April 5th, 2020
For context on this: • I'm learning 12 hobbies/skills in 12 months • I got better at design So, time to decide my new April skill. It will be: Side project marketing / PR stunts One thing that I see time and time again from successful bootstrapped startups is the power of side project marketing,...
April 4th, 2020
(this is a backdated journal entry) I missed a day! If I miss a day of writing, I have to donate some money or support indie software. This donation is to Meals on Wheels (provides seniors and handicapped with meals to their homes). I wanted to help something COVID related. If you're also thinkin...
April 3rd, 2020
It's late Friday night. Went deep into a coding hole tonight trying to figure out how competitors do "shared inbox" inside Gmail with the Gmail API. After hours of being dumbfounded, I finally figured it out!!  My mind couldn't stop thinking about it - I couldn't turn it off until finally at 10pm ...
April 2nd, 2020
I'm moving towards a freemium model with Pigeon. I'm going against a lot of advice from people I know. A lot of people are telling me it's a bad idea. If I didn't go freemium, then my MRR would probably not have dropped in the last couple of weeks. It's a bit scary - I haven't had an upgrade in ov...
April 1st, 2020
(this is an excerpt from my monthly open startup email) March 2020, tldr: The elephant in the room is, obviously, coronavirus - with markets crashing and the entire world distracted, it felt like the end for a minute there... In early March, organic traffic plunged down 40% and there were many days...
March 31st, 2020
For context on this: • I'm learning 12 hobbies/skills in 12 months • Last month I vowed to learn more about design Unlike February's skill, this one was a big success! Here's what I learned and some examples of how I applied this knowledge: I learned how to be more consistent I learned about colo...
March 30th, 2020
It's almost April, and I had big plans for April, May, & June. I was going to live in New York City and have a blast. That's not happening anymore. I'm predicting that this virus thing won't be over for at least two months. This brand new month of April coming up? We will all be quarantined. May? ...
March 29th, 2020
I got a really nice email from a reader, which I'd love to show, as well as my own response. For anyone reading this, I invite you to email me your thoughts about anything I write, anytime. My email is [email protected]: --- (excerpt) In “Ask and you shall receive”, you expanded on a buffet...
March 28th, 2020
I live my life with a strong sense of urgency. For most hours of the day, I'm focused on something. Focused on getting work done. Focused on growth. Focused on writing. Focused on running. Focused on some family stuff. Focused on friends. Etc. Especially in recent months - I've just been working r...
March 27th, 2020
I don't have anything insightful to say right now. Tackled another nasty bug today - it keeps showing me that I need need need to focus more on testing. Both unit testing and QA/integration stuff. I also have to accept that there will be bugs. There are always bugs in all software. Billion-dollar ...
March 26th, 2020
Today sucked. The post-Corona cancellations for Pigeon are finally starting to roll in.  3 cancellations in 24 hours.  I think Pigeon will dip below $1K MRR soon. I also had a nasty bug today that I spent over 3 hours on. Days like this really bring on the doubts and echo the naysayers: • "You c...
March 25th, 2020
I've been thinking (and acting) on this new idea of "working on the most important thing". I'm trying to actually live up to that motto. I used to set aside time every morning to write this daily journal. But I found that the mental energy of writing a journal could take away from more important th...
March 24th, 2020
What's the silver lining behind the coronavirus? Some things I've noticed: • It has brought my family closer together - we talk a lot more and do a daily FaceTime. • It has brought my friends closer - I've been more connected to my buddies over Zoom calls, texts and FaceTimes. • It's showing people ...
March 23rd, 2020
Over the past week, I've been working on a project at Starter Story with my sister to help give her some work and because I really need help with content writing. I told her to check out a few of my competitors and tell me why they are making more money than me. So she put together a document of wh...
March 22nd, 2020
Want to get something done 10x faster? What's the hack? I don't do it. Remove it from my todo list completely. If it keeps hanging out on my todo list, then it's probably not that important. Removing it from my todo list just made me 10x more productive. (Note - I'm not saying I'm an expert at t...
March 21st, 2020
I bought a Nintendo Switch. I'm a die-hard Animal Crossing fan and the new game just came out. I try not to get into video games much anymore because it's kind of a waste of time. But there's something nice about jumping into a game and forgetting about the world. I forgot about that. It's such a ...
March 20th, 2020
My sister was partially laid off from her job. I'm having her help with some stuff at Starter Story, and paying her a little - she works in hospitality so there is literally no work for her. She helped me write a guide about 20 businesses you can start while working at home during these times. I pu...
March 19th, 2020
Today was the most productive day since over a week. I only looked at the Dow a couple times. I found myself focused and zoned in. Getting a lot done. Thinking less and less about the COVID distraction and coming to terms with the fact that everything is going to be OK and back to focusing on the ...
March 18th, 2020
I woke up this morning early, around 5AM. I slept poorly last night. I started working and at around 7AM, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake happened. I've experienced earthquakes, but never like this one. The whole complex was shaking violently and it lasted for about 20 seconds. I was with my mom and we...
March 17th, 2020
I need to focus. Today was one of the most unproductive days I can remember. - Can't stop following Corona news and updates - Crazy stuff going on with family (because of Corona) - My app was removed from the Chrome Web Store All of these things happening at once, and I legitimately got 1 hour of ...
March 16th, 2020
I'm so sick and tired of Google. A fucking greedy machine of robots. They profited $50B last year and have $120B in cash on hand. Yet, they can't even hire support people for the Chrome Web Store. You can't contact them with questions. They implement whatever policies they feel, even if it fucks ov...
March 15th, 2020
Training for the marathon was a BIG project. It was 3-4 months of work and it kept me very focused on a goal. As the time goes by you start to forget about how the marathon training impacts you. It gives you structure. You feel great. You feel disciplined. Well, it's been a week since I finished th...
March 14th, 2020
Almost forgot to journal... Today I worked on features and stocked up at the grocery story for coronavirus. I think covid-19 is going to get really bad... More on that another time....
March 13th, 2020
Yesterday was a really really shitty day. 1. Had a really bad production bug in Pigeon. 2. Lost a $100+ MRR customer. 3. Stock market dropped 10% and this whole coronavirus thing really sucks. Have to look at the bright side: 1. This bug was caused by a careless mistake by me and it would have bee...
March 12th, 2020
I just had this thing happen to me where I "shrink". I had a video call with a Pigeon customer - we agreed to jump on a call to catch up since we both had a random mutual connection. I didn't know much about this guy or his business that he ran, but when I got on the call we started to talk about o...
March 11th, 2020
One thing I'm not proud of is how much I care about followers and "follower etiquette" on social media. I have a rough mental list of a few people that won't follow me on Twitter even though they know who I am. For what reason? I have no idea. But that fact that I care about it and think about it is...
March 10th, 2020
Yesterday, I was getting off the plane and walking across the crosswalk exiting the airport. I was walking really slow and hobbling because I was so sore from the marathon. My legs were like sticks because I couldn't really bend them at the knee without being in a lot of pain, sometimes a big step f...
March 9th, 2020
I came across a Tim Ferriss video recently - I think it was a TED Talk - where he talks about addressing fears rather than setting goals. What’s your biggest fear? It can be specific to a goal. If your goal is to start a business, what’s stopping you? What’s your biggest fear? Is it failing and eve...
March 8th, 2020
Today I ran the LA Marathon. This was my 3rd marathon.  • First marathon I ran in 4:09 in 2017.  • 2nd marathon I ran in 4:35 in 2019. • 3rd marathon (this one) I ran in 3:43. My goal was 3:40 and although I didn’t hit that, it was a PR and I’m really happy with the time. I wrote a post about my...
March 7th, 2020
This is a backdated journal entry because I missed a daily journal entry. If I miss a day, I have to donate some money or support a creator. This time, I'm supporting yadiiiigg, a YouTube creator who makes hip hop analysis videos. This kid is an Aussie who's been grinding on YouTube for years now,...
March 6th, 2020
I’m not one of those “I have imposter syndrome woe is me” type of people. But I definitely experienced a little mini revelation about impostor syndrome. 
Before my startup days, I worked as a software engineer. I learned coding from a bootcamp, a non-traditional route. 
To be honest, I never though...
March 5th, 2020
Today was one of those days where I felt so productive that I felt like I was high on drugs. Sometimes, for me, the feeling of being productive is like a rush. It can be very exciting and enlightening at the same time. Maybe it felt like this because of how unproductive I've been in the past week.....
March 4th, 2020
I need to do less "small things". Lately, I can *feel* my tolerance for "small things" getting higher. I've been taking too many meetings, too many phone calls, and I'm generally too optimistic lately, I think. I want to help more people, get more help, make more online connections, and be more inv...
March 3rd, 2020
placeholder - coming soon...
March 3rd, 2020
When I started writing this daily journal, nobody read it because I never really talked about it. I just wrote every day and I still liked the fact that it was public. But over the last month, it's started to get some traction. I've been checking up on analytics, and even after the massive traffic o...
March 2nd, 2020
this is an excerpt of a monthly email I send to stakeholders Feb 2020, tldr: Although traffic was down slightly, Feb was the highest all-time revenue for all projects. Most of Feb was spent shipping features and increasing content output. For March and the foreseeable future, we are focused on addi...
March 1st, 2020
Each month this year, I'm focusing on a new hobby. So far: • January: Getting better at cooking, meal prep. • February: Reading more fiction - was a fail. I didn't even make it halfway through my first book. I actually enjoyed the book as far as I got in, but I found it really hard to motivate mys...
February 29th, 2020
I was chatting with Armin & Melanie from Placid about building a bootstrapped SaaS/app. We started talking about how it really is a "grind". You really have to do so much work to get 1 customer. You have to do sales, onboarding, support, product development, etc - all by yourself. It's actually kind...
February 28th, 2020
I took the last 3 days off (during the week) because I was hosting a friend in my hometown. When I planned for this, I (naively) thought I would be able to squeeze in some work in the early morning or at night. But I didn't. And the whole time I felt really guilty and had almost a feeling of withdr...
February 27th, 2020
Today, I had a, no joke, near-death experience with moose. I took the day off to do a 14-mile hike through the snow with my friend. The hike is through Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Right now the lake is snowed over and looks like this: [Jenny Lake in Winter] Because the snow is so dee...
February 26th, 2020
Trying to squeeze in emails today and stay afloat, but got a friend visiting still. It's always interesting to take full days off and *see* all of the areas of your business that somehow seem to run fine without you, and then some of the things that don't. Obviously the goal is to get to a point wh...
February 25th, 2020
Got a friend visiting and I had to take most of the day off yesterday. We went to these natural hot springs by the Snake River here in Jackson, Wyoming. They look like this: [Natural hot springs] We were there for over 3 hours. We saw a bald eagle about 100 feet away it was insane. I need to t...
February 25th, 2020
placeholder - check back soon... - the real lessons behind it - hubris on twitter (people really hate that) - being the darling company makes everyone hate you - give credit where its due - angry mobs - hit pieces - jealousy - being humble...
February 24th, 2020
This weekend was a wash. I got my running in, and I kept up with my journal, but I really didn't get anything else done in terms of work/projects. I usually work on the weekend, so the issue for me is when I *plan* to work on the weekend but then I sit around and procrastinate it... So I feel guilt...
February 24th, 2020
placeholder - check back soon...
February 23rd, 2020
Sometimes, I hear people talk about how they are always tired. Some memes: [Meme][Meme] ^^ I don't know why, but I cannot relate to this. I almost never feel tired. I've only taken a few naps in my life. I never fall asleep in movies, or on the couch. I can't even think of a time where I passed o...
February 22nd, 2020
There's the ol' phrase: "It's not about what you know. It's about who you know." It's very cliche, but I think as bootstrapped founders and people trying to "make it" on the internet, we can take some lessons from that. I consider myself to be "self-made". When I think about something I want to do ...
February 21st, 2020
Some of you might know my story, but I’m the founder of Starter Story. Over the past year, I’ve been working on a product called Pigeon. I built this product to solve my own needs for Starter Story as we needed a CRM tool built inside Gmail to help us scale the business, and the existing tools weren...
February 20th, 2020
The obsession with "trends" is a bit strange to me. Don't get me wrong, I think trends, data, and analysis are important - if you're an investor it's very important. If you trade stocks, extremely valuable. But if you're an entrepreneur, stay the fuck away. While it may be valuable to look at trend...
February 19th, 2020
I wrote a whole thing and then lost it... Don't have time to rewrite now, but this journal was about how it's easier to break up a large mundane task into small weekly recurring calendar events and chip away at it. For example, if you want to reach out to 100 bloggers, set a calendar event on Monda...
February 18th, 2020
Recently, I heard this phrase "rent free". I think it was on a meme so I had to look it up. The definition on Urban Dictionary is:  “To live in the head of someone that can’t stop thinking about you or anything to do with you.” [Rent free meme] I'm no fan of Donald Trump, but the meme here is a p...
February 17th, 2020
Sometimes it helps to just go cold turkey. It gives you a new perspective and does a bit of a "reset". One time, I quit social media for a month, and I still think that was one of the most productive months of my life.  I took it very seriously, and I think you have to because it's such a slippery ...
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February 16th, 2020
Now that some people have told me they read this journal, and from the big Hacker News post, I feel it will be harder to be more honest. However, I want to avoid that from happening. So I need to be even more honest. I don't want to hold anything back. If I hold something back, then that defeats the...
February 15th, 2020
Here's something I noticed. Being active on Twitter / Instagram / Reddit / other social media makes me not only less productive, but less motivated to work on my business. Let's compare two time periods. Two weeks ago • I hadn't been posting much on social media. • Mostly heads down working on fea...
February 14th, 2020
I've wanted to write about this for some time. This is a story about a friend of mine. She had a successful launch of a product, enough to get almost $2,000 MRR right out of the gate, as well as tons of press and praise. The launch went so well, that she dropped out of college, nearly on the spot. ...
February 13th, 2020
Here's a scenario. Last night, I watched this video by the Superhuman founder. Really interesting video about gamification and stuff. Love learning this kind of thing, but for me, there's a downside. The way the founder talks about his app is like it's the "holy grail" of startups - all the decisio...
February 12th, 2020
Yesterday I had a post hit the front page of Hacker News! It was awesome - for many reasons - but really terrible for other reasons. I didn't get much done yesterday other than checking comments, responding to messages, customer inquiries and lots of crap like that. This kind of "online social life...
February 11th, 2020
One of my favorite creators is Anthony Fantano. He is a music critic, who made it "big" with his channel theneedledrop on YouTube. I recently came across this video, which is a bit of a behind the scenes on his life. I really look up to the life that he's built. He went from making pizza to slowly ...
February 10th, 2020
Lately, I've been seeing a TON of Starter Story "clones". I don't mean this in a bad way, I think it's awesome that people are inspired or at least interested in building a business with a similar business model. Here's a working list of all of them: Starter Story was influenced by Indie Hackers in ...
February 9th, 2020
This is my process to develop a feature quickly and efficiently. I am, by no means, an expert at programming, design, product, UX, etc. In fact, I'm pretty mediocre at all of those. So take this with a grain of salt. The hardest thing (for me) about building a feature is the "scope" of it. Before t...
February 8th, 2020
Sometimes I wonder if I'm leaving too much on the table. Like, I could be more aggressive with my monetization strategy for Starter Story, or just more aggressive in general. And sometimes I think that maybe not being aggressive enough could be what kills my business, or limits my potential as an e...
February 7th, 2020
Maybe it helps some other devs out there (to find an idea or something to work on), but here are the services that I pay for to run my business: • Heroku (~$200/month): Running 3 different projects, and some with jobs servers as well • Upwork (~$1000/month): Freelancers. I especially use Upwork becau...
February 6th, 2020
I got a new haircut. Nobody noticed. I lost 15 lbs. Nobody noticed. I got new glasses. Nobody noticed. My server crashed for an hour. Nobody said anything. I write a public daily journal. Nobody reads it. I made a YouTube channel. Nobody watches. I was interviewed on a high profile tech publication...
February 5th, 2020
When I did the 24 Hour Startup Challenge, one of the things we did was interview successful entrepreneurs. I had a list of people I thought would be cool to interview. - reach out to derek sivers - he rejects me - still asks about me / get to know - we chat a bit - he follows me on twitter (nice mov...
February 4th, 2020
A prediction... I think the "makers" and indie businesses space will start moving towards more selling of courses, books, sponsor supported businesses. It's just a lot easier to "make a dollar" with these types of businesses. Although the dream is to have a recurring SaaS business, the friction and...
February 3rd, 2020
Don't have much to say, but back in the flow today and it felt good. Maybe because it was the beginning of the month, first business day back, and I felt good about last month's progress and excited for February and have some big goals. Some days are just really nice like that. Have to cherish thos...
February 2nd, 2020
this is excerpt of a monthly email I send to stakeholders Hi! This email is a monthly review/retro of how we did for January 2020. I send this to stakeholders, friends & colleagues to keep you updated, and also so I can stay accountable! No pressure to read at all and definitely no pressure to resp...
February 1st, 2020
My last post talked about January and my 2020 new hobby project. This month, I pick my new hobby to be FICTION BOOKS. Tbh, I've never really got into fiction, but I feel like I need to. I will start with The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. My goal is to read at least 25 pages/day, of all books,...
January 31st, 2020
January is over! One of my goals for 2020 is to try new things, learn new skills, each month. In January I wanted to get better at cooking, preparing food, doing meal prep, etc. It was awesome! I learned how to cook lots of plant-based stuff like: • pastas • sweet potato dishes • how to cook lenti...
January 30th, 2020
Around this time last month, things felt like shit. I wrote that end of the year post feeling like things were taking a bad turn. But over the last couple weeks, things have been feeling so much better. The Google API approval has been so big for that. It feels like the biggest weight was lifted. ...
January 29th, 2020
Today I've been struggling with some bugs in Pigeon. Implementing new features always means new challenges, especially when you're building on another API. I usually try to run in the morning, after some coffee. But these nagging bugs kept popping up, and I kept putting off my run. "Once I get thi...
January 28th, 2020
very rough first draft for Kobe video I want to do Dear Kobe, I didn’t know you personally. I didn’t watch every game. I didn’t read your book or watch all of your interviews. But your life has impacted me more than you probably know. When I see you, in clips, photos, and interviews, I see someon...
January 27th, 2020
Woke up... Kobe is still gone. It feels sadder today and I cried again this morning. I can't watch this stuff on Twitter and YouTube without feeling some type of way. I know that Kobe would have wanted me to not focus on it, but instead, put in more work, work harder, and up my game. I will do th...
January 26th, 2020
When I heard the news that Kobe died today, I was on a run. I thought "wow - that's crazy" but it didn't actually hit me. I thought about my friends who are Lakers fans and how much this will impact them. But when I got home and started reading Twitter and watching the news, I remembered how much Ko...
January 25th, 2020
We think awards mean something because anyone that gets an award will tell the whole world, post on social media, and probably even put it in their email footer and Twitter bio - and they will receive a lot of praise for it. Forbes 30 Under 30, Product of the Year, Winner of X Startup Competition, e...
January 24th, 2020
I feel like after starting my own business I have more "bad days" than before I started my business. To be honest, when I look back at when I had a regular job, I never really had any bad days. In fact, I can remember thinking "I don't really understand when people say they have a bad day." I've fel...
January 23rd, 2020
I think I'm happiest when everything is simple. • Simple routine - little to no meetings, no disruptive events. • Simple diet - meal prep rice, lentils and beans for most meals, lunch & dinner, why not eat the same thing with slight variations? • Simple liquids - Just drink water and regular coffee, ...
January 22nd, 2020
Today I'm donating/supporting Gift of Gab, one of my favorite rappers and artists of all time. He needs support from his surgery. He is one part of the world-renowned hip hop group Blackalicious. They made multiple legendary albums - my favorite one is probably The Craft. Going to listen to that al...
January 21st, 2020
(short one today as I almost forgot) I'm back to waking up early again. I want to get to 530AM by the end of the week. Waking up early feels so productive. And going to bed early feels so nice because you really feel like you put in a hard day's work and now you can relax and go to bed, rather tha...
January 20th, 2020
What the fuck, man. Having a really shitty day. Long story short, this is what happened: 1. Top post on the subreddit is a petition to ban my posts. 2. I only saw it hours later and I just came back from vacation. 3. I posted that I would be leaving the sub, and I didn't say it the right way. I sh...
January 19th, 2020
Friday, Saturday, and today I took a short trip, a 1 hour plane ride away to Phoenix, Arizona. What's pretty nice about Salt Lake City is that it's really cheap to fly places - I'm not sure why - but most flights are just around $100 round trip to LA, SF, New York, etc. I'm going to try to get away...
January 18th, 2020
Today, I ran a half marathon and actually reached my goal time, of 1:40. It's so fucking awesome to work so hard for something and actually do it. At the last mile, I felt so good, so strong, and I got a bit emotional, that I actually cried. You couldn't rip the smile off my face. It was one of the...
January 17th, 2020
I’m in Arizona for the weekend. Doing a half marathon as a part of my Los Angeles marathon training. Sometimes I forget that it's pretty awesome to live in a place like here - you can live a really nice life for pretty cheap. My friends pay $1500/month for their mortgage on a 4 bedroom house with a ...
January 16th, 2020
I remember when I graduated college I was so excited to work for a corporation because it "had a great name". I could tell all my friends and family that I worked at X and I remember getting praise and excitement. But now I look back and I cringe at that so hard. After actually starting the job, I ...
January 15th, 2020
Yesterday I was randomly checking Google Analytics and clicked the button for "All time" stats. I realized we had reached 1,000,000+ users. That's unique users, not sessions or pageviews. I tweeted about it. I never thought two years ago that 1 million people would visit my little crappy website. ...
January 14th, 2020
I read a blog post today about how you should pick a business that *you* want to build. This is a great message, but I think it also has some caveats. Some people (technical ones) don't want to build a business, that, for example, requires sales, or in-person deals. And there are other people that c...
January 13th, 2020
I don't think that your business being known as "successful" has much to do with success. It probably helps a bit but I might even argue that it invites more competition, ultimately nullifying the gains. It's just that the people that consume startup and business media are 95% of the time, not your ...
January 12th, 2020
1. Go on Twitter 2. See someone having epic big-time overnight success moment 3. Forget about the 7.53B people not having big-time epic overnight success moment 5. Get jealous, and then down on yourself 6. Your day is slightly worse ... a day passes 7. Go on Twitter...
January 11th, 2020
I feel really guilty when I'm not working. And sometimes I can't even sleep well if I feel I didn't work enough that day. For example, last night, I finished up work around 7pm. I had the night to myself, so that means I'll usually just work. But I just didn't feel like working. So I watched Marri...
January 10th, 2020
On most days, I walk to the library through the downtown area of Salt Lake City. If I'm getting a late start to my day, or I went for a run in the morning, I'll be walking through downtown at 10am or sometimes even noon. I walk by many office buildings / high rises. I always manage to walk by some...
January 9th, 2020
One of the big goals for 2020 is to learn more about SEO and how to rank and grow traffic. I think it will be a huge benefit to both Pigeon and Starter Story. Today, I finished the biggest blog post I've ever done - I spent over 30 hours on it, all said and done. I don't have any expectations for ...
January 8th, 2020
Sometimes, you just have one of those days. Where you wonder if this entrepreneur thing is actually worth it. You've spent the last 8 hours working on some mundane thing like a blog post, or some crazy technical research into how Postgres JSON querying works, knowing that one day this will pay off,...
January 7th, 2020
• Delete Instagram app from your phone • Delete Twitter app • Delete Youtube app • Delete Telegram app • Delete Tinder/Hinge/etc • Install Blocksite Chrome extension & import this CSV • Block Instagram/Twitter/YouTube on your iPhone's browser Time to work....
January 6th, 2020
In 2018 I ran for 100 days in a row, but towards the end of the year, I pretty much stopped running. In 2019 I really wanted to make running a habit. So I set the following goals: • Run 1000 miles • Run a 1:45 half marathon • Run a 3:45 marathon I signed up for a half marathon at an active volcano...
January 5th, 2020
I forgot to write a journal entry yesterday, I need to start writing these in the morning, or at least drafting them. As a part of my rule, any missed journal entry means I have to donate or support someone or something. Today, I'm donating to Postgres, an open-source database tool I have used exte...
January 4th, 2020
I'm glad I made that YouTube video because it really got me thinking. And furthermore, the 2 hour run I went on today had multiple revelations and "aha" moments. That's what I love about running. You just think, for a really, really long time and you can't distract yourself. You just keep thinking. B...
January 3rd, 2020
One thing I want to do with this daily journal is to post video updates. Here's my first one of 2020....
January 2nd, 2020
Today was the first "real" (non-holiday) day of the new year - and I was able to work from the Salt Lake City library - probably my favorite place to work of all time. [Salt Lake City Public Library] As stated in a previous post, I'm going full-on on Pigeon marketing. Less product development and mo...
January 1st, 2020
(this is an email I sent to some stakholders for Starter Story) Happy new year! Usually I send out a monthly report, but for this month, I want to share some of the numbers for 2019, as well as our plans for 2020. 2019 NUMBERS Pageviews: 1,293,529 Unique visitors: 709,605 Total Interviews with fou...
December 31st, 2019
Over the past couple days, I've been working on longer post which is all about 2019 and everything that went down! Here it is. I hope you like it....
December 30th, 2019
“I know it's easy to imagine But it's easier to just do If you can't do what you imagine Then, what is imagination to you?” - Kid Cudi, Enter Galactic Been listening to a lot of early Kid Cudi lately, it's so inspiring. I never was a big Kid Cudi fan, but I keep hearing people talk about Kid Cudi ...
December 29th, 2019
This is a follow up to this post and this post, which both address some of my plans and ideas for taking Pigeon to the next level in 2020. The idea is to actually go and find a "market" for Pigeon. Pigeon is a great universal tool because it lives in Gmail, but as a bootstrapper, it makes a lot mor...
December 28th, 2019
Last year, I set really ambitious goals for 2019. Although I hit a lot of them, the goals were too expansive and specific, like hitting $X/month in revenue, running 1000 miles, publishing X YouTube vidoes, etc. It was good for last year because I didn't really have a good vision for what I wanted to ...
December 27th, 2019
I came across this blog post yesterday which felt like a bit of a wake-up call. Especially, this excerpt: “To keep growing, to keep living even more deeply and authentically into what makes you come alive, invite yourself to risk what brought you to where you are today.” 2018 felt like my breakout...
December 26th, 2019
Just got an email from the security auditors. Sounds like I’ll be getting the letter any day now! Back to actually working tomorrow!...
December 25th, 2019
Been taking the last two days off work and spending time with family. Merry Christmas! Heading to Salt Lake City tomorrow and will spend a month there. Really looking forward to the new year....
December 24th, 2019
Today, I did Orange Theory with my sisters here in Jackson, WY. Then, we went cross country skiing out in Teton National Park and it was snowing one of the hardest I've ever experienced. Then, we had a sushi making party and opened Christmas presents. Waking up early to ski tomorrow. Happy holidays...
December 23rd, 2019
(this is a note I wrote today as part of my plan in 2020 to focus on marketing for Pigeon) While I was traveling for a couple months, I didn't have much time to spend on development. I think that gave me a glimpse into all of the shortcomings of Pigeon, especially with onboarding, design, and featur...
December 22nd, 2019
Since some big life changes over the last couple years, my "going out" and drinking life pretty much evaporated. I used to be a big drinker, going out at least twice a week and sometimes having 6+ drinks. I'm not really sure why this happened, but overall, I just started feeling way less interested...
December 21st, 2019
Because I missed a journal entry today, I'm electing to support James Ivings and Danielle Johnson, two makers that built Leave Me Alone and a few other cool apps. Recently, they launched a Chrome extension called Subscription Score, and I'd like to see how that works, so I committed $5/month for it....
December 20th, 2019
It's been over a year since I quit my full-time job. That means it's been over a year that I woke up every day and made my own choices on what I wanted to do, what I wanted to work on, and how I would plan out my day. It feels so normal now, but I think it's nice to write about it every now and the...
December 19th, 2019
One of my best friends from high school is trying to make a career in music. Back in high school, we worked on music together. I moved on and did other things, but he never moved on. It's been over 10 years and he still has the ambition and is working to make it in the music industry. I have so muc...
December 18th, 2019
I stumbled on an article on Hacker News today. It was called "A Failed SaaS Postmortem". As someone who is in the middle of building a SaaS, it sounded interesting so I gave it a click. I started reading and found that this guy had worked on this project for 3 years. Feels like a long time - one da...
December 17th, 2019
I started my vacation on a sour note. I stumbled onto Indie Hackers right before the vacation started and I got really bummed out/jealous of someone else's success. As my "vacation" started I kept thinking about it. Started by feeling crappy but slowly that faded away. I was working a lot before t...
December 16th, 2019
Took ~5 days off, and today I got back (for pretty much just a half day). Wanted to reflect on my first time off in a while, but it's gotten too late after building some logic that lets Pigeon work on multiple tabs. Now, I'm just going to relax and write that one tomorrow. And I have an early meet...
December 15th, 2019
Last day of my mini break! More full update tomorrow!...
December 14th, 2019
Taking a break this weekend and not doing anything work-related. Still want to get these daily updates out! But for now, I'm headed to the mountain to go skiing for the second day in a row. The time off is nice, and I've been thinking about a lot....
December 13th, 2019
Stumbled onto Indie Hackers today, saw the top milestone was from someone in the same space as me who just hit 100K users in the same timeframe as me. Here I am with ~20 users. Their product is far simpler than mine, and they likely don't have to go through a Google audit. I get jealous when I see...
December 12th, 2019
The last few weeks have been tough, I'm finding that I'm becoming more "worried" about my businesses every day. I'm nervous every morning I wake up and check my email. Will there be a new churn? A really bad bug? Will my employees quit? To a degree, I think this is normal. When you run a business y...
December 11th, 2019
Time and time again, I hear the startup advice... something along the lines of "don't build a product and find a market" but "find a market and build them a product". I didn't follow that advice. Well, I sort of did. I picked bloggers or people that run sites similar to Starter Story. But that mark...
December 10th, 2019
Some of these recent days have been harder than in recent memory. It kind of feels like things are just slowing down for me. In my businesses. I feel like I've lost some of the excitement that I had a couple years ago when starting my own business. Maybe because it's December (and it's slow), or ma...
December 9th, 2019
I don't want to admit it, but I spent the last 5 days rebuilding the main data grid feature for my product. I basically worked all day every day - I needed to rebuild it because of some big performance issues that customers were facing. Why were we facing performance issues? Two reasons - I picked ...
December 8th, 2019
Woke up to the horrible news that Juice Wrld passed away. When I first checked Instagram in the morning, I saw a photo from another rapper with Juice Wrld, and thought nothing of it. Just another photo. Then I got to my computer a bit later and realized that it was because he died. At 21. I was su...
December 7th, 2019
Here is a backdated post for a journal entry I missed. This time, I am supporting Dianna Allen, creator of Budget Meal Planner. She is awesome and I hope she keeps working on her indie products. [Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 5.32.43 PM.png]...
December 6th, 2019
Spent most of the day doing the rewrite of the spreadsheet for Pigeon. Excited to get done with this - it's the last "big" project until I get back focused on marketing. Cheers....
December 5th, 2019
fack, long day. almost forgot to post. too tired. i'll hopefully have a better update tomorrow...
December 4th, 2019
One quote that always stuckk with me is from the intro of a Dr. Dre song, it goes: “Fear. Fear's a powerful thing. I mean, it's got a lot of firepower. If you can figure out a way to wrestle that fear to push you from behind rather than to stand in front of you, that's very powerful. I always felt th...
December 3rd, 2019
Typically I do monthly Starter Story reports, but I'd like to start doing this for Pigeon. Since they are two very different businesses, I'd like to do them separately. TLDR Overall, I'm feeling really good about Pigeon - better than I've ever felt about it, I think. This road of building a SaaS ...
December 2nd, 2019
Today was a 12-hour workday. Woke up at ~8am and pretty much worked until 8pm. Then I ran 3 miles. It went by in a flash. This week is crazy. I need to get a big set of features out for tomorrow's release, then grind out this Gmail security audit, and then get all caught up on Starter Story stuff...
December 1st, 2019
I apologize for missing updates for September and October. I was traveling on and off, and when I did have time to work I was super busy and needed to focus on business tasks. Before jumping into November, here's a quick glimpse on traffic for those months: [September 2019 Traffic][October 2019 Tra...
November 30th, 2019
Today I am traveling from Salt Lake City to Jackson WY, where I’ll stay and work for at least a month. More on Jackson life soon....
November 29th, 2019
Today, the day after Thanksgiving (a proper holiday) I had a product demo scheduled with a customer, at 8am. Prospects book demos through Calendly, and I had forgotten to update my schedule to reflect the holidays. This is my fault, so I owned it. I woke up at 730AM, tired as shit. I got my coffee ...
November 28th, 2019
Today is Thanksgiving :) Spending time with family. Also, I woke up to a couple support requests and a new customer! Lots of waitlist signups too, which is surprising for a holiday. Unfortunately, I'm spending a couple hours tracking down a weird bug and trying to get it out... But once this is do...
November 27th, 2019
Missed an update here! I had family coming into town and got dinner with my parents. My routine of doing an update post at the end of the day got thrown off - and I completely forgot about it. As a part of my "missed day policy", I will be donating to charity or supporting products/entrepreneurs th...
November 26th, 2019
Over the last 3 Tuesdays, I've made it a point to "launch" features and to my customers. In reality, it's just a weekly email blast that goes out to around 300 people. Here's what today's looked like: [Screenshot of my newsletter that went out today] Something good always seems to come out of send...
November 25th, 2019
Let's talk about Starter Story vs. Pigeon - my two projects that I'm working on. Starter Story is an info product (sort of, it's a blog), and Pigeon is a SaaS. In a given week, I spend 80% of my working day on Pigeon, and 20% of my working day on Starter Story, yet I generate 80% of my total revenu...
November 24th, 2019
Today I woke up and watched an episode of Nathan For You - I swear that is the most genius show ever done - and one of the funniest too. I went for an easy six mile run and the sun was shining so it felt nice. For this marathon training, I'm trying to not push myself too much during casual runs - ju...
November 23rd, 2019
I feel like in the last couple of months, I have learned a lot about Javascript. I'm still way more confident in Ruby and I think that comes more natural to me, but my JS is getting better. JS has always been a struggle for me. Spent much of the day debugging and trying to figure out how to get a ...
November 22nd, 2019
Today was a good day, much better than yesterday. Got to "sleep in" as I didn't have any meetings, and I didn't have a run scheduled which was really relaxing. Got a new signup for Pigeon, which is the 3rd or 4th signup of the week, which is awesome. Today, I worked on: Starter Story content revie...
November 21st, 2019
Ups and downs. Highs and lows. Yesterday I signed up two new customers. I was feeling amazing as it's been a bit slow recently. Then today, I had two customers churn. Pretty much out of the blue. One of them was a really great customer. “"Our department decided to switch things up and we no longer...
November 20th, 2019
This morning I had an 8am sales call with a potential Pigeon user. He was a performer from Vienna, Austria who needs a solution like Pigeon to manage all of his bookings, since they all mostly come through a WordPress form and into his email. Then, he has a ton of back and forth to close the deal, s...
November 19th, 2019
Yesterday, I woke up at 10am and didn't start working until noon. The night before, I couldn't sleep. Didn't pass out until 2am. But it felt totally OK. Instead of forcing myself to sleep, I did some research on marathon training. Back when I had a job, I felt so stressed out when that would happe...
November 18th, 2019
Today was an epicly productive day. Yesterday (Sunday), I got most of my "errands" stuff done, like emails, budget, and catch up stuff because I wanted to ensure that Monday I could crush it. I didn't have any meetings, and I didn't have to run today. So that gave me a fully blocked day to get a b...
November 17th, 2019
I get a strange sense of satisfaction out of spending no money, or seeing how low my daily personal expenses can be. For the past week, I made myself the same turkey sandwich for lunch every day. And cooked the same chicken and rice that I do most nights. I bought these groceries in bulk weeks ago. ...
November 16th, 2019
Now it's been about two weeks since I was rejected by YC. Things feel a lot better now and it's starting to feel smaller and smaller. I recently read a Paul Graham blog post about "how not to die", more specifically how not to let your startup die. PG says that they might achieve a 50% success rate ...
November 15th, 2019
[My new Macbook Pro 16"] Today I got the new Macbook Pro! Basically, I had been waiting for this for 6 years. The last computer I had was a Macbook Pro 15" from late 2013. That computer was literally falling apart: • The webcam stopped working • The fan made this strange grinding noise • The batte...
November 14th, 2019
Today was another missed day, didn't do a journal entry... I had the intention to do it, and then it completely slipped my mind. So, as stated I will donate to charity or support/donate to people online. I think a great way to do is to support independent product and app creators, so this time I wi...
November 13th, 2019
Over the past couple days, I've been deep working with rich text editor frameworks, like Slate. More specifically, I'm re-doing the text editor for Pigeon, because my first attempt at it was really shitty. Why was it shitty? Because I tried to take shortcuts and copy-pasted a done-for-you rich tex...
November 12th, 2019
Today (well, technically yesterday) is officially my first day where I missed an update, and this time I have to pay for it. For every post I miss, I have to donate a few bucks or support a friend or colleague. I decided to donate to teamtrees.org which has a goal to plant 20M trees! Partly influen...
November 11th, 2019
Today I slept in until about 9:30. I'm trying to live most days without an alarm clock, it's a new thing I'm trying. I've also had massively productive days since starting this experiment, and maybe it's due to getting really solid sleep? Today, I added a submit/share page to Starter Story, someth...
November 10th, 2019
Since I went through the YC interview process a couple of weeks ago, I was definitely exposed more to investors, or at least "investor-think" - through talking to people, blog posts, etc. Although investors probably have good advice, it is often hard to understand or apply that advice when you are d...
November 9th, 2019
The goal for this blog is to start writing more. I'd like to write every day, and I plan to make that a commitment going forward. It doesn't matter how long it is - I want to treat this more like a diary.  I can literally type two sentences, or I can write 3000 words, or I can record a YouTube vide...
November 1st, 2019
Rejection from YC still hurting. Now, I feel like I'm in this weird 'abyss'.  My business/product isn't good enough for YC, so should I keep working on it? Should I use their decision as a data point? Is all of this work futile? Everything feels bigger now. All the things I need to build.. Things ...
October 31st, 2019
Well, it's been almost two weeks since my last post. As the year comes closer to a close I will figure out how to do this every day. But the last two weeks, I was preparing and anticipating for a YC interview. It's over now, and I was rejected, but I just wanted to get my initial thoughts on paper....
October 17th, 2019
I already missed a day, and I'll be honest I completely forgot about this blog entirely 🙈! Need a way to remind myself! I might have also forgotten because I got invited to an interview in Mountain View with Y Combinator! Totally unexpected to get that, so that's been kind of a trip... Tomorrow (t...
October 16th, 2019
It's 12AM in the morning right now. I am in Lisbon on "vacation", can't sleep. Needed to code up this idea (this blog right here) as I've been kicking at the idea like every day for the past couple weeks. Been thinking a lot about how I want to get back into writing, and documenting all this stuff...