I’ve Built An App to Get Paid Users Through dogfooding and growth loops by@pradeepb28

I’ve Built An App to Get Paid Users Through dogfooding and growth loops

Indie 101 is: Product 20% Coding 20% Development 20% Design 20% Marketing 20% Mkt 20% Others 20% Developers 20% Lowcode. Bird search is an iOS app for Twitter's advanced search feature. Bird Search aims to fill gap for iOS where Twitter's default search feature doesn’t exist, unlike the website. The app also aims to integrate tightly to the Apple ecosystem, like Siri, Spotlight search, notifications, notifications and Siri. It aims to find content on Twitter from other user accounts, unlike website.
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Serve 100,000 users by building # things

Before jumping on to the topic let me tell professional story.

I’ve worked as frontend dev and as a Product Manager. I'm fairly new to backend dev & have a decent knowledge on how to build frontend apps using Swift. When I chose to become Indie, I wanted to have a clear idea of what Indie implies in terms of product development.

For me Indie 101 is:

  • Product 20%

  • Design 20%

  • Coding 20%

  • Mkt 20%

  • Others 20%

As an Indie, you're pretty much doing everything on your own & have less time to do it. Before moving to lowcode, I've tried building things from scratch & failed to do it on backend, I've spent like 4-6 weeks on backend, then I've felt like it is not worth to build everything from scratch since you don't know if the product is actually going to work or not. I've decided to look for leanest solutions, at the same time not compromising the user experience. I had fair knowledge on no-code & low-code market because of my past experience where we've adopted several tools for marketing initiatives.

What did I build?

As most of you know, the search feature on Twitter is a goldmine tool to find any content on Twitter, be it Hashtags, Keywords, Conversations b/w two users, location/worldwide, People you follow, Lists n many more…

While the feature is great, I've found out that the feature has poor adoption among users who are not part of the tech world. This is due to not knowing the feature exists and also hard to memorize the exact search filters to find tweets.

So, I've prioritized these problems

  • Build a solution that focuses more on "what" to search instead of "how" to.

  • Unlock several search filters (these search filters are currently not visible on default twitter advanced search)

  • Library to store all the search phrases.

  • Introduce the "Discover" section to educate users on how to find the best content.

  • Integrate tightly to the Apple ecosystem. Ex: Siri, Spotlight search, notifications.

Despite the app's support on macOS, iOS & iPadOS, I have launched it as an iOS app first because the advanced feature doesn't even exist unless you know how to directly input the search filters.

Bird search — Your advanced search app for Twitter

App link https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bird-search/id1593852437 (iOS/iPadOS/macOS)

What is it?

How I find potential customers for the very same app?

After the launch, I have gained around 20+ paid users in 10 days which is not a good number for Indies. I have decided to use my product on an everyday basis to see if and how can I use my own app to find potential customers. I was glad enough that I could find a way to search for my potential customers. Once I found it, I reached out to them through cold DMs and tweet them about how can they use the app to find signaled content on Twitter. Over time, I’ve seen creators, marketers, journalists are signing up for the app and using it.

Since the app is indexing on top of Twitter search, I found my potential customers by building a search query who’s talking about “Twitter search” or “Twitter advanced search” on twtr platform and reaching out to them through cold DMs or comments under their tweet. I found this is a perfect acquisition loop or dogfooding for my app to grow(with some manual effort)

Here is a quick video:


The app is available here to download https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bird-search/id1593852437 (iOS/iPadOS/macOS)

For folks who are interested to know my tech stack

I stuck to low code tools. I wanted to have control on my frontend so I went with a code tool and on backend, there is nothing much to innovate or do from scratch so I’ve decided to use iCloud and Xano for data storage and processing.

  • Frontend: Swift using UIKit & SwiftUI frameworks.
  • Backend: iCloud to store user-generated content and Xano for public data and to collect feedback.

My next update on marketing is to scale this process and automate it if possible.

More info: https://birdsearch.softr.app/

I hope this post inspires others to dog food their own app first, then find ways to introduce acquisition or growth loops from inside out of your own product.

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