Milwaukee Squirrel Census - Track Squirrel sightings, earn badges

Milwaukee Squirrel Census

Portrait of the maker

Robert Petitto


Starter Stack
hours to build

How to build a habit forming app with no-code

What is it:

Milwaukee Squirrel Census - Track Squirrel sightings, earn badges

Sadly, Robert took down his app and it is no longer viewable. Heart broken as I was I loved his app because it was one of the best no-code apps I've see that gamify the experience. It was world class.

But do not fret, Robert has shared how he gamifies his glide apps so that you can too. See below.

What did I learn:

1. Product Strategy: gamify your Glide App. Why? It's a noisy world out there. It's very hard to acquire new users, how will you keep them coming back? The best resource I can recommend on the matter is a book called Hooked by Nir Eyal. But if you don't feel like reading a book, the best thing to get a hold of the concept quickly is check out products like this demo by Robert:

You already know of the concept because if you have used Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Email any main digital product you've already experienced the Hook model.

Here is a crash course on the concept:

Basically it starts like this:
External trigger: Notification, or something that brings the user into the app
Internal trigger: through time, after repetitive use of the product a user begins to develop an internal trigger within themselves to desire and want to open the app.
Action: After either an external or internal trigger, the user open the app and performs some sort of action. Scrolling, writing a message, etc.
Reward: After an action is performed, the user receives some type of reward. An invariable reward is best. Because we get bored of repetitive ones. This helps you get hooked faster. Ex. I post a picture on Instagram, all the likes, comments shares, etc are is the reward system for my action. My behavior has been reinforced with dopamine hitting chemicals that make me addicted to that action.
Investment: This last phase helps ensure that you return to the app by setting up my next trigger. For example if I scroll on my timeline and comment on a post. If that post gets likes or comments back, I then receive notifications to return to th app. Now the entire process has happened again. The more you go through it, the stronger the addiction.

2. No-code tool feature: Glide - Here is another app to check out:

3. Product Strategy: How should you approach getting retention for your product?

Your value capture is usually going to be your main mechanism for retaining an audience when you first start making a product. Obviously if you make a product that a user buys, you can reach out to that user. However, is your product transactional or is it a SaaS?

The Lean Side Project is a framework for building and launching with no-code. The best way I have seen Makers leverage repeat "selling" what they are making to users, is by building an audience so that people can follow your journey.

Pieter Levels, the person I first learned this from does it like this: He launched a blog, within that blog he can write to you about his journey. This is incredibly powerful because for any major product launch or new feature he can give an update about it. Because he is sharing what he is doing it doesnt come across as an ask to buy or do anything.

This is important because you don't want to take the risk of putting your eggs all in one basket and in one product. You want your product launches to all be about something that is related to each other. So that all your subscribers you acquire are interested in what you're doing. Because you do not know which product you launch is going to hit, you must launch several to build your audience and also better understand where exactly is the value inflection point.

If you want to create a business, you must figure out at what inflection point will people be willing to pay money for that thing that you make that makes their life better. If you are creating something that is a known quantity that is easier to do than something new or a new niche or market that is growing or a new market that you are not an expert in yet. So in order to do that, you must launch products, talk to users, and experiment. To increase your odds that the next product is getting closer to this inflection point, it is critical that you first start your journey around a central theme or problem or itch that you want to scratch.

The reason why this matters, is because if you don't choose one problem to focus on, you'll never be able to build a large enough audience off of just one single product, that will buy what you're selling at a large enough amount or repeated amount that you can take your side project full time.

I've never seen someone be an overnight success. And just launch one thing and make it. But I have seen many Makers make many things unrelated to each other, each audience not interested the products and get no where and give up. If you switch audiences each time you launch a product, it's like starting over every time. That is exhausting.

The name of the game is retention of your audience. You must keep them until they start to pay you.

If you do choose to try to do something that is already a known thing that people pay money for you are going to have to figure out how will you differentiate yourself?

Your story could be a differentiator. You could go super deep into one thing.

The principle is you must learn where is the value inflection point and keep an audience around long enough that those people would be willing to pay you money.

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