology) and, then team up once prototype or mvp is in place. Taking this step will not just make you a stronger engineer, but also unfold leadership/entrepreneurial skills. It is as good as or could be better than getting your MBA from Ivy Leagues.

    If doing it, good luck for taking a bold step in your career!
    Apr 90
  • Try to enjoy the process. I’ve launched 3 in my spare time, but I’ve only been able to do that because I was enjoying what I was doing in the moment (be it the design, actual coding, etc.) Also make sure to give yourself time to decompress. It’s easy to get consumed by a project but the outcome and creativity is always better when you’re feeling balanced in other aspects of your life as well
    Apr 80
  • Accenture wKuQ10
    Before building the app. Talk to your customer. And it means in person. If you are serious about your app, you should be serious about your end users. 90 percent of apps fail because customers are non existent. And dont make b2b app until and unless you have millions in the bank. Always remember in software customer is greater than developers.
    Apr 80
  • JOANY / Mgmte^(iπ)+1=0
    If you're asking this question, and you're already skeptical, I would say the answer is almost surely no.
    Apr 81
    • I hate this type of answer. It's ok to be skeptical. Give it some thought to think about and then decide what to do
      Apr 8
  • Indeed / EngKermint
    You won't make money so just build whatever interests you
    Apr 100
  • New .A.
    People who want to build an app just go and build it. They don't ask random strangers on Blind whether they should. It doesn't make sense.
    Apr 80
  • Microsoft / ProductTorn
    Doing the same. PM me if you wannna explore collab. I have Android and backend skills
    Apr 80
  • Amazon mico
    I do have my own apps. My advice is to define your MVP.

    Ping me if you need to outsource some stuff - nothing is free - :)
    Apr 80
  • LinkedIn Zuc
    Hey, let me know if you want to collaborate.
    Apr 80
  • Sage / HR
    khCi60

    SageHR

    PRE
    Coca-Cola, The Home Depot
    BIO
    East coast
    khCi60more
    Very few apps are profitable besides enterprise and games - FYI. App downloads peaked a few years back...
    Apr 83
    • This. On average apps make 10$ or so.

      It's an oversaturated market with plenty of people with too much time. I wouldn't go into this.
      Apr 8
    • Uber
      2muchblind

      Uber

      PRE
      Apple, Microsoft
      2muchblindmore
      Where’s your source?
      Apr 8
    • Remember reading that somewhere. Google it
      Apr 8
  • Eventbrite / Eng
    YSLL21

    EventbriteEng

    BIO
    Ned Stark Bastard
    YSLL21more
    I have been doing that my entire life. Lot of failed stuff, some with moderate success. I have kids and spend all my evenings on side stuff, trying to solve problems and finding good product-market fit. Should I succeed at some point, that will be another overnight success!
    Apr 82
    • Amazon 63784747
      Great! Were you able to earn anything from the side projects?
      Apr 10
    • Eventbrite / Eng
      YSLL21

      EventbriteEng

      BIO
      Ned Stark Bastard
      YSLL21more
      Yeah, but not to the point where I can make it a full time job sadly
      Apr 11
  • Vanguard / Engkrampus
    You should 💯 do it. Forget about money, you will learn a ton and it will be a great experience to talk about in interviews
    Apr 90
  • Autodesk AutoHate
    Just do it! Worst case you'll learn lots
    Apr 80
  • Facebook Redstaplr
    You should try to validate the marker first. Runs a series of painted doors to see if your value prop is that differentiated. Former founder, growth guy and PM here. So this is always my path. Maybe not the best, but the one I know
    Apr 81
  • Google EGC
    If you want PM input, let me know... Would be interested in getting in on cool projects
    Apr 80
  • Citibank ic0n0clast
    I'm working on a audio stream based subscription service web and mobile apps . Good learning experience to manage development with offshore devs. Have times when its frustrating but its worth the money saved compared to the quotes of 40k to 50k from local "dev shops"
    Apr 82
    • OSIsoft wikendHack
      Have you launched your app? What's that?
      Apr 8
    • Citibank ic0n0clast
      Not yet. In testing phase. Customer acquisition costs are going to be pain.
      Apr 8
  • Snapchat dour28
    Make super easy for customers to send you feedback. Read user reviews for you competitors and find pain points. Do one thing significantly better than competitors. Target breadcrumbs from biggest competitors.
    Apr 90
  • Microsoft SatyaNad12
    I’m doing the same!! The least it’s a good learning experience technically, so keep doing
    Apr 80
  • Cisco meowwww
    If you need help DM me
    Apr 80
  • TripAdvisor when2Inter
    Have mobile native, backend, and PM experience
    DM if you‘re looking for collaboration, im always interested!
    Apr 80
  • Yahoo mDli26
    Me and a pal, working on the suggested lines. On phase to a basic usecase by June.
    Apr 80
  • Amazon BeffJezos@
    If you need any UX inputs, just DM!
    Apr 80
  • New TipX68
    Stopping thinking. Learn to lie to yourself when you need to. Do it. The greatest things didn't a market--they created one.
    Apr 120
  • Amazon fKhc35
    Whats the tech stack you are using?
    Apr 80
  • New Dave MO
    Just see if you can do it. The goal is to be able to do a project for no less than $1000 and with the production be above $72/hr. If you learn to build them now and learn to make sustainable apps then you can use that as a framework (aka head start) on real projects.
    Apr 80
  • 1. Move quickly
    2. Be honest about how valuable your app is (https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/14/why-your-startup-may-not-be-as-great-as-everyone-says/)
    3. A full time job sucks up a -lot- of your waking hours. That Puts your app at a disadvantage because.
    Apr 80
  • Capital One / Design257jdx
    DM me if you need a designer
    Apr 80

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