January 2022 Retro

Cutting corners and reducing scope was the only way to finally launch publicly.

In last month’s retro , I spent most of my time building out the “difficult” hidden parts of AdSlicer and reflected on my 6-month journey into indie hacking. Since then, I’ve focused on the visual side of AdSlicer in preparation for the first public release. Turns out that the visual stuff is actually the difficult part. Who knew? 😅

Last month’s goals

  1. Launch a very bad version of AdSlicer to the public.

    Final grade: 🕒 🚀 ✅

Main events

Cutting corners & reducing scope

I spent a lot of time working on features I thought I needed for the launch, but then ended up dropping it when it became crunch-time. Specifically:

  1. Login with Facebook: This is obviously critical to a Facebook tool, but unexpectedly when I tried to publish the Facebook App, they blocked my account for “going too fast”. Talk about platform risk 😬

    “Move fast and get blocked” — The Zuck

    Thanks to this (and my bad planning) I didn’t have enough time to get everything ready before the end of January, so I removed the login button altogether.

  2. User onboarding: Before I got Zucked, I spent a couple hours working on the initial setup screens for newly logged-in users. A user needs to setup their account in order to sync the correct ad data. Now with the ability to login removed, this isn’t needed anymore.

  3. Billing: Honestly, I didn’t even think this far because I’m not convinced that the thing I built has anything worth paying for yet. If a user really wants to use AdSlicer, they’ll be greeted with a Google form asking them for more details.

In the end, I did launch, but not the MVP I wanted. I settled for a publicly accessible demo of the tool.

I’m a big fan of “try before you login” flows, and seeing as I couldn’t get a user to sync their data, I decided to use my own live anonymized data instead. This was way easier than I thought and I got it done in a single sitting.

However, I don’t think visualizing demo ad results is as compelling as visualizing your own ad results.

Writing copy from the future

I dread writing, but I know in my heart-of-hearts that it’s good for me.

Similarly, getting started on AdSlicer’s landing page copy was tough. But as with most things, once I got started, I realize it’s not that bad. Enjoyable even.

It’s difficult talking up a product that you know has the potential to be awesome, but is currently hot garbage.

Like “Make sense of you Facebook ad results in 10 seconds” — a bold statement that I have every intention on making true (in the future), but is presently not grounded in “truth” per se 😅

It feels uncomfortable writing these little lies, but I don’t see another way to get strangers interested in the product. Admittedly, “truth” is subjective so aiming for absolute truth would lead to the collapse of marketing altogether. And I’m not ready to do that just yet.


Forget about efficiency for a moment, it’s satisfying to see the time allocation for my own project eclipses that of my freelance work. 7 months ago the pie chart below was on big dot for just my day job. This is (personal) progress!

Time allocation (2022-01)

This month’s goals

  1. Talk to at least 1 Facebook Ads marketer (that I don’t already know) about AdSlicer.

    Seeing as I am ridiculously late with this retro again, I think this goal is achievable. I’m currently in the Philippines (since 14 Feb) to attend a wedding and the trip has been somewhat stressful with visa requirements & covid regulations. As a result, I haven’t had any time so far to focus on AdSlicer. All my time has been allocated to exploring PH & freelancing.

Thanks for making it this far. If you're interested in what happens next, I'll email it to you next month. I’ll be publishing the next retro from the Philippines too 🇵🇭