Nick Mudge Ignition Software Consulting & Development

One of the things I really like in Paul Graham's interview in Founders at Work is a focus on programming and great software:

What we really thought we needed to do was write more software. We were software guys. Maybe someone who knew more about business would be thinking about going and getting customers, but frankly the idea of customers frightened us. We thought, "Before we go get any customers, why don't we just write a few thousand lines of code?" ... We wrote a lot of software. We thought, "That's what we're good at. That's what we'll do." ... I found I could actually sell moderately well. I could convince people of stuff. I learned a trick for doing this: to tell the truth. A lot of people think that the way to convince people of things is to be eloquent—to have some bag of tricks for sliding conclusions into their brains. But there's also a sort of hack that you can use if you are not a very good salesman, which is simply tell people the truth. Our strategy for selling our software to people was: make the best software and tell them, truthfully, "this is the best software." And they could tell we were telling the truth.

I've been working on a piece of software for some time. I was a news editor for a couple years and have been a full time web programmer for the last six months. My project is an outlet for things I've found on the web, things I've learned and loved in my work, and new ideas.

I released my project very early on because I was hoping that I could get some good feedback on it and some initial users. I got some feedback by asking some people, but in general I haven't gotten as much feedback as I've wanted. Getting some initial users hasn't gone well. fazil is the only consistent user besides myself. I'm not sure what the main reason is that it hasn't gotten a few more initial users. Maybe it just sucks too much. Sure, thanks.

I haven't promoted it much because I haven't felt that it was ready yet (and I feel like promoting it a lot right now wouldn't do much). But it is ready for some users now. It is useful now. I love what it does now and I use it. You can use it for some of the same things you'd use del.icio.us for. It has some similar uses as del.icio.us but it is also different.

I am worried about users. I want to make something people really want. So I'm going to write a few thousand lines of code. I'm going to keep adding features, make it look better and make it more understandable.

When things are tough, write some more software.

I love how Joshua Schachter describes describing del.ico.us, from Founders at Work:

It is a challenging product to do conceptually. It's not something like, "Let you file your taxes better." There's no clear value proposition here. It is valuable, but hard to understand. You will be able to remember more things this way, and with that, people don't even realize there's a problem. So that's a challenging value proposition to explain or get across. Ultimately, I think people who understand it are better for it, but it's a challenge.

My project is newsconomy.com

Comments

IdeaTagger
www.ideatagging.com
29 December 2007

One thing I would suggest is - try putting the About Newsconomy link at the top of the home page as opposed to the bottom where it is now. I was about to exit the site for lack of knowing what it was about, but one last scroll down revealed the link.

If you are not doing so already, you should consider using some analytics software to see if people are reading your About page. If they are and still not signing up, then perhaps you need to spell out the value proposition better - however difficult that may be.
Nick Mudge
29 December 2007

Hey, thanks very much. That's a really good idea. I think I'll move the About Newsconomy to the top of the page and figure out some ways to explain the site more.
mynameishere
29 December 2007

Here's the link to the "about" page:

http://www.nickmudge.info/?post=34

It is completely befuddling.
Nick Mudge
29 December 2007

Good to know! Here's a link to a list of items that explain more about newsconomy: http://newsconomy.com/tag/newsconomy
Larry Kubin
www.larrykubin.com
29 December 2007

First of all, congrats on actually having a good, useful product up and running. If I were you, I'd probably put more work into explaining the site's purpose right there on the front page. The site is easy enough to sign up for and use, it's just that I don't know what I'm doing there initially, especially if I'm someone who has never used del.icio.us or another social media site.

I did like the simplicity of the submission process, but my first confusion was why I am required to set a price for the link and why I would want to do such a thing.

The site is nice and clean, but I suspect it will be hard to get users initially since it's hard to tell what distinguishes it from del.icio.us and other sites that people already have accounts on.

Also, is there a Firefox extension that makes it easy to submit something as I'm browsing, rather than having to go to newsconomy directly?

So yeah, nice start and it looks like you have all of the right building blocks, but I'd probably first put more efforts into explaining the concepts and motivation for using the site.
Nick Mudge
29 December 2007

Larry, thanks so much for your input. It is very helpful. About the firefox extension, I've been thinking for some time of making browser buttons people could use to really easily submit items to newsconomy. A firefox extension would be great too.
Jonathan Watmough
jonathanwatmough.com
30 December 2007

It looks cool, but you need a paragraph on the homepage that summarizes what's going on. Is it a currency market? Can you vote on news?

I think the confused format at the top of the screen put me off a little, and even on my giant MBP, there are links trailing off the bottom of the screen, whereas the right side of the screen is empty.

news.ycombinator.com has a much nicer tighter layout.

I wouldn't give up, it looks really promising. Maybe just work on presentation a little. ;-) I hope this isn't construed as a flame. Good luck!
Trey
1 January 2008

I like your articles. Looks like it is coming along.

tm
Amy
www.peptogirl.com
2 January 2008

Hey, Nick! The site is really cool. It looks like it's coming along. As a designer, I would suggest adding some design elements. It doesn't have to be too fancy, just some simple colors or graphics. I'd be happy to help, just let me know ;) And I agree on making the about page easier to find or just a paragraph on the homepage so people know what the site is about. Good luck!
Name: (required)
Email: (required)
Website:
What has four legs, rhymes with bat and says, "Meow?" (One word answer.)
Spam Filter: