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How to Plan Like a Pro: Part 2 of 2




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An inquisitive programmer with a strong passion for Music and Technology

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.” — Sun Tzu

The first post in this mini-series went over both a generalized outlook of planning a project.

This post applies methods that I use in particular when piecing together ideas for code and will be in reference to my final Flatiron project.


Coming up with the right idea is where the real heart of the vision lies. You want to make sure your idea is both viable and possible with the resources at hand. Otherwise you are bound to fail in its execution, with no pressure.
Let’s look at how this process can be approached.

Is there a gap in the market?

This is how most ideas start in business, and this applies to development as well. It all starts with a foundation that’s either hard to find elsewhere or has plenty of room for improvement.

You can also find a good starting point by finding a problem either generalized or personal and making your project the solution to said problem.

Consider the scope 

This aspect has two sides. One of which is how grand in scale is the idea? You have to be realistic here and not attempt to solo a project that would benefit from a team-based approach and vice versa. The other is that 99% of dev projects will need more work to carry on the flame after the first version/M.V.P is completed. Hence, we are called developers. Keep that in mind when assembling ideas.

Directing the vision 

This is where you will start to piece together the ingredients of the idea, so it all makes sense and has its own direction. If you do this well, you’ll find moments when the idea even directs itself.

How would you categorize your app? What frameworks and libraries might you need? What features are essential and should be prioritized?

As you can see, depending on the scope of your idea, a lot of thought will need to go in o this aspect of brainstorming, but you don’t have to write it all down. Provided that the vision is clearly defined, it can end up working itself out.

The Breakdown


From this point on, I’ll apply the previous concepts to my final Flatiron project. We’ll start with the third point from above, seeing as it combines all the other concepts as well. First, let’s look at an app breakdown template that I swear by. Feel free to use this with your own projects.

Outline the vision and intentions behind your idea. This should only be a short bio describing the general direction of your project is.

Data Models / Entities
Each app will have its own outline of related data. For instance, in a To-Do List app, you may have a model for Users and a model for the To-Do Items.

Main Features
These are the bread and butter macro-functions of your app that help it commit to its aim.

User Stories
From an app user’s point of view, describe what is possible with the app and what the flow of usage may look like.
It should be described like this:

– A user can create a To-Do Item
– A user can edit a To-Do Item

Stretch Goals

After completing your MVP and your main features and successfully implementing all the possible user stories, what new features can you add to upgrade the capabilities of your app? (This is prone to change).


Mention any parts of the project that:
– Needs to be prioritized
– May be difficult to implement or requires extra attention
– Is dependant on a library or module

(This is prone to change)

M.V.P (Minimum Viable Product)
Last but not least is our M.V.P, and I don’t mean the most valued player, quite the opposite actually. The minimum viable product is the bare-bones build of your app that includes only the most necessary aspects and features required to commit to its aim, essentially amounting to your first completed version.

Concerns -optional-
Here is where you would detail any problems you are currently having with your project and need to be addressed. Some devs prefer to have this section in a separate file within their codebase. The choice is yours.

Welcome to MotiveRate


I made this design draft in Figma. While my website never actually ended up looking like this, it was pretty close, so I definitely recommend sketching out a simple UI interface to help you stick to a design for your app.

Below is a condensed plan for my MotiveRate App.​


A single-page app with the capabilities to make goals that improve personal motivation. There is also the ability to earn points through completing your actions and receiving support from peers.

There will be a focus on strong UI / UX integrations to facilitate better use of the app.

Main Features

  • Goal Creation
  • Sharing updates on completed goals
  • Currently trending keywords and categories
  • Points system
  • Providing support to other members goals
  • Mobile-Friendly

​Stretch Goals

  • Image Viewer
  • Keeping notes on current goals (private)
  • Events and Calendar Scheduling
  • Gratification / Rewards for Goals (avatars, themes, awards, etc.)
  • Share on Facebook / Twitter



  • id
  • username
  • password
  • email
  • first_name
  • last_name
  • score


  • id
  • title
  • description
  • category
  • deadline
  • isCompleted
  • User_id |ƒ| (the ‘f’ stands for foreign key)
  • isArchived


  • id
  • text
  • supporters
  • User_id |ƒ|
  • Goal_id |ƒ|

User Stories

  • Can create and edit account details
  • Can create and edit personal goals
  • Can earn points for completions
  • Can share and edit updates in relation to goals
  • Can support another user’s completions and updates with extra points
  • Can archive goals and related updates


  • Updates/Experiences are ways for users to share their stories and completions as well as receive extra points from other users.
  • Will likely use MaterializeUI library with react

Seed Profiles:

  • “Mangamojo” — manga artist
    “culinature” — chef
    Miasma” — DJ
    NorthernLight” — Director
    inFinityAdVenturer” — World Traveller
    Kimpossible” — Novellist
    AzirInn” — Property Management and Development
    MartialSoul” — Martial Artist and Stunt Double
    WyvernTech “— Application Security Specialist
    Serenathena “— eSports gamer


  • Rails backend API with a PostgreSQL database
  • Each model has its own designated API endpoint and relationships between models can be easily distinguished
  • 10 users, 10 goals, and 12 updates as seed data
  • Set up basic frontend built on react + redux that can receive data from back end API
  • Home page/landing pageUser page that displays your dashboard/profile for organizing your data
  • CRUD functionality for users, goals, and updates
  • Intuitive points system
  • Professional styling with strong UI / UX layout
  • Publicized updates through users sharing experiences and completions


  • Delay when passing downstate to profile component.
  • Profile component doesn’t re-update without a refresh (no need to fix unless rendering profile immediately after login/signup).
  • Need the ability to individually select what to edit (user).

Wrapping up

I believe that the concepts introduced here are really all you need to make the best start possible and commit to the ideas behind your projects.
More detailed templates and action plans exist depending on the companies and teams you work with. It’s up to you to adapt your style of strategy and tactics to the methods of your work environment.

Code in Peace

Also published here.


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Amb Crypto

3 Factors Which Affect Cryptocurrency Price



Cryptocurrencies are playing an ever greater role in the way we live our lives, including how we spend our free time online. Increasingly, people are logging on to sites like nolimit casino to enjoy the strategy of blackjack, the thrill of roulette and the entertainment of slots, all while funding their enjoyment using cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

But unlike traditional means of currency, crypto is often subject to volatile price fluctuations, meaning that it can be worth significantly more (or less) one day than it is the next. This can make managing a crypto wallet a difficult endeavor for those who favor the payment system when gambling, shopping and browsing online – so how can they stay abreast of the latest developments in the sector and better understand the factors which affect the market? Here’s a quick run through some of the biggest contributors to the rises and falls of cryptocurrency valuations.

Supply and demand

As with any commodity, a cryptocurrency is only worth what others are willing to pay for it. Some, like Bitcoin, have benefited from the fact that there is a finite supply – some 21 million Bitcoins in total, with around only four million that have yet to be mined. This means that the supply will never increase above that figure, even as demand continues to grow. By contrast, Ripple has a cap of 100 billion XRP coins, over half of which had yet to be mined at the time of writing. This surplus of supply means that Ripple is a lot cheaper than Bitcoin – at least for now.


Because it’s a very new technology, there is understandably a considerable amount of hesitancy among the investment community when it comes to trading in cryptocurrencies. As they become more commonplace and widely accepted in society, that trepidation is likely to ebb away in the long term – especially if they come to be formally recognized by national governments. Of course, the inverse is also true, as was recently witnessed with the news that China has banned financial institutions and online payment companies from accepting cryptocurrencies earlier this year. The shockwaves from the announcement saw crypto prices come tumbling down around the globe.

Public perception

It isn’t just a country’s official stance on crypto which can have a huge bearing on its value, either. Public perception of a commodity is shaped by a wide variety of factors, including the views and actions of societal leaders. A prominent example of this kind of factor occurred earlier this year, when tech billionaire and CEO of Tesla Elon Musk said that he would be dropping all use of Bitcoin until the technology behind the currency became more eco-friendly. The ramifications of Musk’s announcement not only put a squeeze on the price of Bitcoin, but also had a knock-on effect on the valuations of almost all other cryptocurrencies, as well.

Due to their volatility and unpredictability, cryptocurrencies can represent a risky investment. However, the factors which affect their fluctuation in price can be clearly traced, allowing savvy investors to make informed decisions on when to buy and sell crypto.

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Tumblr debuts Post+, a subscription service for Gen Z creators



As Twitter launches Super Follows, YouTube adds new monetization tools, and Instagram embraces e-commerce, the social media sphere is heating up with new ways for creators to make a living. Now, Tumblr is joining the fray with Post+, the platform’s first attempt at allowing users to monetize their content. Post+ is debuting today in limited beta for an exclusive selection of creators in the US, who were hand-picked by Tumblr.

Like Twitter’s Super Follows, Tumblr’s Post+ lets creators choose what content they want to put behind a paywall, whether that’s original artwork, personal blog posts, or Destiel fanfic. Creators can set the price for their subscriber-only content starting at $3.99 per month, with additional tiers at $5.99 and $9.99. The process of making content under Post+ is the same as any other Tumblr post — all creators will have to do is check a box to indicate that the post is for paying subscribers only, whether that’s a video, audio clip, text post, image, etc.

Image Credits: Tumblr

“Not reserved only for professionals, or those with 10K followers or higher, Tumblr’s Post+ will push the boundaries of what’s considered money-making content on the internet: Shitposters, memelords, artists, fan fiction writers, all of the above and everyone in between will be able to create content while building their community of supporters, and getting paid with Post+,” a Tumblr spokesperson told TechCrunch.

For millennials who live-blogged their reading of the last Hunger Games” book on its release day in 2010, Tumblr might seem like a relic of the past. Founded in 2007, the platform has gone through plenty of change over the years. In 2013, Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion, and then Yahoo was later acquired by Verizon.

But a massive shift came for Tumblr in December 2018, when the platform banned all sexually explicit content and pornography. A month prior, the Tumblr app had been removed from the iOS App Store after child pornography passed through the app’s filtering technology, which led the platform to ban pornography entirely. Four months after the ban, Tumblr’s monthly page views had declined by 151 million, or 29%. Since then, the platform has retained a core userbase, hovering between about 310 million and 377 million page views per month, according to SimilarWeb, though the analytics still indicate a slight downward trend. Tumblr declined to provide its monthly active user numbers, but shared that the platform has over 11 million posts per day and 500 million blogs.

In 2019, the platform was sold to Automattic, the company that owns WordPress. Though Tumblr hasn’t exhibited significant growth since the fateful porn ban, under its new ownership, it’s exploring new ways to generate profit by creating features that appeal to its now younger demographic. According to Tumblr, over 48% of users are Gen Z. These Gen Z users spend 26% more time on the platform than older bloggers, and their average daily usage time is increasing over 100% from year to year.

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YouTube to pilot test shopping from livestreams with select creators



YouTube will begin pilot testing a new feature that will allow viewers to shop for products directly from livestream videos. The feature will initially launch with just a handful of creators and brands, the company says, and is an expansion of the integrated shopping experience YouTube began beta testing earlier this year.

That feature was designed only for on-demand videos, and allowed viewers to tap into the “credibility and knowledge” of trusted creators in order to make informed purchases, the company explained at the time. It said it would roll out to more creators over the course of 2021.

More recently, YouTube tested livestreamed shopping with a one-day shopping event focused on small businesses.

YouTube’s video platform, for years, has been a powerful tool for product discovery, as its over 2 billion logged-in users per month turn to the service to watch product reviews, demos, unboxings, shopping hauls, and other content that could inspire future purchases. But creators who wanted to sell from their YouTube videos would often have to promote affiliate links to online stores through the video’s description or in-video elements, like cards or end screens.

In more recent years, YouTube also introduced a merch shelf that would allow viewers to shop a set of specific products the creator selected.

The integrated shopping experience, meanwhile, allows viewers to shop the products shown in the video itself by tapping on a “view products” button, which brings up a list of the items being featured.

Image Credits: YouTube

This feature allows YouTube to better compete with the growing number of video shopping experiences becoming available from both startups and competitors, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok Pinterest, Amazon, and Snapchat. Many of those include support for livestream videos, too.

Over the past year, for example, startups like Bambuser, Popshop Live, Talkshoplive, Whatnot, and others have raised multi-million dollar rounds to invest in their own live video shopping businesses. Meanwhile, Facebook recently launched Live Shopping Fridays to test live shopping within the beauty, fashion and skincare space. And Walmart partnered with TikTok on livestream shopping events on multiple occasions.

YouTube’s own interest in this space has been heating up, as well, as just this week the company announced it was acquiring Indian video shopping app Simsim — an indication of Google’s interest in further integrating video shopping experiences into its own platform. Google also integrated video shopping into its Shopping search business, which included one effort from Shoploop, a video shopping product that graduated from Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120.

The expansion of YouTube’s integrated video shopping experience was announced today alongside other new Google Shopping features, including the addition of new section that organizes deals and sales on Google’s Shopping tab, which will be free for merchants who want to list.

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Zebra raises $1.1M in a pre-seed round for messaging that pairs photos with voice chat



A new voice-based social app that cites Clubhouse as its biggest inspiration offers a playful new way to stay in touch with close friends and family. Zebra leaves video out of the equation altogether, inviting users to snap on-the-fly photos and send them off paired with casual voice updates.

Zebra focuses on asynchronous sharing, but it also lets users call one another if they’re both already hanging out on the app. The result is a fun and casual way to stay in touch for anyone who doesn’t feel like accidentally getting sucked into Instagram’s endless, ad-strewn feed every time they want to give a friend a quick update.

For now Zebra is a two-person team consisting of CEO Dennis Gecaj, a product designer based in Berlin and Amer Shahnawaz, Zebra’s Head of Engineering, who previously worked on Snap Maps at Snapchat. With the pre-seed funding, led by Alexis Ohanian’s fresh early stage venture firm Seven Seven Six, which the Reddit co-founder announced in June. The app will launch formally in August but is now open for pre-orders through the App Store and as a beta in TestFlight.

“It’s no secret that we are in the midst of an audio revolution, one that has ushered in a series of new audio-first social platforms and content vehicles,” Ohanian said, noting that Zebra’s unique blend of photos and voice is what caught his eye.

Gecaj sees voice-based social networking as a much richer alternative to text-dominant platforms. While products like Instagram allow voice messages and technically let users make voice calls by disabling the camera, voice usually plays second fiddle to video. But video calls are more taxing and require more commitment — it’s no coincidence more and more Zoom cameras blinked offline as the pandemic dragged on.

Unlike Clubhouse, which Gecaj calls a “huge inspiration, Zebra is social audio designed for your inner circle. “With everything opening back up we saw an incredible opportunity for an asynchronous format for that,” he told TechCrunch.

Gecaj hopes that Zebra’s “talking photos” can capture the collective imagination in a way that makes early growth natural. Anyone who downloads Zebra can invite friends individually without needing to share their full contact list (and they’ll need to since you can’t do anything on the app without friends). Because Zebra’s interface is so clean and streamlined, this process is painless and doesn’t necessitate any extra digging through menus.

The idea of a “zebra” — naturally, Zebra is trying to make “zebra” happen — is that people like to see what they are talking about. On a different messaging app, this would require sending a photo and then sending a voice message in quick succession. But on Zebra, sending a photo is the main thing you can do. The app opens right to the camera where you snap a picture. You then hold the photo to record a snippet of voice to go along with it and send it off to friends and family, who appear in a row beneath the camera.

Zebra isn’t worried about the prospect of talking people into downloading another app. Gecaj sees a natural split emerging as creators and audiences increasingly become the focus of social platforms that were initially designed to help friends stay in touch.

“I think the trend is a division between creator platforms where you go to be entertained and platforms you go to hang out with your friends,” Gecaj told TechCrunch.

On top of that, he hopes that Zebra’s dual focus on voice and photos, two aspects of social networking that platforms either don’t prioritize or are actively abandoning, can make it appealing for people who aren’t as interested in video.

“We really also think that text messaging doesn’t have the same emotion as voice… and voice has been really neglected,” Gecaj said. “There’s really a richness to voice, a power to voice that nothing else has.”

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