The Lean Startup Challenge

Meta Achievement Homepage

App Sumo recently came out with a sweet deal that offers a lot of great tools to give your start up a major boost.  One of my side projects is bigger in scope than most, so any help (especially if it’s cost effective) is great!

Meta Achievement – The Elevator Pitch

Achievements have become popular and are popping up all over the net. Video game consoles and sites like The Sixty One, Gowalla, and Four Square award achievements, but each of them are isolated from one another.  I want to have a site where I can see what my friends have done.

Starting Lean

I like coding and coming up with ideas.  I don’t like setting up servers and worrying about infrastructure problems.  I did some initial research and picked the Google App engine to be the platform for my project.  It seems like the easiest (and leanest) way to get up and running in the shortest amount of time possible.  I’ve been using a few great frameworks to get this going quickly.  I’ve used Django (which is part of the app engine) and Blueprint Css for the layout.  I’ll be using jQuery for a few drag and drop behaviors throughout the site.

Getting Leaner

A few of the things in the indie bundle peaked my interest and I plan on using them soon once I get a solid prototype up and running.

Postmark

I don’t like server setup, especially email servers.  Postmark looks like it will be great to send out invites to my app and keep users in the loop.

Ask Your Target Market

I’ll be the first to say that this is a site for me, but if I had a nickel every time I’ve heard someone tell me “Achievement Unlocked” in a conversation I’d have enough for a few nice lunches.  That fact aside, I think that Ask Your Target Market can give me some good insight to what features I should add and who would get the most out of my site.

Geckoboard

The UI looks sexy and I like data and stats.  Getting set up with Geckoboard is a no brainer.

Kiss Metrics

More data collecting!!  Anything to keep track of how users go through your is a great way to improve the UX on your site.  I am interested in seeing what Kiss Metrics has to offer.

Books, Mentors and More!!

The most valuable part of the bundle (IMHO) is all the books and resource sites that come along with it.  Also, the possibility to get some mentoring is very awesome.

Is it Fun?

I think achievements are fun to unlock.  What’s not fun is when no one else is around to share them.  One of the big things I want to do is stack achievements, which is what the name of the site is based on.  I’d like the community to create individual achievements for platforms, and create cross-platform goals.  A great example of this would be “King of the world – Become a Mayor in FourSqure and a Leader in Gowalla at the same time”.  There are loads of cool little achievements you could do to add up to an epic giant achievement.

Goals and Road Map

As of right now I have a simple interface to create and claim achievements.  I’d like to have a simple (but solid) API so you can reward an achievement to someone who visits your website.  I am motivated to get this project done, but since it is a side project most of the work on it gets done past midnight, so progress has been slow.

I’d like to keep the site as open and free as possible.  Anyone can add, edit and give out achievements.  I think that there may be individuals who would like to lock down an achievement for editing, so there may be an option for some type of pro level / freemium plans in the future.

My primary goal for the project so far has been learn about Python and MVC principles in another language (my background is in C#).  If I can get enough interest in the website I’d love to put more time into it.  I think it’s an awesome idea and fills a void that hasn’t really been addressed by any site out there.

If you think this is a site you’d like to visit please vote for me in the Lean Startup Challenge.  This article is a very late entry, so if you don’t have a chance to vote and are still interested in progress on my project or have any suggestions post a comment or send me an email!

Special thanks to the App Sumo crew for getting this deal and contest up and running.