Cover photo

BIP #1 - Taking a leap of faith

Joining the community of builders on Farcaster to work on a platform that facilitates something we all need more of: human connection.

A quick intro

In my self interview series, I talk about how I've been wanting to build something of my own for a long time. I've spent my entire career working for other people and being scared to step out from under the comfort of others' ideas. I got caught in the mindset of perfectionism:

"If I'm building something, it has to be an entirely new idea, well-designed, and immediately successful."

Looking back, this is a ridiculous mindset. Genuinely new ideas are few and far between, and how is anyone to know with 100% confidence that something will be successful?

In the past 4 months since joining Farcaster, I've gotten loads of invaluable advice from founders, builders, and investors.

The piece of advice I needed to hear the most? Your MVP should look ugly. Your MVP doesn't even have to be a product, it can be Google Sheets and a few Zapier hooks and emails.

Hearing that over and over gave me some confidence to move forward, but I wasn't fully bought in to any of the ideas I had swirling around my head. It wasn't until Jacob (@jrf) pinged me asking to use some of the FarCon websites for an idea he had that things really started to fall into place...

The standup

So Jacob's idea was all about getting people at FarCon to meet each other based on similar interests. However, he had an existing product, Ornamental, that the mingling experience needed to fit into (Ornamental will be a platform where communities, AKA Houses, can create generative art experiences for their members and compete against each other in various competitions).

After our brainstorm, I spent the weekend laying out the core flows of what just the mingling experience could look like:

By Sunday we had come to the conclusion the mingling experience was more of a distraction or tangent from the core Ornamental experience as we couldn't see how it played into the core "communities competing against each other" idea.

  • Ornamental is about immersing yourself in a brand, community, or artist's experience

  • Mingling is about one-on-one connections with those of shared interests

On a related note, I used to work at Braindate, a knowledge sharing & connection facilitation platform for large events and conferences. I already knew the best practices for this type of concept and I also strongly believed this idea had much more potential than just a feature or part of another platform.

For the third time in my life, I took a full leap of faith in myself and told/asked Jacob:

After a brief tangent discussing self awareness in founders, sticking with your North Star, and what ideas get us up in the morning, it was confirmed:

I'm building this mingling platform.

How exciting!

And intimidating, to be honest.

I realized I had a community with a wealth of knowledge about starting a product from scratch, so I tapped them:

I got some great answers, all of which gave me a clear path to move in.

I headed on over to Notion, broke my project down into 3 phases, and started to fill in the structure I thought would work best for me:

  1. Project Overview

    1. Goals

    2. Context

    3. Problems

    4. Solutions

  2. User personas

  3. Technical requirements

  4. User journey

  5. Features

  6. Branding

What's funny is the second I saw this laid out, I realized the first half is the same as the core pieces of a pitch deck, which I've built for 20+ startups at this point. It makes complete sense that the introductory elements you'd need to explain your product to investors are the first elements you need to clarify when starting out.

With this structure laid down, the picture got clearer and clearer but also bigger with every word I typed. I needed to pare down this concept to a true MVP of what I would need for FarCon. I put on my user hat and thought about the key motivations for attending FarCon:

  • Bringing screen-based conversations to real life

  • Finding a co-founder or business/tech partner

  • Competing in a hackathon

Which led me to creating 3 user personalities for this concept, which could also apply to other instances of event-based connecting past FarCon.

One of the personas I came up with

At this point I felt confident I had the basic structure down. I knew the motivations of my future users, the problems they could face, and had more than enough ideas as to potential solutions and ways to add delight and whimsy into the experience.

A preview of my features database I developed over Sunday

I stayed up way too late Sunday night getting all of the ideas in my brain down onto paper, but I haven't felt this motivated in a long time. I'm working on something that resonates with me.

At heart, I'm a community builder. A host. A connector.

I deeply enjoy bringing people together and creating an experience for them, whether that's through hosting quarterly pop-up restaurants for 12 strangers with 5 course meals and wine pairing in a heritage building (I was a chef at one point!), or helping get an IRL Web3 community going in my city (now 800 people strong ). Creating a sense of community and fostering a sense of belonging is something I'm seriously passionate about.

In a world where so many of our interactions happen through text - it's literally unpopular to enjoy calling your friends - it feels extremely synergistic that I stumbled upon this idea ultimately through volunteering to help with FarCon.

The wildest thing, though? I've only been on Farcaster for 4 months.

Coming up this week

  • Getting set up with Neynar

  • Determining my tech stack

  • Brushing up on Next.js

  • Feature prioritization for Phase 1 of the project

This is my first attempt building something, and therefor also my first attempt doing a build in public post. If you have any feedback or advice on either, I'm all ears! Drop a comment or hit me up on Farcaster.
Not on there yet? Use my invite code :)

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