– Making idea sharing super simple

A few months ago I had a particular need: to share a private idea with people but for just a limited amount of time. The key ingredient was really all about time limitations… That is, I often come up with a an idea that I would not make public but seek advice/input from a friend, and want that feedback in a time sensitive manner. So, for example, if I am looking to share idea x then I sure hope that someone see’s idea x and not some derivation of idea x, which would make the feedback less relevant and a time-waster for both parties. The other sub-need I had was a centralized storage for all of my ideas, a scratch pad if you will, that would be dead simple to use, keep my ideas private, and be super fast to interact with.

Enter: SimplyFor.US

That’s where my new web application comes in handy. The name says it all: it’s simply for us and very private. I can store all of my ideas in one place where only I have access to the ideas I create (i.e. I can not see any other ideas — only my own). At my will I can edit them, delete them, and most importantly share them. Sharing is done by sending a secure token to a list of e-mail addresses you provide in the “Share” form. Each token lasts for 24 hours from the time created and allows a visitor to see the idea and comment. At the bottom of each idea the visitor (non-idea owner) will be able to provide commentary back to the idea owner inline.

So the flow works pretty nicely for the idea creator:

  1. Create an idea
  2. Share your idea
  3. Receive feedback (from each person within 24 hours of dispatching your shared idea)

And the flow for the visitor:

  1. Receive an e-mail
  2. Check out the idea
  3. Comment on the idea

There is another subtlety here that I want to highlight and it helps to understand why I chose 24 hours as the time limit: feedback should be quick or not at all. Delayed feedback is not great for the ideation process. By limiting the time for 24 hours there is a undertone to the sharing of ideas that screams “go go go, time is limited.” The reality is that the people we trust and who appreciate our efforts will give feedback quickly… And those who are late to the game will either miss out, request a new token, or maybe you’ll be kind enough to share with them the latest iteration of your idea.

Lastly, I used OpenID for this project to integrate with Y! Mail, Google Mail, and a few other providers for single-click authentication. It’s been working pretty well and I like how easy it is to create an account (both for idea creators and visitors). Ruby on Rails with Passenger (pretty much my go-to now-a-days).

If you’ve got an idea log on to and then share away… Happy Ideation!


  1. When I was starting out learning simple PHP, I would often have the exact problem mentioned above: What to build? It was complicated by the fact that most programming teachers are not cool with students working on something for profit, rather than a personal project. I understand this now, but at the time I was like “what’s the big deal?” All of the problems I had to solve were for clients! Once I started to understand the basics, then I could get excited about working on my own stuff. I can see how it’s helpful to have a system to keep moving forward. Thanks for sharing your process, I’m feeling inspired to work on some cool stuff just for myself!
    : >

  2. Alta, some teachers have a method to their madness and ya just gotta go with it. Share what you build, if you’re so inclined. =)

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