How to manage the sheer disappointment of launch: Showing off Evanstagram (Vue)

Chronicles of Chris
4 min readNov 9, 2020

The Stats

Feelings

  • Before: Bad
  • During: Great
  • After: Bad

Time

  • Estimated: A couple of months
  • Actual: 2–3 months

Imposter Syndrome Check: Positive

The Background

My family and I aren’t super close. 2020 has been a turbulent time for most, but for me it actually hasn’t been too damaging. However, it did make me reconsider some things about my relationships. I wanted to put my money where my mouth is and use my newfound coding skills to make something for my family. I thought I could kill two birds with one stone by simultaneously brushing up on my Vue knowledge.

I created a photo-sharing website in the same vein as Instagram. We’re the Evans family. Evans. Instagram.

Guess what I called it.

My genius knows no bounds.

I wanted us to use it to share photos to one another (or to other people outside of the family) and hoped that it would bring us closer together.

The Feeling

When I completed it, I was really proud of it. I didn’t know if I could do it, and I did. I say “completed”; there’s still plenty of bugs, but it serves the purpose I set out for it to solve so I’m calling it “good enough” for now. Which is a tough call to make for a perfectionist, but I’ve objectively included all of the functionality I wanted plus some extras. Plus, I wanted to show it to my family and start the healing as soon as possible.

I introduced my parents to it on Sunday evening. They didn’t hate it, but they were just… disinterested. We spent about 15 minutes total talking about it, half of which were spent actually talking about totally irrelevant stuff like holidays and the election. They had no follow up questions, no ideas for how to use it, and were sceptical about its usability and effectiveness. They weren’t excited about what I’d done for us and that really, really hurt.

Lessons Learned

No one is as excited about your thing as you are.

That’s not a cynical point of view; you spend hundreds of hours pouring over the finest of details, you get frustrated at errors and elated at solutions, you grow and develop a connection with this thing you’ve made. So when you show other people your baby and they don’t feel as paternal about it as you do: don’t be disheartened. On Evanstagram, I really tried to pay attention to the details; the colour scheme is based on presents we all got for each other several years ago, the home button is our family crest, and we’re spread out around the world so I included a geo-tagging feature. That’s a level of attention to detail you can’t expect to see from other people, and you are only doing yourself more harm if you do.

I’ve been developing another “baby” recently that is due to launch soon — those cost comparison website for my small business. I was perhaps overexcited about that launch, too, until this saga. Not to say I’m not still amped to get a website into production, but I’ve tempered my emotions somewhat.

Not every success is an outright success.

I think a lot of us set out to learn how to code with lofty ambitions in mind. Make a company, create something beautiful, change the world etc. etc.. When those lofty ambitions aren’t as picture perfect in reality as they are in your life, it’s tough not to be disappointed. This also goes on a much smaller level; you may set out to build a perfect website. You have plans, Miro boards, UX designs; everything should work seamlessly. And then it inevitably doesn’t, and suddenly your perfect image begins to fade away. Does that make the your project a failure?

It’s on you to dissect your project and appreciate all that you’ve gotten out of it. So what if it’s not appreciated yet? Reflect on how much you have learned, how far you have come, and how the final product makes you feel.

Which leads me onto my final and most significant conclusion:

Make it for you, not for them.

Coding is art. An artist who makes music purely for the maximum financial or fame gain is a joke and a sellout. They sign away a piece of their soul. Make advertising jingles, sure. Make hotel art to pay the bills, sure. But in your spare time, when it’s just you and your VSCode, create art that you like. You shouldn’t be asking yourself if people are gonna like it, or use it, or buy it. It doesn’t matter if you get a standing ovation; it doesn’t matter if you get code bro followers; it doesn’t even matter if those closest to you like it. Does it make you happy? Did you smile when finished it? Does it warm your soul to see it on the screen? These are the questions you should be asking yourself.

In my case, regardless of my family’s reactions, the answer to all three: yes.

Launch

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