Seeing your baby for the first time

Much like pregnancy, the process of developing an app is also long, drawn out and at times, painful. (okay don't read too much into that analogy).  

The point is, the most exciting part of the whole process is finally welcoming your fresh new little app into the world. All your hopes and dreams are wrapped up in this little bundle of code. Like a baby it's fragile and innocent, and the opportunities for it out there in the big scary world are limitless.  

This week, I saw my baby for the first time. In his typical nonchalant style, developer Ben sat down with me in the pub, pulled out his phone and casually fired up STAMP V1.0. It was a magical moment. Did I cry? Maybe. Did I act like 9 year old me when I got a Playstation for Christmas? Most definitely. 

I won't lie. It was weirdly exhilirating to be able to tap and touch the real thing rather than a series of connected photoshop screens. What was more impressive was that it actually kinda worked, sort of. Well some bits worked and some bits didn't, but that's not the point.  

What had started out as a crudely composed pencil drawing on a piece of A3 paper was now a semi-functioning mobile application on an android phone. Progress! All thoughts of delays and the Developers Paradox (see here) slipped my mind as I hungrily poked and prodded my app - seeing what it could do. 

In the lonely world of startups and app development, you need to cherish the good bits as and when they come along (which isn't often). I thought back to all the conversations I'd had with family, friends and NDA-toting founders who I wish I could have live demoed STAMP to. Now that was soon to be a reality. 

And so we got down to the real work of listing all the things in the app that did work as expected, didn't work well and didn't work at all. Needless to say the latter two headings were well populated by the end of the session. A couple more pints later and I had the courage to ask: "So when can the beta go ahead?" 

Developer Ben: "Wait, what happened to the alpha-test?" 

Shit.

Three pints and a scarily extensive snagging list later we had agreed to two things. A date for the alpha and a date for the beta. 

Engage beta tester hype mode. 

I fired up my laptop and blew the dust off our previously dormant MailChimp account. The slowly growing beta tester list was about to be actively engaged. A bead of sweat ran down my forehead and my hands shook as I pulled together an email template. The subject line? 'The STAMP beta programme: Coming November 2016'. Do you schedule emails to beta testers? Whens the optimum time to fire out emails? Is it like a Tweet? Would they remember who we are? 

The self-doubt was too much and I scheduled for email shot for that evening. Mobilisation had begun. No going back now. In a matter of weeks, people will be using STAMP. Then the real work begins...

'til next time, 

Sandy

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