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🤖 The Non-techie who created a viral A.I app

I’m obsessed with ChatGPT apps. My dirty little secret is that I’ve always wanted to make one myself.

📱How a Non-Techie Created a Viral A.I. App

I’m obsessed with ChatGPT apps. My dirty little secret is that I’ve always wanted to make one myself.

But I always thought creating an app was better left to well-funded Silicon Valley geeks.

That was until I met a random guy from Reddit who was able to pull it off.

Let me start from the beginning…

It was a Tuesday morning. Coffee in hand, I was scrolling through Reddit.

5 minutes in, I saw this post going viral:

So, I clicked and read through it.

Here’s the gist: Basically, this guy “u/husky_misconception” built an A.I. app.

At the time it was getting 50 downloads a day. Holy sh*t.

He doesn’t even know how to code…

(Fun fact: 99.5% of apps fail. Yet, “husky_misconception” built a successful app for less than $2,000.)

Okay. I gotta talk to this guy.

But there’s just one problem…

I can’t find his contact information anywhere and “husky_misconception” doesn’t give me any clues.

Google? Dead end.

LinkedIn? Nothin’

Reddit? Zero clues.

It seems like nobody knows who this guy really is.

I was about to give up when I stumbled across a Product Hunt post for an app titled “FireTexts.” (the same name of u/husky_conception’s app)

The post was made by a company named “AltGrowth”... run by a guy named Zack.

Bingo.

Three emails, two LinkedIn messages, and a scheduled call later… I had Zack on the line.

The story of how FireTexts grew without spending a penny on ads was crazier than I thought. (But more on that later) 

First, let’s talk about the man behind it all…

🔎 So who is Zack, and what is FireTexts?

Zack Fediay said he was too ADD to become a coder in college… 

So instead he became a growth marketer for other companies.

He’s now a soon-to-be father who lives in California with his wife. Because of his desire to create a new source of income, he decided to create FireTexts.

What is FireTexts?

FireTexts is an A.I. app that turns boring texts into compelling messages.

🧠 How did you come up with the idea?

The idea behind FireTexts is kinda a personal thing. I’ll be honest I never really respond to my stepmom. That realization was the weird little iron that sparked the idea.

I thought to myself, “Why don’t I just create an A.I. to help me and not waste any time?” now it’s expanded into something that’s been helpful for more than just responding to your stepmom.

Here’s a timeline of FireText’s growth:

🔨 How the heck do you build an app as a non-developer?

As a non-developer, it’s a little bit of a different process.

I started out by writing out a list of ‘requirements’ for the app. All the basic things like:

  • What will the app do?

  • How will it work?

  • What should it look like?

Then I went to Fiverr to find a developer and an app designer. I landed on two I felt really understood the project.

In less than 1 month, I had the first version of FireTexts to test.

The first version was really buggy, a ton of different things weren’t working right.

So I had to go back to the drawing board and polish a lot.

That took about another month to finalize and launch.

The biggest setback came when I was trying to add FireTexts to the Apple App Store.

Apple’s notorious for being strict on the apps they let go live. Plus, the bugs were slowing down the review process but they eventually gave us the green light.

Then the reality check came….

What I found out pretty soon was that launching the product is only half the battle.

After launching, I thought I was in the fast lane to success.

But the response was… straight crickets.

Day one we got, I think, 2 downloads.

For the next 10 days after that, nothing changed.

No one was downloading FireTexts.

That was tough.

I tried a ton of angles on Reddit. Anything funny or unique about FireTexts that would get attention.

(Side note: The message posted was too * intense* to share, so if you want to see it you’ll have to check it out here)

Then one day I woke up and realized…

Practically overnight we got 3K+ views and several hundred downloads.  

That’s when I thought “ok. I’ve got something here.”

Immediately I got to work, what can I do next?

So I decided to post FireTexts on Product Hunt. 

We ranked the 6th best Product Of The Day - crazy.

A growth hack we used: Every time someone would reach out asking about what developers I used, I’d give them a doc with all the info. But in exchange, I’d ask for a 5-star review of FireTexts.

That worked insanely well.

The first launch got us user testing and feedback. Now based on that feedback, I’ll be launching an even better 2nd version of FireTexts in the next week.

🤔 If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

If I were to do it again I would switch up the launch strategy to get more downloads in the beginning.

Here’s how I would do it:

1/ Launch the first version of the product to a small group on Reddit for feedback. I’d hold off on the big marketing tactics at the start.

2/ Update the app based on feedback, and create a second version.

3/ Then I would launch on bigger sites, such as Product Hunt.

I think if I did it like this, I would’ve captured more of the early traffic.

💰 If you had time to launch a new product, what would it be?

A.I. is a goldmine, but a lot of people are focused on customer-facing products. I would build a business-to-business product.

This would be agencies like:

  • A.I. consulting

  • Creating prompts for businesses

  • Finding ways to boost customer experience with A.I.

  • Helping businesses work with their data (kinda like ChatGPT’s Code Interpreter)

In my products, I plan to use A.I. to:

  • Help users navigate within our products

  • Help create and inspire future apps

  • Help solve minor problems with future apps and businesses”

🚨 Wait! Before you go…

I know this is A LOT different than our typical content. But, we wanted to spice things up a bit.

It would mean the world to us if you spent 2 minutes giving us honest feedback on what you thought about this edition below.

If you want more content like this (or less) let us know below. 

- Johnathon & Hayden

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