For the last few months, with my co-founder Łukasz, we have been developing Personal Discount. It’s an application for e-commerce websites, allowing to generate and send unique coupons on events such as a new email subscriber.
Personal Discount started as a Shopify app. The initial version has been developed by Łukasz alone, and he got some good feedback from his users. After a few months of steady growth, the feature requests accumulated.
Around this time, Łukasz and I meet on Indie Hackers, a forum where entrepreneurs hang out and build products.
We didn’t know each other at this time but after a quick call, we just decided to associate. On the internet, is often as simple as this. The goal was to expand further the supported platforms and to answer the many feature requests.
It’s exciting to start a new project. In the following months, we added support for WooCommerce and Magento 2. Turned out our collaboration was very productive!
Łukasz is living in Poland, and I’m living in Nantes, France. As a consequence, we never meet in person, and we are working 100% remotely. The communication is done using good old Skype, which is enough for our 2-3 calls per weeks.
From the start, we kept communicating through the day using text messages, and it’s been working quite well. I think this daily communication has played a good part in maintaining our motivation.
Also, every Sunday, we respect a healthy limit by not working or even communicating.
Since Łukasz already had a Shopify app when we started, we had a pretty good idea of how the application should behave. The first step was to develop the essential selling feature: generating coupons for new subscribers. We then started to put the communication with users at the center of our product, allowing us to prioritize the next features.
We tried to help every customer the better we could, without trying to sell them anything. For example, when a Chinese user registered on our app, we sent him a welcome email in Chinese.
While communicating, we found a few potential users asking for a Magento 2 integration. That’s how we decided to develop it.
Many developers are excited to try new technologies. I wanted to start developing the platform using a new language (Elixir and Phoenix), which I didn’t know at this time.
But it’s often not a good idea for the business. Finally, we decided to go with old but proven technology (PHP and Symfony), allowing us to develop features faster.
We will continue to iterate on our product, adding the most wanted features first. The marketing is our biggest weakness, but we’re working on it! I will try to publish at least one article per week, we will see how far it brings us.