Ready to Rumble

The Kitchen Sink

When you try to build this: Unique backsplash
Creative Commons License photo credit: avidtile
you too often end up with this:
when this would have been just great:

It should be as quick and simple as possible for judges to get to the core of your app.

Stick to the Essentials

I’m continuing my walk through Getting Real, the very unofficial guide to Rails Rumble success.  In previous posts I identified a real problem to solve and picked a fight.  Now, it’s time for me to consider Underdo Your Competition and to design Half, Not Half-Assed.

I took my initial list of over 50 vague feature ideas and chopped that in half.  Then, in half again. For example, it would be great to have app owners be able to put the affiliates through an approval process.  Affiliates would not be able to recommend your product until after you have vetted them and approved of them.  This helps keep the quality of your referrals up and has some potential legal benefits as well.  But, for the Rails Rumble (and perhaps even for first production uses of the app), the approval process is not essential.

In fact, this approval step would only make it more difficult for judges to get to the core purpose and features of the app.  For the Rumble, it should be as quick and simple as possible to get to the core of the app.  Putting an approval process in between affiliate sign up and affiliate dashboard would kill chances for a judge to quickly and easily judge the affiliate experience.

The Lure of the 15-Minute Weblog

Rails Rumble teams sometime do not finish.  They end the weekend without a working app. Short of sickness, power-failure, or energy-drink shortage, it is most often simply because they tried to do too much. Why is sticking to the essentials so difficult a concept? Partly it is the Rails community’s own doing.  It’s too easy to think, “Hey, if we can build an entire weblog in 15-minutes, just think what we can do in 48 hours!  That’s like almost 200x the time!”.  When compared against 15 minutes, 48 hours seems like a lot of time.  It’s not.  Take it from someone that’s been there, it’s not.


I have also come to realize that writing about the Rumble and developing Affiliapp is not the same as doing the Rumble and developing Affiliapp.  So, this is likely my last blog post until after this weekend.  I will occasionally tweet (@smeade) and be on irc #railsrumble.

Good luck all Rails Rumblers, a big “Thanks” to the sponsors, and organizers!

3 thoughts on “Ready to Rumble

  1. Great post! It’s very true. Ensure you get a working app with the bare minimum of features to be useful before you start working on the “fun stuff”, the extras that aren’t completely necessary. That’s the approach we took developing last year and it definitely led to our success!

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