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Just ship it: The story of Dan Shipper and DomainPolish

It’s one of the cornerstones of Internet-age entrepreneurs: build quickly, iterate even faster and if it all doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to scrap it. Taking that to heart, Dan Shipper, a University of Pennsylvania Sophomore from Princeton, decided that his 2011 would be all about building (and scrapping) as many products as possible. “I just […]



It’s one of the cornerstones of Internet-age entrepreneurs: build quickly, iterate even faster and if it all doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to scrap it.
Taking that to heart, Dan Shipper, a University of Pennsylvania Sophomore from Princeton, decided that his 2011 would be all about building (and scrapping) as many products as possible.
“I just really wanted to get good at taking ideas from conception to reality. I released like 15 apps in six months. Some of them did well and some of them completely failed,” says Shipper.
The projects ranged from Wheremyfriends.be a Facebook-friend mapper he developed with friend and Wharton student Wesley Zhao that got some press in Mashable to GrimTweeper a site that helps you clean up your “follow” list on Twitter.
However, it was a service called DomainPolish that ended up making him pull an all-nighter.

DomainPolish, Hacker News and $2,905.45
Interested in Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform that pays nominal amounts to users for completing mostly mindless computer-related tasks, Shipper thought he could put the service to work for those who did not know how to code.
Throwing together a quick landing page for DomainPolish, Shipper promised users that DomainPolish would get 20 people to submit website reviews for $10. Web designers and developers could use the service to get quick and easy feedback on their work. Shipper didn’t bother coding any dynamic functionality, he says, because he wanted to prove that the idea had some legs.
“I released it on Friday and it hit the Hacker News front page on Saturday and I had no orders,” says Shipper. “I was kind of depressed so I stated that my goal for the weekend was to make five dollars.”
Then came Sunday.
Someone purchased the five dollar plan and then wrote a raving blog post about it.
“From 6 p.m. on Sunday to 7 a.m. on Monday I was filing orders manually to Mechanical Turk. Maybe 50 of them. I slept only an hour.”
Now a side project, DomainPolish has netted him a modest sum of just under $3,000 in sixty days and has helped him come up with his next gig. Shipper is now working on EyeRudux, a service turns email signatures into advertising slots the can be changed even after an email is sent. He counts DreamIt Ventures company SnipSnapApp among his early clients and welcomes anyone to contact him who would like to be an early beta user.
“Now that I know I can take something form conception to reality I want to take it from reality to a sustainable business,” he says.

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