Why Is Our App So “SuckShit” | Wowwwz
The reason why our app has so many bugs and is still quite sucky.
**This piece first appeared on johnsonkhoo.com. You can find more related stories and articles on his 10 year journey to build ASEAN’s first world-changing start-up that would help everyone in this world find true love and build lasting romantic relationships here.
I feel very sad whenever a user tells me about a bug they found on Wowwwz.
Most of the time, we are well aware of the bug, and also many other things that could be improved and could be much much better.
For some of them, we know exactly how to solve them, but we just don’t have enough time and resources to get it done because it can take days to weeks to solve and there are more urgent and crucial bugs to fix and features to build
So, we are left with no choice but to prioritise and live with those bugs for now if they are not critical bugs that prevents the app from performing its basic functions.
Others are caused by limitations with React Native, a programming framework we use which saves us previous development time so we don’t have to build everything twice for both iOS and Android, which would take a long time to hack out a solution for or would need a total rebuild of the feature using native code.
Wowwwz Is Just A 1–2 Man Team — Mostly 1 Now
My co-founder quit his comfortable high paying five figure monthly salary job as a senior software engineer at a US company to join me full time with a huge pay cut — only a fresh grad’s salary — and stayed with me at our office to code day and night for a year.
After a year, we decided that it was best to extend our runway for as long as possible and build out our app slowly rather than hiring out a team and growing as fast as possible just to die because we run out of money and can’t raise the next round — because our ASEAN ecosystem isn’t ready to fund something world-changing like Wowwwz — by not taking a salary at all and for him to go back to his high paying five figure software engineering job so he can save up more money for his future.
Not everyone can sacrifice everything and go without a salary like me.
That’s why now, Wowwwz is mostly a 1 man team, just me doing everything from coding, fixing bugs, building new features, maintaining dependencies, biz dev, pitching, creating content, organising speed dating events and everything needed to grow Wowwwz, with my co-founder and CTO helping out at night and on weekends.
We Are SEVERELY Under-Funded
We are fortunate to have raised a very small pre-seed round from some angel investors — it’s an amount you can win at a hackathon in Silicon Valley or Singapore — that’s enough for us to pay for servers, basic tools and tech services needed for software development and build the app out slowly.
Despite that, the truth is that we are still severely under-funded to even get started properly by building a proper team to build out the app properly.
Wowwwz Is Not A Simple E-Commerce Or Listing/Booking App
If we were building a simple e-commerce or listing/booking app, then whatever we have raised would be enough for us to get started. In fact, I could hack out an MVP for that in 2 weeks and get things started, no problem.
However, Wowwwz requires custom data and server setups, algorithms and entirely new features that have never been built before. Helping users find potential partners who are right for them and share compatible values and interests as them and getting them to start meaningful conversations and build memorable experiences with each other requires a whole set of tools and features to accomplish.
It is not as simple as just showing a carousel of people in the same area like Tinder. To truly help you find your soulmate and live happily ever after requires a much more comprehensive solution and set of tools.
That’s why Wowwwz is actually quite hard to build.
We Used React Native — Fast To Deploy The First Time — A PAIN To Maintain
We decided to use React Native because when we started, we heard a lot of good things and good reviews about React Native. It’s developed and maintained by Facebook and is used by big start-ups like Airbnb as well.
Both me and my co-founder were primarily web and back-end software engineers and had limited experience with developing natively on iOS and Android using Objective C/Swift or Java/Kotlin.
Hence, instead of spending months learning 2 new programming languages and how to build on 2 new platforms, we decided to go with React Native where you can learn and build once for both iOS and Android.
It Is Also A Freaking Nightmare To Maintain — For Small Teams
React Native was fast to build and deploy the first them when everything was up-to-date, but it is a huge PAIN in the ass to maintain as changes and updates are introduced to the ecosystem, especially if you are just a 1–2 man team.
For example, iOS and Android had many breaking changes this year — in 2019, and we had to upgrade all our dependencies and rebuild many portions of the app just to maintain functionality of existing features.
Another well-funded US start-up who was also using React Native had a team of 60 highly paid software engineers who spent 2 months to upgrade their app so their app could continue to function.
I have to do most of the things myself, just 1 person, with the help of my co-founder at night and on weekends. Of course things are going to be much much slower.
React Native Has A Memory Leak Problem
For a time, the average time a user spends on our app per session on iOS was close to 20mins, which was pretty good. But on Android, it was just 2 minutes.
Do you know why?
The reason was because our app crashed on Android at the 2 minute mark. This was because React Native has a memory leak problem on Android. That means that RAM usage will keep building up as you scroll through profiles of people on the app until the app finally crashes, and this was not our fault and had nothing to do with the quality of our code. It is a problem with React Native that everyone faces.
React Native works fine for most apps that are not picture heavy. However, if your app is a picture heavy one like Airbnb where you show pictures of accommodation, you will face the memory problem. Unfortunately, Wowwwz is basically a carousel of people, and is extremely picture heavy.
Many Big Start-Ups Lost Millions And Abandoned React Native
We asked for help and got plenty of native developers to look at our code to see if we were doing anything wrongly, but they all couldn’t find anything wrong with our code.
We soon realised that the problem was not us, but React Native itself, when we found out that even big and well funded start-ups in the region lost millions in salary and lost development time and resources to apps they’ve built with React Native and had to scrap and rebuild completely with native code because of the memory leak problem.
Airbnb, who were once raving about React Native, eventually wrote a tech blog post about their frustrations with React Native and how they had to scrap React Native and migrate back to native code too.
Wowwwz Is Poor — We Have No Choice But To Stick With It For Now
These start-ups who have raised tens of millions of US dollars or giants like Airbnb can afford to do that, but we can’t.
We Can’t Afford To Learn 2 Programming Languages + Build Everything Twice — Yet
We are poor, severely underfunded, a mostly 1 man team trying to solve a global problem in an ecosystem that isn’t ready to fund truly innovative start-up like ours.
With limited resources, we can’t afford to learn 2 programming languages and built everything twice. That would just take too much time before we can launch anything.
We Know Exactly What Can Be Improved — What Bugs Needs To Be Fixed
What’s saddening is that we actually know all the things that can be improved, can be fixed and how to improve and fix them, but we just don’t have enough time and resources to do so because we are so poor and severely underfunded.
Our User Interface And Features Can Already Be SOO MUCH Better — But No Time!
With the data and users that we already have, so much could be done and built to make the user experience so much better. Our user profile page design is already outdated, we can add so much more information and make the quality of our introductions and interactions so much better, we just don’t have enough time to build it!
I Am Already Not Sleeping Much And Staying At My Office (No Life AT ALL)
There is only so much I can do and sacrifice as a person. I only have 24 hours in a day. I am already not sleeping much and am literally staying at my office and have no life whatsoever other than building Wowwwz.
I Still Have To Pitch — Handle Accounts — Marketing — Content — Wash Toilet Etc
Besides coding, building new features, fixing bugs and maintaining the code base, I still have to pitch to investors, organise events, pitch to clients and partners, handle accounting, marketing, content and even clean the office myself to save money.
We Have SOO MANY Amazing Features In Our Pipeline!
There are so many amazing tools and features we can build that are in the pipeline, but we just don’t have enough resources to execute them in time!
But We Really DON’T HAVE Enough Time, Money & Resources
Things are moving, but too slowly, because it’s just mostly me doing everything.
We would need a proper seed round to be able to hire out a proper engineering team in order to properly execute and build out the basic features we need to build in order to achieve a respectable retention rate and K-Factor.
Facebook Always Changes Stuff That Breaks Things Too — They Don’t Care
To make the signup process simpler, we are currently using Facebook Login, and Facebook has been changing their Facebook Login SDK and graph API pretty frequently because of the privacy issues they are currently facing, but they don’t really bother to inform small start-ups like us about those changes properly, often breaking things and us finding out only when a user realises they can’t sign in via Facebook or when we receive an error email from our servers.
That takes up a lot of time and derails our development of other new features.
We Can Only Prioritise On The Critical Elements
Because we don’t have enough manpower, we have no choice but to only prioritise on the critical elements of the app so it can at least serve its basic function.
We Feel Sooooooo Frustrated, Sad And Depressed
You have no idea how frustrated, sad and depressed we get when we see an error or a user complaining about a bug or a bad UI that could be improved.
It hurts so bad because we know, and want to fix and improve it so bad but are helpless because there are so many things to do but not enough time to do them.
That We Are RIGHT — But Stuck In The WRONG ECOSYSTEM
It is even more frustrating to know that we are doing the right things, solving the problems the right way and have everything it takes to build Wowwwz, except the funds required to do so because we are stuck in an ecosystem with VCs who don’t understand truly innovative and game-changing start-ups like Wowwwz.
It’s frustrating to know that if I was a Chinese citizen based in China or born in the US and can easily relocated to Silicon Valley, I would have been funded and been able to build Wowwwz into a very successful start-up that is helping billions around the world find their right life partners and live happily ever after a long long time ago.
An Ecosystem That Doesn’t Fund Truly Innovative Ideas That Solve Global Problems
Unfortunately, for now, I am stuck in an ASEAN start-up ecosystem that prefers to fund copycats and instant revenue generating start-ups that don’t really scale well and doesn’t understand what it takes to spot and fund truly innovative ideas solving global problems that could become the next Facebook or Google like what I am building — Wowwwz.
Wowwwz Would Already Be A World Changer If We Were In Silicon Valley Or China
After talking to VCs in China and friends in Silicon Valley, I am very sure that Wowwwz would already be well funded and a world changer if we were in Silicon Valley or China.
Same Pitch — Totally Different Reactions
I used the exact same pitch I used with ASEAN VCs when I pitched to Chinese VCs in China, but got 2 totally different reactions.
ASEAN VCs thought that it was too ambitious and it din’t make money, whereas almost all Chinese VCs in China think that Wowwwz is going to be the next world-changing start-up that is at least as big as Tencent or Alibaba.
VCs in China understand how you can lose hundreds of millions of dollars without generating revenue in your first 5 to 7 years to focus on solving a problem so everyone would use your app daily. Once that happens, you will be making billions out of thin air every quarter just like what Facebook and Tencent are doing right now.
They understand because they have seen it happen, and were part of that process.
ASEAN VCs, on the other hand, have never seen it happen. Most weren’t even entrepreneurs themselves and have never been part of a start-up. Most ASEAN VCs have backgrounds in banking and finance and were used to dealing with big listed companies or established companies in conventional industries who are preparing for IPO.
They don’t know what it takes and how to spot the next Tencent or Facebook.
It Is A Problem With The Mindset Of ASEAN Investors
What’s holding us back and causing our app to be so sucky and full of bugs for now is the mindset of ASEAN investors, who are not funding truly innovative and game-changing start-ups like ours.
That’s why we can’t build a proper team to properly build out our app.
We Can’t Even Get Enough To PROPERLY Get Started
I have literally sacrificed my life to build Wowwwz and am doing everything I can. I really don’t know what else I can do.
If I get any lesser than the 3–5 hours of sleep I get now I would die.
Right now, we can’t even get enough funding to properly get started, that’s why our app is so SuckShit for now. It’s improving, I am doing everything I can to improve it every day. But progress is slow, because we are severely underfunded and it’s just mostly me doing everything.
I really hope you guys understand this, support us nevertheless, share my story and our circumstances with your friends and give us a chance to build ASEAN’s first 100 billion USD world-changing start-up that would help everyone in this world find their one true love and go on to build lasting romantic relationships and live happily ever after.
I hope you will help me out a little here so that I can build the tools to help everyone in this world find their soulmate whom they can grow old together and live long happy lives with.
If you have access to a brand, company, working building, community or even VCs, let me know; I can help you build a community of people who like your product or brand and introduce them to each other, or bring a community closer by introducing people at the same building or company to each other!
You can reach me at email@example.com or LinkedIn.
Don’t forget to SHARE this story and all related stories to as many of your friends too, we need to more people to spread the word so we can start a positive paradigm shift in our ecosystem.
Also, you can help by downloading the app, give us a good rating, subscribe to my Youtube Channel about relationships-coming soon, leave your email, join this Facebook Group and check back every few months for cool updates.
*Search for Wowwwz on the App Store or Play Store to download
JohnsonKhooTV — Subscribe to my upcoming Youtube Channel where I will be talking about real life stories about love & relationships
FB Group To Stay Updated On Wowwwz’s Journey — Join this Facebook Group so you can stay updated on our journey, new features and new stories and new updates on our quest to build a start-up that could help everyone in this world find true love and live happily ever after
Help me out, because many people’s lifetime happiness is in your hands.
UPDATE in 2021 — The Wowwwz app is now temporarily offline as I rebuild it into a more maintainable web app (we have 5k users, people met each other and a couple got married), but it is getting hard for a 1 man team to maintain and build out the app on both ios and android — updates to ios & android alone are too time consuming — that’s why Clubhouse is only on iOS for so long. I hope you guys understand. Will only be able to build it out properly on multiple platforms once we have enough funding to hire out teams to do so.
For now, I will be rebuilding the app as a web app. Stay tuned!
Once you’ve downloaded the app and signed up, you can also start to meet other amazing single people in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore who share the same values and interests as you by scanning the QR codes below.
*Search for Wowwwz on the App Store or Play Store to download
SCAN with Wowwwz to meet amazing single people in Kuala Lumpur!
SCAN with Wowwwz to meet amazing single people in Singapore!
Do SHARE this with as many of your single friends as possible so they can find their soulmate soon, we can get more traction, and raise the funding necessary to build you more cool features that will help amazing single people meet each other and amazing couples grow their relationship!
Let’s do this together!
The world needs YOUR HELP so all of us can find true love!
You have the power to become a superhero!