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The year 2022 has passed, and now we enter the second month of 2023. Seems like time goes by in the blink of an eye. I feel like I have not accomplish much last year and I want to change that.


I have theory that to build a (software) product you need four ingredients: a niche, dogfooding, user engagement, and finally, monetization; in that order.


A product should have a function that has not been implemented or produced by other before. For example, there are many streaming services right now, from Netflix to $name_of_your_local_streaming_service. One of the niche in this industry is a streaming service that focus only on anime or cartoon. The streaming service provides anime/cartoon from 90s until now from all countries, from He-Man to Attack on Titan. Who’s the market? All ages, from kids to adult.

Raise your hand if you want your kids watch Doraemon too?

What if the product already exist? Make it more local and/or add more depth. Amazon and Google may bigs in U.S. and Europe, but not in China. Uber may be the first online ride hailing, but they failed to conquer the South East Asian market; now we have Grab, Gojek and probably many more in each country.


Another term for dogfooding is "scratch your own itch".

The first user of your product must be you. No one else. Because you know that there is no product out there that satisfy you, if there is one, you probably already using them.

If you build a product that you don’t even use, then the chance to market it probably hard.

User engagement

Once you satisfied with your own product —you use it daily and feels that all you want is already fulfilled— its time to listen to other users. Because you build it by yourself, you know ins and out of your product, other users may not. Listen from your users, gather the feedbacks, how to make it better for them. Sometimes, you will be surprise on how non-tech people use your software (in a good way) which make you rethink again about the flow, or to make it more simple and usable.


The last part and the hardest one is making income from it. Each product is unique. One path of monetization may not works when applied to others. Some sell subscriptions, some sell setup and maintenance (cloud installation), and some sell ads.

Once you choose this path, there is only one suggestion from me: do not make your user angry or feel left out without paying first, unless you already inform them from beginning.


Since 2019, I have build and publish a product. It is not an application, more like static website that provide information in Bahasa Indonesia. I use it occasionally which means I am at stage 2, dogfooding.

In 2023 I want to make user more engage. The only way to do this is to provide a forum, where user can ask or provide an answer related to the content, or lack of content, in the website so I can fix or provide better version of it.

The path to monetization is a long way journey, probably one or two more years. Lets see if I can make it this year. See you in 2024!