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10 things I learned after running my own social network app

Back in the day I published my iOS app, kind of a social platform but in a weird way. It was an anonymous chat with a single person - me. Peer to multi-peer, I would name it this way. The person just had to pick up a name and that's it. They can write in the chat, and I receive their messages and can reply to each of them personally.

I had to fight with the Apple app review team before they approved the app and it was finally published on App Store. They simply didn't understand what is a value and how it works. I used to explain them. We played ping-pong for a month, and I even started to feel doubts about this app too. But I didn't let it go.

When it landed on the App Store, I thought no one will write there, I thought they will take the side of the Apple Review team. But after a day I had 1000 users. In a month there were 20k users. And an even bigger amount of messages. The retention rate was 40% which is enormous for a social network app and even for such a small project. Which Apple considered useless.

We were a two-men group. I was a developer, my friend was a designer of this app. We didn't understand what to do with this amount of people. We were doing this just for fun and to prove that we can do it. We wanted to prove this to Apple too. We didn't expect this success. We validated that this niche is open. It's needed. A person needs another person.

We closed the app after 6 months. We didn't have enough hands to handle the conversations. We didn't want to automate this stuff. The actual conversation, the conversation with a real person was a key feature of this app. So simple. So powerful. So free. But so expensive. Time is the most precious thing in our lives.

    1. If you want to influence people's lives you gotta share a disclaimer upfront.

    There were so many questions and so many problems. People needed help. They didn't have the courage to ask for it someone real, they wanted to talk to a stranger. No-face to no-face. But I'm not a professional. I just wanted to be a nice guy, a supportive shoulder. I just wanted to be a good developer.

    I was scared about them and about all these responsibilities.

    I had to create a disclaimer that I'm not a professional therapist. I'm just a chat application.

    2. Boys are getting mature way slower than girls.

    50% of the dialogs was about the girl loving a boy, but this boy is a dickhead who wants to play Fortnite all day and all night. They just simply don't match their desires. They live in different psychological age dimensions. They will never meet each other.

    3. People are alone.

    The person needs another person. They want to be heard.

    4. Sometimes everything that matters is just to have a talk with someone, even if they are a stranger.

    5. You can't be a Bruce All-mighty, you have to set a limit.

    You can't handle 20k conversations.

    6. People just want to share their dirty secret and that's it.

    7. You are never safe from toxic people.

    8. People hate waiting.

    That was the reason we closed the app. They wanted the answer right at the same minute.

    9. People take most of the thing as granted.

    They don't respect you and your aspiration.

    10. The biggest achievement is realising you helped at least one person.

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