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24hr Product Challenge

Written by Neil on December 23, 2014

24 hr Product Challenge

Earlier this month, Nathan Barry, designer & author, created and launched a product in 24 hrs called 10 days to a better design. The product is a series of 10 design lessons to help you become a better designer. Lessons are sent via email so you can start applying these design principles in your projects immediately.

Nathan shared his progress hour by hour on his blog, It included how he planned the product to designing the sales page. Just after it launched, it made $100, in 36 hours it made $2,924, and in 72 hours it made $4,314. Not bad for 24 hrs work!

This inspired me to try and launch my own product in 24hrs! What’s the worst thing that can happen?

“The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.” – Seth Godin

24hr Product Challenge

I remember overhearing a couple of guys talking about APIs in the office (Application Programming Interfaces). I know about bit about APIs, having developed a web app using the Instagram API, so my idea was to create an educational video course on APIs. What are they? What do they do?  Aimed at startups & entrepreneurs.


Having never done this before, I did some googling to find the right equipment for recording screencasts. It turns out the most popular screen recording software is Screenflow ($60). Next you need a decent microphone. I got a Samson microphone ($55), and for my slides I used Powerpoint.


After 24 calendar hours, I achieved the following:

This was a lot harder than I thought!  I only completed about  30% of the product. Most of the time was spent checking emails, social media sites, websites, and my mobile phone every 20 minutes – I have a major procrastination problem! And what I had done – a 2 min recording of the introduction – failed to upload because it was over 1.1GB!

This was not going to work until I saw this tweet later that night:
Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 19.45.33


Enter Amy Hoy

Amy Hoy is the founder of Freckle, a time tracking app, and 300×500, a bootcamp for anyone wanting to bootstrap their own business.  She also took up the challenge and produced an e-book called Just F&&King Ship  (JFS). This ebook is about learning principles in shipping a product on time! This was right up my alley!

First thing that struck me was to think about my project like a dinner party, something we can all do during this festive season! Who your guests are (who your customers are ), what food they like (what their needs are ), how long it will take ( project management), etc.

Deconstructing the Dinner Party!

When starting a project, instead of constructing things try deconstructing things. What I mean is, first visualise the end goal. From there, work backwards and break it down into each part that needs to be done to reach that goal.

For example, say you want to kick a football into the goal. First, you visualise the end result: the ball entering the goal. Then you break it down into the steps needed to score the goal: Placing the ball on the ground, backing up, working out the trajectory, running up and kicking the ball.

Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle: the first thing you do is look at the picture on the box before putting the pieces together to match that picture..

Eliminate procrastination

You should be working!  But instead, you are spending time on Youtube, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, checking emails, etc. By doing this, we put off things until it’s too late. Eliminate these distracting websites by using a website blocker and a time tracker. And watch your productivity increase!

My New JFS Setup!

Following Amy Hoy’s advice, I decided to get organised and try again. This time round I was better prepared. My new setup included:

The 2nd attempt

I changed the title to ‘Learn Web APIs in 20 mins’  – simple and to the point. So having this goal in mind made it easy to work out what to keep in and what to get rid of. Also, using the time tracking tool, I could see how much progress I was making. No surprise, productivity increased ten fold!


At the end of the day, what’s stopping us from shipping products is because we wait for it to be perfect and be all things to all people, whereas the reality is, it just needs to be in the hands of your targeted customer to try it first. Most products grow and improve over time. Your version 1.0 will be completely different to your version 8.0!

Choose your platforms wisely!

Having a product is only half the battle. Choosing the correct platform to promote your work is often the difference between success and failure. Lets look at the options:


My Website

Looking at the analytics of my website last week, I had 30 visits – thanks, Mum! And thanks some guy who lives in Russia! Not the best platform to sell an online course.


I don’t have an email list!

Social Media

I have 800+ followers, but doubt if anyone would be interested in learning about Web APIs

Online learning platforms

The best platforms for this type of class is established online learning platforms that have millions of users already, so you are making your odds of succeeding higher. The 3 main ones are Udemy, Skillshare and Skillfeed. If you know of anymore, please email {neil at neilpatel dot co}

Udemy Proclaims itself the world largest destination for online courses. The numbers back this up; they have approximately 4 million users. They offer free and paid courses. Most of the courses are priced between $29-$99. They allow anyone to become an instructor. Even Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, has developed an online course.

Revenue – If you make a sale through the Udemy website, you get 50% and Udemy takes 50%. If you make a sale through Udemy via a third party website, you get 97%.

Skillshare  Similar to Udemy, but the majority of courses focus more on interaction than lecturing, with the primary goal of learning by completing a project. Skillshare has a membership model available for $9.95 a month.

Revenue –  Generated via its partner program. To become a member you need to upload a course and get 25 people to sign up first before joining the partner program.

Skillfeed  Again, similar to Skillshare; an online marketplace for educational content.  They offer long-form or short instructional videos for a monthly fee.

Revenue –  At the end of the month Skillfeed take 70% of the profits and give 30% to the teachers based on the number of minutes your video is viewed.

Looking at the options, I chose Skillfeed because you can upload short videos of 5mins to 20mins, whereas Udemy have a minimum of 30 mins, and Skillshare is more project-based. However, I do intend to try to upload the screencast to other 2 sites in the future.


Final Thoughts

Doing a 24hr project is a cool idea: it forces you to focus on one thing because of the time restraint. Beats coming up with a million different features and not shipping.

If you start projects and have problems finishing them because you get distracted,install a website blocker. Lets be honest, what you should do online and what you actually do isn’t always the same!

I don’t know Amy, but found Just F&&King Ship actionable, straightforward to understand and it really does work! I would recommend this ebook to anyone wanting to JFS!!!



P.S. Before you eliminate procrastination, I’d love it if you would share this article with your social networks. Thanks!

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