Yout: Chapter 1, From CodeCademy to Dec 6th, #1 Product Hunt
Google hates me. Although from the looks of it, so do most the people on Product Hunt.
To prove Google hates me, go to Google, type in ‘yout’ in their search bar, now try to find Yout.com, can’t find it? Click ‘Search instead for yout’ finally click yout.com, and search for ‘blurryface’ or what ever you want. I promise you will be able to find anything ;)
Done? You can record it, or just listen to it there. Cool
You only need a few people in a community to like you for you to feel special.
I ❤ Ryan Hoover. If it wasn’t for him, I’m not sure what I currently would be doing. Probably would be back at mom’s, living of $30 a week, extremely saddened that when I only had 2 eggs left, I had decided to make myself a sandwich, and as I was walking to the porch to eat that sandwich, it would slip ever so graciously off the plate, fall, and hit the ground with a glorious splat.
The dog would get about an eggs worth, in his K9 vacuum reflexes, before I would be able to salvage the remaining part of my breakfast.
But that’s my current reality I’m talking about, you all came here for experience of winning, and I just poured myself a large cup of coffee, so lets begin.
I’ve had Yout.com for years. The domain has sat there taunting me, saying ‘I know I am only as great as the product you put on me’ and believe me when I say, I have I tried to make it live up to my potential more than once.
My initial idea a couple years ago was to make it a sort of variation of Reddit for videos. I had only done Wordpress themes before that, which was basically finding a plugin and trying to figure out how to move html and css around to make it fit, and simply praying that the plugin didn’t crash your website.
Ignorance is bliss.
Reddit is open source and was coded in python, so at the ripe old age of 27 I decided it was time to learn Python. I signed up on CodeCademy as can be seen by clicking here. It took me a while from sign up to actually finish the course. Says it should take about 11 hours or some shenanigans. That’s bullshit, when you are as dumb as me and you know absolutely nothing about programming it takes longer. But who am I to judge, it was free.
After trying myself and also hiring a friend of mine to try and help me launch this reddit clone idea on yout. We got it live. It failed miserably, and I realized that I had spent all this time learning things that where far more complicated that just programming some lines of code in python.
So it sat there yet again in domain purgatory waiting patiently for me to give it a pulse.
I had failed, and failed hard.
My cool idea didn’t do well, my existing business which also gave me money started dying as well, I had a falling out with a partner. It was time to do what I had done for years before. Time to be a nomad.
In my opinion people travel when they want to explore new things or want to run away from something.
I was the latter, you feel this comfort when you are away from everyone you have ever known in a place where no one understands you. The biggest fear you have is doing something and getting locked up abroad.
Thankfully I’ve only been in jail in the states, what I get for being a passenger in a car.
I ended up in Vietnam, I had just motorbiked through the country (There is a episode on Top Gear where they do this, I highly suggest you watch it). At one point during this trip I crashed my motorbike after illegally ending up in Laos accidentally and ended up in a hospital where it cost me $5 usd to get xrays, medicine, and two consultations by doctors.
I was running away from failure, but living life in the process.
It was November and I was getting ready to leave, I enjoyed Vietnam but hated Ho Chi Minh City. It was raining, in biblical proportions, when I initially got there, .
Still not sure how it worked out, but I ended up deciding to stay one or two extra nights to just give it one last go since flights to Budapest where expensive the following days. In those days I meet some other nomads. My perspective of HCMC changed, any place is entertaining when you know people there. It’s even more entertaining when all the people you meet are just as free from constraints as you.
I finally felt accepted.
No matter what I did my existing business kept crashing. Each month was more and more bad news. It’s funny when everything is starting to go bad you try and find solutions in the most inane ways imaginable.
Although, some of those inane ways had they been given one or two more months would of payed off, but then again thats why sometimes people have falling outs, one see’s the world through a different perspective and its simply a matter of whos reality is stronger in their moment of weakness.
When you are manic nothing works, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. You see death.
It’s worse when its imminent, it’s as if some0ne is spooning out your heart with a dull rusted spoon. Not sharp enough to cut, but painful enough that sooner or later it starts to bleed, and it bleeds you out ever so slowly.
Then March hits. It occurs to me that I need new music, maybe that will change my mood. There was what I like to call the great internet outage going on in Vietnam, its like rolling black outs. One day its ok, next day you could be praying you had dial up internet since it would probably be faster than your cable internet. Don’t even get me started on the latency…
I searched for a YouTube to Mp3 converter since the only time internet was at all even palpable was around 2–5am, and the top 10 results you had to go to youtube find a link, copy it, go to the converter site and paste it in. Then you had to wait depending on the file 30 seconds to up to 5 minutes. Half the time it would time out for me before I even had the chance to get the option to save it to disk.
This had to change.
I made the initial commit on github on March 11th, 2015 for Yout.
This was the way out in my mind. It was the solution I had been waiting for, a problem I had, that I could solve, it was my problem and I was going to solve it. If others wanted to use it cool, if not I could give two shits.
Over the next couple of months, I got a prototype working on my localhost. As soon as I put it live on a server, it crashed with a pathetic number of visitors. Not even that, the site was worse than everything out there. If I could get it to actually send a song to some one, it wouldn’t work, it might time out. Hell 502, 500, 503 server errors where the norm. If the song did send, it might not even play. I had now created something that was beyond worse than the worse thing out there.
I was a failure.
Peter who I had done temple.io with, had coded the entire site, front and back. I simply scraped the content for it. We launched on his birthday, it was a piece of art. It is a product that is the result of pure creativity. Fast, sleek, complex yet simple. It got featured on Product Hunt, the bar was set.
But what I learned after that is it was hard to work with Peter since not only was I not to the level of skill he was. I only knew python at the time, we did temple in rails, and my front end skills where horrific, so I couldn’t really help out.
I kept hacking away on Yout. Trying to make it average at best.
As the world felt like it was crashing down around me when I felt like there was no way out, I would work on it.
I had to learn so much to be able to get it to average. Months had passed, my cashflow was now dismal. I could barely cover rent. Thankfully my roomate was understanding. One of the smartest people I know, he taught me a lot.
Once I finally had the back-end working at average speed, I decided it was time to try and make the front work some what decently. Presentation is everything.
I am not creative.
The kindness of strangers is what I learned in Vietnam. Not sure if people could tell I was going through something. I wasn’t aware of it, I was living it. I slowly kept going more and more broke, I stopped hanging out with my friends. I could only afford essentials.
I ended up playing in the Vietnam poker cup. I didn’t do well, I went into debt to play in it. I was now a broken person. But as I broke, I had Asher, Andy, and Nick help me work out some of my front end code on Yout so it worked somewhat mediocre.
In passing he said “I wish you knew angular, you could do your front end in a day”
I looked at him, defeated, broke, and the only thought that went through my mind was “I wish I knew how to program better, because then all this would be done in a day”
I was now in Vietnam with no money, in debt, visa expiring soon, basically the epitome of success.
Yout was still a giant piece of shit.
I wrote about my state of mind in this other medium article, its nothing stellar, it’s bad writing but its a glimpse.
Once I had made it to somewhere that I felt familiarity, after spending a month practically doing nothing but dealing with my own inner daemons my darkness bubble finally burst.
For the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, I woke up and saw sunlight. It was cold as balls outside, but it was sunny. Life was going to be OK.
I told myself that I wouldn’t turn 30 without having something to show for it. Come hell or high water Yout was going to work reasonably.
I still had a inordinate amount of work to do to get it where I was content with it. So I got to working. My birthday was edging up ever so closely. I wasn’t sure if I was going to hit my own deadline. I got the back end working, the search working, the speed, it was fast. But the front end sucked.
I reached out to Lou who I use to work with back when I was in Peru and asked if he would be willing to help me for a day. I had no money, I simply had a idea and a back end. He said sure. I gave him the endpoints, I told him that a friend of mine, Rona, had suggested we go with dark colours on Yout, and I told him I was told someone could do a front end in a day if they where good with angular.
He is a prideful bastard he said he could easily do it in a day.
It took him two.
Granted that’s because some of my end points didn’t work how they where suppose too, but I digress.
We finished on December 5th.
I was now 30.
Neither of us had slept in two days.
I had $200 to my name, saw that Jerry Seinfeld was playing that night in Foxwoods. I posted Yout on product hunt. Checked back a few hours later had a couple upvotes, but nothing amazing.
I bought two tickets to see Jerry, I now had $0 to my name. I asked my mom if for my 30th she would go see Jerry Seinfeld with me since I figured she brought me into this world, and I never really do enough for her.
I accepted defeat. I said “Well I did the best I could” I took a nap, swore I wasn’t going to look at my phone or stats rest of the day since clearly no one liked my stupid idea anyway.
When I woke up the next day after I had sulked in the fact that I was now 30, broke, no prospects, but happy because I had spent all I had to have a wonderful night with my family, I smiled.
I then checked my phone and saw this:
It took a bit to register this. First thing that went through my mind was how did PH know that I saw Sienfeld that night before. Second why the heck did they tweet me this, I had posted Yout on my birthday, today was the day after. I was preconditioned to not believe this. Was this a cruel joke? I had my friend Dan play a rough prank on April 2nd on me, since he knew I would be expecting one on April 1st.
I then loaded PH and saw this.
That’s right, I was actually #1 on product hunt.
Still did not seem like reality. What I had spent 9 grueling months trying to make, got validation. I was on cloud 9.
Until I read the comments.
Out of the 11 comments people had posted. Only 3 where not negative.
Twitter was no better.
But then it occurred to me, the people who posted comments, I messaged and asked if they had even used the site.
Same thing happened in Product Hunt.
Except somewhere buried in the comments was this gem by Preetish
It appears the people who actually used the site up-voted it. And the people who flamed it, didn’t even use it.
Then something happened. Taiwan found me.
What is fascinating to me was this specific metric. Here is on launch day till a week out, page views per users.
It seems people didn’t realize you could use this for more than one thing until a week later. Page views started to climb days after as returning visitors started to creep up.
It has now been a month since I #1 on PH. I guess I can check that off the “Fuck it” list of life.
In that month I have had some very bizarre goals I set and very bizarre problems I dealt with to solve these goals.
1st goal was to get the time it took for the user to wait to record a Mp3 from minutes to seconds.
I got it so fast, that its damn near instant. That was not an easy task.
2nd goal was to get it so when a user records a Mp4 it goes from minutes to seconds regardless of the size of the video.
I got fractions of a second, and still think I can make it faster, and at some point I hit the limits of the mp4 file format.
3rd goal was to get it to work on mobile as well
It works on everything but Apple phones and I assume tablets, I’m content with that, who doesn’t allow their users access to their file manager? I’ll work on a workaround eventually
4th goal was to get auto suggest when you search
This works! Granted we have more things you can find than show up on auto suggest, but I’ll get around to that..
My last goal this month was to help save every person who uses Yout a shit ton of time, we will call this the Oscar M. Solution (OMS)
It pays to be nice
Through all this there this was one so eloquently written comment that Peter dubbed it “The GOLDEN comment”
So now, when ever you are on YouTube, you like a video or a song, you want to take it for personal viewing or listening later? Well since the Alphabet seems to hate me, and you can’t find me using their stuff, you can now try and “just delete the ‘ube’ from the URL in YouTube and .. get into Yout”
There are more things that will come to Yout, clipping, video/audio quality, etc. But for now, I think I am done, I’m out of coffee, and it’s now dark out.
P.S. If you enjoyed any part of my writing, follow me @nadermx also, please recommend it, or share it, Yout damnit! Not the writing.
If you hated this, it’s about time I had someone I could agree with.