It's been a little beyond a full month since I kicked Mobtropolis, a social photo scavenger hunt to expand your world, out the door to face some beating out in the real world. Whenever you release something to the public, it's a bit nerve racking. But you always learn something, and better to know early and fix it, than to know later and suffer.
The first major lesson is that people didn't know what they were looking at. I had figured with the advent of Digg and Reddit, that I wouldn't need to explain what Mobtropolis does. How wrong I was. Friends and forum readers would visit, and then leave. I spent the better part of the month refactoring the underbelly of the app, and working on a better and succinct way to communicate the value added for the user. I think this will be a constant struggle, and I'll have to be vigilant about always communicating clearly.
The other thing that I learned is that a lot of things simply don't matter because you're just not at that point yet. For example, I was reluctant on putting in comments since I figured with comments comes trolls, comment spam, etc. But in truth, it's simply not at the point yet. Though I put in some precautions, it was more prudent just to kick something simple out and start using it.
I had the first blog mention today at a spanish tech blog called Genbeta today. That was a nice milestone. While the post was neutral in tone, it did mention that Mobtropolis was:
An interesting collective game in which anyone can participate.
Hopefully, I'll keep getting better. So for those of you out there working on your own stuff, it pays to just get things out there then just iterate. Release early and release often is something you can do with web applications, so take advantage of it. If any of you readers find Mobtropolis useful or interesting, feel free to tell your friends to join you on some wacky adventures.