We recently decided that we want to build an EBates like cashback site that will pay you back in digital currency, Bitcoin or Ethereum, for shopping at your favorite stores. We are calling it Dealbit! Later on, our app will even let you spend that digital currency to buy exclusive stuff and receive discounts using cryptocurrency.
More importantly, as people that fundamentally believe in the value of cryptocurrency and the world changing revolution it is about to bring, we want to elevate the profile of Bitcoin and Ethereum in the long run by contributing with a great product.
With that, we launched our "get early access" campaign to see how many people would actually be interested in our idea. I'm happy to say hundreds have signed up for early access on our landing page. People want to get their hands on cryptocurrency and they want to do it in ways that aren't just for geeks like us; mining or trading. So, we want to build a great product that does not suck and one that will bring lots of newcomers to this space. More importantly, as people that fundamentally believe in the value of cryptocurrency and the world changing revolution it is about to bring, we want to elevate the profile of Bitcoin and Ethereum in the long run by contributing with a great product.
Testing the idea.
We were always committed to building this product but, with real people waiting, we want to build something amazing and we want to iterate on it fast. Having that pressure is incredibly motivating, I highly recommend seeing if there is an audience for your idea. How can you build an MVP that does not suck if you can’t answer even the most basic question; Will anyone use it in the first place? Even a bad landing page like ours can work just fine to test if there is traction with your idea.
How can you build an MVP that does not suck if you can’t answer even the most basic question; Will anyone use it in the first place?
When an idea has real traction that is super motivating. There is nothing like building a product when you know you have some real customers waiting. Of course, with the power of having users waiting comes with the responsibility of delivering… We want to make sure we don't let anyone down and that all of our beta access participants love our product. So this is about some of that iteration we have gone though so far, we are sharing this with the hope that you'll understand that we have a long way to go still. Once we saw traction we started putting together some of the other pages on the site.
Take a look at some of those:
Our gated registration, which is dead simple as are many of the other pages on the site.
The whole team has experience building great products, myself included. Still, we know that it's easy to mess things up; user experience is hard. Engineering is hard and building the technology to do this right, giving people free wallets, issuing crypto in real-time and making sure it is all secure is no easy feat. We got our simple mockup and the story-boarding of the parts of the app the user will spend the most time on. We got our Trello board going, we got our architecture diagrams ready for our backend, and we got to handing out tasks and building this thing. To be fair, likely, you need very little of this in the very beginning but it's great to do this if you have a team.
The whole team has experience building great products, myself included. Still we know that it's easy to mess things up; user experience is hard.
The most important thing to us is that we want users to have a great experience when they login and we want them to keep coming back and to see how much their rewards have grown. So, we decided to focus heavily on that. The first version didn't make much sense. We had people who knew nothing about cashback sites or digital currency take a look and they were confused.
Iterate on it.
We are iterating fast and we started breaking things up into more coherent parts. We also realized that we need great wording and lots of that great wording is used to communicate what digital currency is. The best way we know how to do this is with blog posts and we are immediately focused on getting our blog up. Happy to say that is now up and running using Ghost, which is pretty awesome for that sort of thing, but you can use any platform. We took a first pass at writing a few posts about the areas people had the most questions on. We have a long way to go to educate newcomers about crypto, that’s for sure, and bring new people to cashback and rewards sites. Although most product people will tell you to avoid the fluff but sometimes it makes a lot of sense to get a blog going at the same time you start building your product. This is something I highly recommend doing if you don't want your MVP to suck; a blog will help people understand your product and it will get the conversation going. Getting feedback is also much easier from places like Reddit, people want something interesting to read.
As we started receiving feedback from friends and family who knew nothing about cashback sites or digital currency it became evident that we need to simplify things.
We have built a ton of services on the backend that orchestrate the flow of orders from partners, the creation of wallets, sending of emails, and many other critical features for this MVP. That is likely a blog post on its own; the tech stack we are using here. The most important thing about what we are building, though, is that it is there so users get paid as quickly as possible. We are doing all of this so users can get all of the upside and growth of these magical digital currencies as possible. The big leg up we have on EBates is that they will send you a check through snail mail, in like 3 months, while we will issue crypto immediately.
We hope to keep building Dealbit for the foreseeable future. We have a grand vision for our product but thought we would share some really early work. To shamelessly get some honest feedback from you, the reader, but to also share our experience and process of building something like this with our small team in hopes that it might help you.
Thanks for reading!