Lars Karbo

The three Phases of Creating Useful Stuff on the Web

by Lars Karbo • 30th Oct 2020

This model will make you more successful at creating useful stuff on the web.

It is simple and easy to understand.

The three Phases

I have a lot of failed projects that never got out of phase one (at least 150), I have some things that I released, but never took it further. And I have a few successful projects.

I have a lot of failed projects that never got out of phase one

By recognizing these phases and thinking rationally about them we will become better at creating successful projects.

Three phases

Phase 1: Building

me building a random idea I got

This is the phase where you start coding the project.

You have this amazing idea. Maybe you think you’ll be able to finish it quickly.

You make a github repo and things start to take form.

If you release it, big or small, you go on to phase two ↓.

Phase 2: Releasing

me posting to producthunt

You’ll stay in phase two as long as you are still releasing and improving.

Some marketing and outreach might be necessary in this phase.

When you start getting traction and people start to use your product, you move on to phase 3 ↓.

Phase 3: Traction

me showing google analytics

Congratulations! You made something that is usable and valuable for people!

From here you can leave it, continue to work on it or start monetizing it.

Common pitfall #1: Never releasing

This is the most common pitfall.

You start building something, never get to the point where you can share it.

Sometimes, it is ok. If your idea wasn’t that good anyways.

Think small, and minimum viable product, to quickly move on to phase 2

Common pitfall #2: Lose motivation after first release

I love building and shipping new things. Sometimes I get extremely motivated in the beginnings.

The next step is harder. The step to take the creation and make it into something better. It requires iteration and hard work, and doesn’t give you instant gratification.

The idea didn’t take off, and you are unsure whether it’s any point in continuing.

I think it is important to learn that it might take more work before you find traction.

Your motivation is a bad indicator of whether you should work on something or not.

A note about business.

You are probably thinking of something that is missing.

What about validation before building anything? What about monetizing and scaling?

This model is solely based on the build aspect. It doesn’t mean the business parts aren’t important. Because they are.

Business parts are important, but not included in this model


Recognize the phases and the common pitfalls and you will have an easier time building useful stuff on the web.

Make sure to share this with anyone you think would like to hear it!

Which phase do your projects usually end up in? Let me know in the comments.