Building your feedback loop early: a Maker Grant recipient shares his advice.

Published on
March 4th, 2021
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For Derrick Reimer, one key to setting himself up for success has been trying his best to invalidate his assumptions.
Derrick Reimer is the maker of SavvyCal and is one of our first-ever Maker Grant recipients. As a full-stack developer, he’s had to put himself out there more than usual to do marketing, but for him it has paid off. He told us:

“I'm honored to receive the first Product Hunt Maker Grant! Especially for makers not on the traditional venture capital track, every dollar counts. Thank you Product Hunt for investing in the community!"

What was your inspiration behind SavvyCal?

I've used scheduling tools for years, and I recognized that there is still so much friction with finding times to meet. Because many people are offended by receiving a scheduling link, we often waste time proposing times back-and-forth over email instead of using our tools. The fundamental problem is a combination of etiquette and tooling. I believe we can go a long way toward fixing this through product innovation. Step one: create the most convenient scheduling experience on the market.

What was the first step you took in building SavvyCal?

Before I broke ground on the code, I brought the idea to one of my mentors, and we brainstormed some foundational hypotheses: Who needs this product the most? Who will I be able to reach initially to get this off the ground? What's the scope of the first version? Then I reached out to schedule interviews with around ten people from my initial target market to learn about their scheduling struggles. Once I felt confident that my hypotheses were not far off, I began building.

What has been your biggest challenge as a Maker?

Balancing where I spend my time has been very challenging. As a solo founder and full-stack developer, there's a strong temptation to go off and build for a long time without investing in marketing. I decided to build in public on Twitter since my ideal customers (founders and startup folks) spend a lot of time there and typically enjoy geeking out over new products.

What has been your biggest reward?

Very few things compare to the joy of knowing something you built is making people's lives easier. I was blown away by the community support when we launched on Product Hunt in January. This feedback loop makes me even more motivated to continue making the product better and reaching more people.

What are your next steps for SavvyCal?

We're just getting started! We plan to integrate with all the major calendar platforms, build out our group scheduling functionality, and release more features to help our customers use the best scheduling etiquette.

Words of wisdom for can you share for Makers looking to get started?

The best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is talking to your potential customers before you start building to make sure you're on the right track. Although it's difficult, hold on to your ideas loosely and try your best to invalidate your assumptions. Don't forget to start investing in marketing efforts as soon as you start building. Lastly, ship early and ship often!
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