For this year’s Rails Rumble I decided to give 37signals’ Getting Real approach a try. It’s a natural fit for the Rumble. After all, the first dozen essays include ‘Build Less’, ‘Fix Time and Budget, Flex Scope’, and ‘Embrace Constraints’.
What’s Your Problem?
One of those first essays is titled What’s Your Problem?, subtitled ‘Build software for yourself’. 37signals’ writes, “A great way to build software is to start out by solving your own problems. You’ll be the target audience and you’ll know what’s important and what’s not. That gives you a great head start on delivering a breakout product.”
Okay, that sounds reasonable and sound, sure. It just so happens to turn out that I do have a problem. My problem is that I want more paid subscribers to my company’s sales team CRM product, PlaybookIQ. More precisely, my immediate problem is that I want more traffic to PlaybookIQ. Once I have more traffic, I can work on optimizing the sign-up and subscriber experience to improve conversion rates. My immediate need: increase traffic. So it’s decided: my Rails Rumble app will help solve my problem and help drive more traffic to PlaybookIQ. I’ll be my Rumble app’s first user and if it turns out others find it useful, that will be a great bonus.
Getting Real is a how-to manual for competing in the Rails Rumble.
Okay, this pretty easy. Let’s take a look and see what other guidance is in this Rails Rumble how-to manual. Another piece of advice from 37signals is to Have an Enemy.
Have an Enemy
What are some ways to increase traffic to a website? Advertising, SEO, ad-words, email blasts, affiliates, pagerank, pop-ups, redirects… the list goes on and on. The problem is that any method you can think of has been hijacked by the ‘get rich quick’ crowd promising #1 page rank overnight or 5 million qualified opted-in email addresses, or work-from-home affiliate link-ups. The sales material and overall aura of some of the offers I’ve seen in my junk email folder border on sleazy.
There are no overnight solutions to increasing website traffic. There is no magic formula. There is no $39.99 e-book (“Today only: just $19.99”) that will bring swarms of eager buyers to your website. Those in the traffic-building industry write a good sales letter, but do not – and can not – promise any actual results.
While I cannot do anything to change the image of that industry, I can offer a product that brings a fresh look and feel and an unheard of ease of use to the traffic building business. I’ll build a product that does not look like a slick sales letter or feel like a smoky casino.
Not like a slick sales letter or a smoky casino.
Okay, I’m riled up now! I’ve got a problem, I’ve got an enemy. Let’s go get ’em! I’m ready to kick some butt! So, how do we do that?
In the next posts, I’ll work my Rails Rumble app through chapters such as What’s the Big Idea, Feature Selection, and Interface Design on our road toward Rails Rumble weekend.
Think you know what my app is going to be? I’ll definitely announce it in the next post when we talk about the Getting Real essay: What’s the Big Idea.