Product Reflection: Over the years we have built some pretty stupid websites, apps and tools – but recently these silly ideas end up being recycled into something useful.
A few years ago, during the early stages of That Startup Company – we made a very stupid website called KanyeText.com . What it did was allow someone to type in a mobile phone number, and send that person random Kanye West quotes. It also spawned a few other variations one for Donald Trump and one for Seinfeld.
The best part behind this website wasn’t the tens of thousands of Seinfeld, Kanye West or Donald Trump quotes we sent to random people all over the world but that we built the entire website in one weekend, and did it without using any code!
What we learned
It was the start of learning how to create websites and build minimum viable products without any code. As we were surprised by how far we could push the boundaries without needing any code. All we really needed was:
- WordPress site with Gravity Forms
- Zapier with its 1,000s of integrations
- Google Sheets & Twilio
How we use it now
Beyond the fact that it really started the entire code without code movement for us, there were several parts that we constantly use.
- Text messages, a lot of companies and clients want to communicate with their customers using text messages. We learnt how to send personalised text messages in scale
- Google Sheets lookup. Each quote is randomised but ordered, we use a lookup in google sheets to find the correct quote to send. We now use this to do round robins for allocating leads, looking up a customer order and other lists saved in google sheets
- Gravity forms payments. As sending these quotes costs us money, we had to learn how to accept payments. So using Gravity Forms and Stripe we learnt the basics that now enable us to build very complicated workflows for payments.
It goes to show that even the stupidest ideas can have some benefits.