NEW YORK– If you haven’t heard Just Not Sorry, don’t be sorry for yourself. The gmail plugin helps email users avoid using “just”, “sorry” and other weak words that undermine your message. It makes sure to strip out the highlighting before you hit send. In a month’s time, the app was downloaded 100,000 times, thanks to a healthy dose of media coverage that included morning TV shows and publishing sites.
Tami Reiss, CEO of Cyrus Innovation who had the idea, and Steve Brudz, who built the app, thinks that when you are creating an app, “simple is smart” and you have to be solving a “real problem.”
Reiss and Brudz walked the audience through its agile development at the Lean/Agile Practitioners meetup last April 18 at Kaplan Center in the Upper East Side. Reiss has worked with teams to develop technology solutions on platforms ranging from mainframe systems to modern microservice architectures and iOS. Brudz is an engineering lead and agile coach at Cyrus Innovation with more than 16 years of experience in software development.
In building the app, Tami and Brudz said it is important to build fast, even if it gets messy in the beginning. They searched for how others have done similar things, researched open source libraries and wrote code in a week. They say never spend more than day on a spike.
They built it by getting feedback and iterating accordingly. Their advice. “Demonstrate progress regularly, listen to feedback and limit your work in progress.”
“Write automated tests where the benefit outweighs the cost,”Brudz said. There are faster types of code that you can use/test– recursion. “Code has lots of conditionals. Testing can help you get faster.”
In the iterations of the “trigger words,” they also took us to the time it first highlighted the words (iteration 1), then upon review, changed it to a dotted line (iteration 2) before it became a dotted line with explanation (iteration 3) and finally, a dashed line (with explanation) after feedback that said the previous iteration was too close to Google’s Spell Check.
After doing several landing page optimizations and Instapage AB tests, they recall launching on Product Hunt. On the day it launched on that site, they instantly got 79 downloads. With its media coverage later, which started with a media contact and a catchy name of course, the app eventually got its 100,000 downloads.
They are clearly not sorry about the name, because they knew Just Not Sorry would make a good hashtag — and the rest is history.