About a month ago I started writing a small side-project on OpenFounders.io.
There’s been a growth of founders sharing their journey while they build their businesses. It spans so many areas like bootstrapped businesses, solo or team based, venture raised or even no-code. The fact that more founders are publicly sharing got me excited.
However, it was hard to find an aggregate way of discovering founders in my areas of interest. I learned about different startup owners from too many platforms. I wanted a combined way to peek at their journey.
At the same time, I was learning how to develop front end SPAs. I had just finished React and Redux and wanted to put my skills to use — in production!
Brainstorming a solution to the problem
I came up with a few ways of solving this problem:
- Just make a simple twitter list. This is great for a proof of concept but didn’t help me build a web app or share founders who don’t use twitter.
- Make a Google sheet file and share that. An excellent way to prototype and easily shared. However, I still wanted to build an SPA.
- Build a web app with a backend. Hard to build and time consuming, but a great learning experience.
In the end, I chose a combination of #2 and #3, I wrote up a small list of founders in google sheets and shared that info. The engagement exceeded what I was expecting, so I decided to venture into building the web app!
Develping the solution
The idea was simple, create a React app that lets me find founders who share their journey.
This allows me to:
- Learn the React framework
- Deploy an SPA to production
- Separate client and server logic
- Meet other founders!
I generated feedback from the users who tested out my google sheets. They had several things that were pertinent to the success of the application:
- There had to be a way to filter based on some criteria
- There should be social profiles
- The list should be readble and easy to navigate
- RSS feeds to their blogs
Filtering on criteria
My solution to this was using tags. Assign a minimum of one tag per founder that allows the user to filter through. For example, a founder might be no-code whereas another may be a developer. If I wanted to just find developers, I would select the developer tag.
Social profile integration
This was a simple button included in the profile.
One idea I thought of was to integrate a social feed into an extended view. However, I felt that it would be slightly premature to develop this feature since I needed more engagement first.
I focused on having content transition vertically in a linear fashion. I reduce the width of the page to accomodate short reading cycles horizontally. I also simplified the colors dramatically so as not to cause too many distractions.
There’s literally only a few components on the screen: Navbar, subscribe hero, founder list.
RSS Feed integration
This is an exciting idea, but also one that requires more time and effort I would like to devote. Although this produces great user engagement and potential re-visits, it’s something I would like to explore down the line.