483 Versions. The truth about how awesome products are made
Iconify is changing how creatives create, curate, and share their portfolios. The service allows users to create their personal online portfolios which are accessible to potential clients and the public via the web and smartphone and tablet apps. So, a week after Iconify left private beta (where it amassed over 8,000 users) we asked its co-founder, Bronson Taylor, to tell us how they got to this stage; and what keeps the team – Lucas Taylor (Developer), Brian Wentloff (Developer), Doug Logue (Business Development) – creating and developing.
Over to Bronson;
The Iconify.co (@geticonify | Facebook) story is one of soberness and progress; we possessed the humility to know that our product could be better, and we had the energy and insights to move it forward, painful step by painful step.
483 versions. That’s how many PSD files it took to get the design of Iconify to a place where it was aesthetically tolerable. 7 days. That’s how long our engineers had to completely rewrite the backend user experience before our private beta, because it was merely functional, not substantially better than what consumers were accustomed to. Mobile only. That was our initial strategy until we realized that we could replace people’s current portfolios on every platform instead of just being an extension of their existing one.
If we had launched with our first mockup, left the boring backend alone, and kept a mobile only strategy, then I can assure you of a few things. We wouldn’t have over 8,000 signups in a crowded market without a customer acquisition budget. We wouldn’t be profitable from day 1. We wouldn’t have investors coming to us (which we turned down). And we wouldn’t be proud of what we had created. In short, the secret of Iconify (and probably any good startup) is simple—iterate and refine.
I once bought into the myth that there are god-like designers, developers, and business developers, that have harnessed the muses and could create beauty, function, and sales as a by-product of simply existing. I don’t anymore. Some are more talented than others, but no one can escape the need to refine their product like an OCD-crazed maniac.
I’ll leave you with one final aphorism—Doubt makes you lazy. Laziness makes you doubt. Hustle and believe to avoid the negative feedback loop.
Iconify’s manifesto: We are creatives. The pixel pushing, type addicted, 50mm wielding, makers of tomorrow. Nothing exists until we give it permission to be, and never again will our work be in ganky, uninspired, portfolios.