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Maker Match Making

Maker Match Making

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I keep updating this post with new developments, so don't be suprised if the time form is off further down in the post :)


On todays Virtual Coffee Meeting, we had a great conversation about realizing what we are not good at, and learning how to ask for help in these areas.

Enter: IndieBuddy.com

A simple match making website where creators, makers and founder can subscribe (collectively "Indies") to be matched with another Indie with complementary skill sets.

This idea is further inspired by the need for a buddy matching system for CoStarting. With the first cohort concluded last week, and the next cohort starting next week. We started a buddy system where cohort alumni mentor new cohort Participants. Initially I was going to match them manually (at random), but now that I am building indie buddy, it can do that for me.

Idea Inception & The Name - 2 pm

I was sitting at lunch after the Virtual Coffee meeting which inspired the idea:

And was mulling over the concept. One of my favorite activities is to snoop around domains.google.com to look at the availability of the domains for my ideas, or the names I contemplate at the time. This time the first contender was:

"indie buddy"

Since I slowly start to consider myself a indie-maker, and love the entire community, I thought it was a great name. And at its core, for the beginning the service is intended for people who are working on specific projects and have specific barriers they may need help with. So the indie community might be a good place for it. So I pulled the trigger and bought the domain. However to ensure I would not just let it go stale, I challenged myself to finish the MVP before going to bed today.

Lets Build it - 6pm

After taking care of work and chores around the house, I sat down just after 6pm and started to build it. I began with trying to find a logo and colors I could use. FOr that usecase I like

Make A High-Quality Logo In Just 5 Minutes For Under $30!
Using AI, Our Automated Logo Maker Guides You To Your Perfect Logo!

which lets you design a logo quickly and gives you the low res version of them for free. I spend maybe 15min and came out with this:

Is it obvious that I like orange? Its actually a coincidence that its so similar to my coStarting colors, and came recommended like that by the logo-maker. But I like it, so I will stick with it. Positive side effect, it will work great as a tool under the coStarting banner in the future. :)

Where to begin?

I do not like doing things multiple times. That includes writing a landingpage. So I dug up the code I wrote last month for coindrop.me, and reused it as a starting project. About 40min into the project I had some general rough layout I thought I want to go with (no functionality yet).

The fancy courser writing on the left was also recycled from another project of mine https://yourguide.app/ (which is currently on ice, and one of those over engineered ones which never launched, at least not yet).

Skill Selection

I knew I wanted an easy way to enter your strengths and weaknesses which will ultimately be the the core of the matching algorithm. I had a tag-cloud in mind, and found Select2, a library which does 80% of what I had in mind.

Dynamic option creation | Select2 - The jQuery replacement for select boxes
Select2 is a jQuery based replacement for select boxes. It supports searching, remote data sets, and pagination (infinite scrolling) of results.

With that I was able to put together the input fields for the page like so:

It allows a user to select already populated skills, or enter new ones before submitting their match-request.

Cross X Matching

How a match is determined is by cross matching the skills between buddies based on their strengths and weaknesses.

E.g.

Mary is good at Design & Coding, but could use help with Marketing & Sales

Paul  is good at Sales & Writing, but could use help with Coding & IT

You see that Paul and Mary cross match for Sales & Coding. Mary can help Paul with coding tasks and Paul can help Mary with Sales.

Once a match is determined, the system will send the buddies an email introducing them to one another. At this time the system will leave it up to them how, if and when to connect. But I plan to build further features in the future to make this facilitation easier.

Tying it up to the DB & Matching algorithm

Once the frontend was done, I simply tied it up to firebase and was almost done. The only thing left was the actual matching process. For which I also used Firebase. At the time a buddy is entering to be matched, we check the DB for a cross-match. If there is one, they will be notified. If not, they will wait until the best match is entered.

Finished MVP - 12:30am

I made it. There is certainly a lot to be improved on already, and many features which can be built out. But just after midnight, I launched the website on my Server and connected the domain.

UX Update

Since the service is brand new, I was watching the DB today, to see what submissions were coming in. It seemed that many of the users have mainly selected the pre-populated skills, which were only 8 as of last nights release. This indicated that the UX/UI was not ideal, and users did not neccessarily understand that they were able to type in new skills as well. In order to combat that I made a few changes.

  1. The suggestions now only show after the user types at least one letter
  2. A "Add New Skill" option appears on the top of the suggestion list
  3. I added 61 skills to the prepopulated list

Have a look at the new flow:

Monetization?

A week into the project I realized there may potential for a flexible system where organizers for accelerators, communities or even co-working spaces can configure a buddy system for their members. After a few conversations with advisors and friends I decided to explore the idea further.

Co-Working

I reached out to a local co-working space for advice. I asked them if this would be something they could see value in for their customer. The short answer was:

I like the idea for the coworking space, that is pretty cool. Helping to form connections, particularly at a time when the “coffee crash” doesn’t happen in the kitchen anymore in the morning where people connect organically i would be interested, for a thriving coworking space actively trying to keep people engaged during covid this could be really attractive

We also discussed pricing. It seems a per member pricing or usage based pricing would be best received. Overall the feedback was to be in the range of $1-3 / member, as the unit economics are all hinging around the member pricing the co-working space charges.