Start Small

November 01, 2012

I just met Dan Shipper, a junior at Penn who happens to be incredibly prolific at churning out web apps. His advice to me, a aspiring web app developer and entrepreneur, was to start small. He said that his freshman year at Penn, he completed a dozen small web apps on increasingly complex ideas! One of which ( has 40,000 users if I remember him correctly!! Each one, he said, was designed to take him under a week's worth of work. In this way, he quickly found out what worked and what didn't in building apps. Also, this helped him break out of a nasty cycle of starting a big project, losing steam and starting another.

So for my first small project, I have decided to try and build a way for people living alone to check whether or not they are publicly presentable. It is a problem I now face as a college freshman living in a single. "Hey [insert nearest family member's name here], am I presentable?" doesn't work anymore. So this utility, call it "", will allow users to email or upload photos of themselves and get back instant feedback from other people living alone doing the same. It will work on a "give a rating to get a rating" system, where everyone who wants their picture to be rated will first have to rate someone else's picture, which will take a quick look and a single button click. The mechanics of it will be:

  1. get dressed
  2. use mirror or front facing camera to snap a picture of self
  3. email it to's email
  4. while you wait for feedback, rate another person's outfit
  5. get feedback and confidently venture forth into the public knowing that you are not embarrassing yourself

So I know this project isn't going to be the next big thing, but I think it's a fun way to break into the small web app project scene.

The other great piece of advice Dan gave me was to start a blog. And if you clicked on my link to Dan's blog above, you know that this advice is akin to Stephen King telling me to write a book. Anyways, the blog you are reading now is the result of that piece of advice. Hope you enjoy.