Pro Con

By Mark Nuyens
4 min. read🚀 Entrepreneurship

In 2014, fresh out of college, I embarked on an exciting journey to bring my idea for a reviewing platform to life. Armed with limited experience but a strong determination, I set out to utilize the tools, skills, and resources available to me at the time. Little did I know that this endeavor would prove to be an immensely valuable and transformative experience.

The platform I developed allowed users to share their opinions about products and services by listing pros and cons. What set this platform apart was the unique aggregation and presentation of reviews. The overall quality of a product or service was determined by the number of pros and cons listed, as well as the votes they received from other users. Users could upvote or downvote each point, providing a more reliable representation. This cumulative data was visually displayed through a pie chart, instantly conveying the overall quality of a reviewed item at a glance.

Demo of publishing a new page.

Creating a platform for the world to see taught me the myriad concerns and considerations that arise when sharing an idea with a broader audience. The tasks seemed to stack up endlessly, ranging from addressing features and bugs to contemplating scalability, stability, and design improvements. And that was just scratching the surface—I hadn't even delved into the intricacies of marketing. As an entrepreneur, I realized that I was ill-prepared for the many challenges that accompany bringing an idea to life. Nonetheless, the joy of seeing my vision materialize, using my preferred programming language and a design tailored to my target audience, was deeply gratifying.

Among the various compelling aspects of building this platform, the most fascinating part was collecting data and presenting it in a relatable manner. Unlike traditional rating systems such as stars, grades, or even tomatoes, the "pros and cons" format allowed users to express their opinions more comprehensively. It provided a unique perspective, giving individuals a clearer understanding of the product or service being reviewed. Looking back, I find great satisfaction in the development of this platform.

The promo video I created (my voice, indeed).

After releasing the first version of my reviewing service, I reached out to my network of classmates, friends, and family, inviting them to join and contribute. Their unwavering support and belief in my idea kept me motivated, proving that people are willing to give a chance to ideas when you believe in them. I am grateful for their encouragement and stimulation, which have been invaluable throughout this journey.

Initially, the platform gained some traction upon its launch. People from diverse backgrounds enthusiastically added products, reviewed them, and engaged with the platform. However, despite this promising start, the platform failed to achieve the level of popularity I had hoped for. It is likely that the limited marketing budget played a significant role in hindering its growth. Nevertheless, reflecting on the experience, I can confidently say that the journey was valuable. The lessons learned and connections made opened doors to promising assignments and other opportunities. The experience of creating something from scratch and witnessing its initial growth is unforgettable.

Occasionally, I still find myself wondering about the potential future of this project had I continued working on it beyond its completion. Perhaps now, with the right timing and resources, it could have evolved into a formidable competitor to Google's reviewing services. Who knows what possibilities would have presented themselves if I had stuck to it. 🤔 Regardless, this experience has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the process of creation and the challenges that come with bringing an idea to fruition. In any case, I am very grateful for being able to persue this goal in the first place.