TwittExplorer: Journey from the idea to the launch

TwittExplorer: Journey from the idea to the launch

A bit of context

I created a Twitter account in 2015, to try I guess, but I never used it. I started to use it for real in Summer 2022 when I understood it helps to get opportunities.

That was my very first Tweet:

I was convinced Twitter could be interesting to talk about product I build and to meet people.
The problem: I had 11 followers at this time, so my tweet weren't visible, and I had no notoriety.
Then I decided to build a personal brand by sharing what I know and appreciate: data, build project and crypto.

So I forced myself to tweet everyday around these subjects, with consistency.

Pain points identification

The more I used Twitter, the more I noticed pain points.

The first one I saw: Bookmarks management.
Part of my Twitter use is to learn from others. So I use bookmarks a lot. Have you ever tried to bookmark a tweet? It's a nightmare to retrieve it. No possibility to search by keywords, date, authors etc.
So I thought a solution to retrieve bookmarks would be awesome for me.

Second issue: Retrieve my own tweets links. Many people ask me questions in DM, sometimes I want to share with them tweets I wrote. But it's hard to retrieve link.

Also, the more I used Twitter, the more I got followers. My audience grew. And I had no clue who was following me. Which led me to a 3rd issue: Know my audience.

Followers progression

The idea

All these issues have a common factor: data accessibility. The data is here, in Twitter, but it's difficult through the interface to get it and analyze it.

There's many tools about Twitter, and some give you analytics, but none - at least from those I tried - give you the full accessibility to your own data. That's what I wanted to build: a solution to deliver data to the customers, so they can get value from their data (search, sort, filter, create custom charts, custom metrics etc).

My idea was to export data in Google Sheet as it's a powerful tool use by many persons.
And I thought about a freemium plan to get more visibility: people can tweet "Export my Twitter data @Twittexplorer_" and get data exported for free.

The day I got the idea, I couldn't sleep: it doesn't exist and the freemium can lead to virality.
I remember iI had the idea on a weekend, and I usually don't want to annoy too much my co-founders with work as they are with their children. But on the morning I wrote them a message: "I have a new idea I'm excited to tell you, let me know when we can discuss it".
We made a call a few minutes later together and they approved it.
[author's note: we already built Cryptopy together, the full Cryptopy story is here ]


From there, I made research on data I could access from Twitter developers' documentation. And I made a quick prototype to export my data.

My co-founder Constance started to transform the prototype to a production-ready solution. I started landing page, visuals etc.

First hero visual, never used (transparent background)

We had quite difficulties to find the name. At first we were focused on Bookmarks so we thought "SaveMyBookmarks", "ExportBookmarks", "BookmarksExport" (And we noticed the latter spelling was bad... Try to read it without the E uppercase, you might be confused by another word).

Then we wanted to be larger and Twitter oriented. We wanted keywords like "Twitter, tweet" to appear for Twitter part, and "Export, Explore, Analyze, Data" for the data exploration part. TwittExplorer came to mind.

Note: Before securing the domain name, we already made Github project, produced logos, images etc with different names. So we had to modify them everytime we changed our name πŸ˜…. That's time consuming. Today, some folders still have old names. That's ok.

When our solution was ready, we asked to a few persons we trust to beta test.

On Wednesday, 19th of January 2022 we officially launched on Twitter, I wrote a resume of the story in a thread:

A few hours after official launch a user found out a bug to register. It caused a big stress: our project was now public and we were struggling to find the problem. But my co-founder made a fix quickly.

We tested different scenarios but users can always find bugs due to a different configuration.
Lesson learned: You can do everything to prevent bugs, but you won't avoid them all. We are humans.
The support you offer to your customers is key when you build a product. We thanked the person and offered him a premium access to apologize for the inconvenience.

A few days after the launch, Elon Musk announced Twitter API won't stay free. At this time, it seems the plan will be starting 100€/months. It's not much if your company have revenue but we don't. So we don't know yet if we could continue the projects with new services around it. I'll try to keep you up-to-date with this.

Lesson: be careful when you want to build a solution platform dependant: there's risks the platform stops services or modify terms of use.

To know more about me & my SaaS you can follow me on Twitter: Pauline_Cx