13 weeks of summer holidays can seem daunting for some. So much time - how do you occupy yourself? I wanted to spend the time working on something meaningful yet simultaneously better my skills. In the summer of 2017, I built Swiipe News. I envisioned it to be a "news app with a twist". The concept was simple; swipe left to dismiss an article, swipe right to save it for later, and tap to view it now. Appropriately, it would later be dubbed the "Tinder for news".
Screenshot of promotional material used for Swiipe News.
I launched the app in late August and added it to Product Hunt on September 2nd. Within the first few hours, I had received about 3 upvotes - I was losing hope. I contacted Product Hunt's support team to take down the post but they informed me that it was scheduled to be a featured product the next day. So I left it up and decided to wait it out and see what would happen. The following day, upvotes and comments came pouring in. It was the top voted product for that day. People from all corners of the globe were interacting with my two-week project and congratulating me on my work.
Then came the press. A reporter from Mashable contacted me and asked for an interview which I accepted ecstatically. The article made it to Mashable's front page which in turn landed me more press coverage from countries like Mexico and Ireland. I was also invited to speak at the 2nd biggest media conference in Europe, Medientage, the following month. Swiipe has since died out, but the contacts I made from it haven't. For me, the project was more of a stepping stone to help me get to where I really want to be.
Screenshot from an interview I did at Medientage. Yes, I needed a haircut.
If you told me at the start of 2017, that in two years' time, I would've spoken at three European conferences, all expenses paid I would've had no reason to believe you. I made sure to give my thanks to the lady who encouraged me to keep Swiipe on Product Hunt. She mightn't realize it, but if it wasn't for her, my life may have taken a different course. She's not the only one - I am grateful to be surrounded by people who have gone out of their way to help me get to where I am today. One day in the future, I hope I'll get the same opportunity to give back to those who helped me most.
Snapshot of me presenting Swiipe at Medientage 2017.