1. 9

Last weeks thread: https://barnacl.es/s/enxplj/what_did_you_accomplish_this_week

This is a place to share what you accomplished this week for your business. Feel free to brag a little, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice!

Happy Friday! I was super busy this week (and last) but I’ve got a couple launch partners for CafeMicro.com. People seem to be excited about it so that’s a good sign I guess. I’ll see how launch goes in June…


  2. 10

    I released my automatic time tracker for OS X. There’re just a few sales for now and things are going quite slow despite a press release via prMac. But it feels ok because I see many opportunities to promote it on the Internet.

    I’ve been developing mobile apps and games previously where the only paths to users are featuring and ads. So if you don’t have money for ad campaign and your product failed to get a feature slot – it’s over.

    It’s not the case for desktop apps – people still discuss them a lot on forums, Reddit, etc.

    1. 3

      This looks exceptionally awesome. I would love to learn more about the process that led you to building this. I will be installing it and giving it a try come Monday! Can Qbserve distinguish between focus time on terminal sessions (emacs inside a tmux session)?

      1. 2

        Thank you! It can distinguish between any OS X window names. So if your apps use separate windows or update the name of the current window when you switch tabs - it will work.

        I was not happy with features and UX of other productivity trackers. Most of the time tracking software is made for controlling employees or for billing clients and I just wanted an automated productivity measurement.

        I tried RescueTime before but it was too expensive for its functionality ($72-108/year) and also collected all my tracked data on their servers. There is standalone ManicTime on Windows but OS X standalone trackers lack features and most of them are not automatic.

        So I started to play with OS X accessibility and got promising results pretty fast. Then there were about 14 months of writing some code once in a week or two and 3 months of almost full time polishing and gathering feedback.

    2. 5

      Sold the first copy of my version control add-in! Very encouraging.

      1. 2


        1. 1

          Nice work MikeTV!! Keep us updated with your sales metrics

          1. 1

            Congrats! The first one is the hardest (so I hear)…

          2. 5

            I finally set up proper error tracking for my web app! I’m using trackjs, and it’s already let me find a fix a few bugs that were really confusing me. I couldn’t reproduce them, so I didn’t know where to start with solving them. But with this setup, I can ask a user for their ID, and find a list of all the errors that happened while they used the software. Super useful!

            On top of that, it’s another step in the direction of running my software company how I feel it should be run. I started my business with terrible spaghetti code, no version control, no build system, tons of copy-pasting, no tests, and very little tracking of anything. The only thing I did right was to find an underserved niche, which was enough to get the business off the ground. But I’ve spent the last year fixing things I probably shouldn’t have done wrong in the first place. Still no unit tests, but I’ll figure that out soon. It’s been a crazy learning experience.

            I’d recommend anyone who has trouble fixing their users bugs look into a proper error-logging system. Definitely feeling the good repercussions of it already.

            1. 2

              Wow, didn’t know about that service. My newer app is light on deep JS code, but I’ll keep it in mind if I go further with a JS framework.

            2. 4

              A slower bump in sign up metrics this week from 134/34 -> 153/41 (mailchimp/confirmed beta-testers). Two of the three of us were busy traveling which resulted in the mild slowdown.

              We sent out the proposals to work on the custom template (essentially paid beta tester #1) and the fully custom Rails site. We figured we’re doing client work anyway, so we might as well do related client work even if it’s lower immediate ROI for our consultancy.

              Also we updated the wording on our marketing site (sign up -> join waitlist). People were getting pretty frustrated that they couldn’t sign up and create a website right now which on one hand is encouraging, but also we don’t want to be known as bait and switch scammers.

              Upcoming: This week THE national convention for Architects starts on Wednesday and one of our team members will be there and is giving a talk about technology and architecture. We’re hoping for some big success there as we’ve been building relationships over the past few years and this event lands at an opportune time now that we’ve launched Monograph.

              1. 3

                My landing page for OverVue went live with BetaList and LaunchingNext this past week. I netted about 70 or so new signups to the beta email list and am up over 100 total listed, getting about 20% conversion rate on site visit to beta list signup(though, double opt-in isn’t helping keep that number as high as it could be). Have about 15 total responses to the survey to those on the list. Much better signups than my first app.

                1. 3

                  Nice! Looks good! Some larger screenshots might help your conversion rate.

                  I’d also kill the double optin at this point if you can. It’s not going to help you to have it, and it’s only going to cost you leads.

                  1. 3

                    Yeah, I know about the double opt-in, but I haven’t gone in-depth on mail-chimp alternatives that are free/cheap and don’t require opt-in. Agreed on screenshots, and I will when I have…more…actual real screenshots. Nearing Alpha release now.

                2. 3

                  Finished the first assignment of the Stanford deep learning class that I’m taking here! It’s a really exciting class that straddles the line between theory and practice pretty well IMO. It gets the to the point of teaching me how to do the things I’ve been interested in doing. Already a good way through the second assignment.

                  1. 3

                    bsima - as someone who loves coffee enough to grind my own beans and use a french press, but not so much as to perfectly weigh every cup and brew at exactly 205 degrees, what am I getting with a microroast? Is it just… small batch coffee? Or is there more to it?

                    (In other news, I love branding it Cafe Micro.)

                    1. 2

                      I explain a bit here but basically I view coffee roasting as a craft. Like any art form, it’s the small idiosyncrasies that matter; a single coffee varietal will taste different from separate roasters, light roast Ethiopian tastes different than dark roast Ethiopian, etc. So Cafe Micro highlights that by featuring different individual roasters, with their own tastes and idiosyncrasies, each week. Think of it like Etsy for coffee roasts, I guess.

                      Grinding your own bean is almost necessary for good coffee. Using a french press is great, but fresh bean is more important than brewing methods when it comes to taste. In fact I would say that buying high-quality & well-roasted beans is the most important thing of all - taste starts to deteriorate 10-15 days after roast date (depending on how it’s stored). The best way to get introduced to microroast coffee is to look for roasters in your area, try some of their coffee, ask how it’s roasted and what the tasting notes are (they love explaining) and compare to your usual stuff.

                      1. 2

                        This is great advice and is 100% true. You always hear people raving about freshly roasted, and I never really bought into it. At the time, buying the bag of beans from costco was sufficient, and like @matthias I was grinding my own and using a french press. However, having recently tried “microroasts” (This is my new word for the day), I’m now a full on convert.

                        There is also definitely a technique to roasting good coffee, and everyone has their own opinions, some of which can be fairly divisive. In the town that I live, there are maybe 3-4 coffee roasters, all of which are noticeably different, some of which I like and some of them not as much (but they are all better then what I can buy in the grocery store, particularly since I live at the but-end of a very long supply chain far removed from high population density centers).

                        As an aside, if there are other bootstrapers out there who crave great coffee like I do, but don’t want to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on a proper espresso machine and gear, then I highly recommend the ROK espresso maker. The trade off is largely in time, and although it’s not perfect, with the right technique it is more than capable of creating quality espresso (/w ample crema). They are available from amazon and have a much higher wife-approval-factor than the alternatives (I previously used a bialetti moka pot and there is no comparison, this is honest to goodness real espresso).

                      2. 2

                        I too am interested in hearing more about Cafe Micro. My buddy has a connection with a small local roaster (the roaster has developed their own roasting machine and is more interested in licensing the machine than selling coffee, so actually sourcing the coffee is somewhat difficult), and the difference between store bought and freshly roasted is night and day. I’m presuming Cafe Micro will be focusing on delivering high quality FRESH beans, which is no small task,but it is a worthy one. If you are not currently using freshly roasted beans in your brew, I HIGHLY recommend trying it.

                        1. 1

                          Definitely fresh bean - I originally came up with this because I learned that most microroasters won’t sell to large coffee retailers b/c they’re afraid the product will go stale on warehouse shelves and they’ll lose customers.

                          If Cafe Micro works out, I’d love to enable more people to become independent microroasters. It would be far down the line but I’ll be considering selling roasting machines and guides.

                      3. 3

                        Basically nothing, as far as my project goes. But that’s because a lot of stuff was going on in my personal life, culminating in me giving notice to my current employer on Friday. A lot of last week was spent interviewing, prepping for interviews, and “stuff” associated with that. And I also had to finish up a final project for a Coursera class on Statistics and Probability that I was taking.

                        Hopefully I’ll be able to settle down and get some work done this coming week. I really want to get this thing into beta soon and start getting people’s reactions and see how much interest we’ll be able to drum up.

                        1. 3

                          Details Required – a new business newsletter – is liiiiiive and I’m ready to start promoting it! http://detailsrequired.com/

                          1. 2

                            Seems like a compelling newsletter! Will you continue writing the summary/intro paragraph for each weekly newsletter like you have in the example?

                            If you don’t mind sharing, what are your promotional strategies?

                            1. 1

                              Yup, I’m going to continue to include the summaries. My promotional strategy is not very well worked-out yet – I’m trying a Google Adwords campaign, but mostly I expect I’ll be blogging and posting on forums like this one.

                              1. 2

                                Hmmm, I feel as though you know the audience and influencers with said audiences.

                                Nathan Barry, Hiten Shah, Justin Jackson, Patrick McKenzie, Steli Efti, Jason Fried, etc all have monstrous communities who beg for your type of content. Although it’s admittedly intimidating, I forcefully suggest you do direct “sales” and approach these types of bloggers with your newsletter and get feedback. Over time that feedback turns into solicitation and suddenly you have engaged audiences who are exposed to your content.

                                I don’t mean to quell your methodology, but I feel as though Google Adwords is the pacifist’s strategy and your ROI is 10x if you take on the uncomfortable task of talking to influencers. Even if they don’t like your idea, you’ve approached them with something you’ve created which is an order of magnitude more than what most people solicit with. Take a chance, I believe your idea is solid and worth selling!

                                1. 1

                                  Didn’t see this till now – I think you’re right, and I appreciate the advice!

                          2. 3

                            This week i’ve been slinging javascript in what I consider my last major push to something “shipable” (I’m scratching my own itch first, so “shipable” means something that I would consider usable by my target audience: my family). I’m settling in for an evening of image processing, and if all goes well, I may actually go live with the new version this week. No progress on the new venture I talked about last week, largely because i’ve been busy trying to wrap up my existing project.

                            1. 3

                              Finished up the test dataset population of my side project, and started some keyword research for marketing! I feel pretty good about it.