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June 2023

  • Learning: C
  • Fun: C
  • Finances: B

After turning the apps back to simple pay-per-install ($20 on iPhone), they've started making $1k / week. That will die down after the summer but covers some costs in the meantime (and by "some costs" I mean my co-working office lease that I apparently can't cancel for another year).

I got introduced to a high-potential aspiring developer, and he's really smart.

He's not just doing engineering -- he's also helping reach out to pool influencers (they exist!!) to try & drive installs. $10 per paid install of a great app isn't such a bad deal, especially for people with large followings. This has been a really fun project to continue (very little time from me recently).

March 2023

  • Learning: D
  • Fun: F
  • Finances: F

The job market is tough for junior devs right now -- a smart, hard-working parent couldn't get hired after working with me for a few months. They just joined the military instead (I'm extremely proud of them).

I also took a massive pay-cut by joining an early startup, so I'm going to try some boring ways to soak more value out of the pool apps. They're no longer open-source (just open-core, which kind-of sucks). I'm just going to charge in the App-store, and link to some instructions on and see if Amazon affiliate links make any sense.

Also... I joined a startup, and I still have 2 young kids, so I just don't have time to sink into this anymore.

I'm nearly quitting this project... just trying anything to recognize some value from it this summer. But still, I get a forum post like this sometimes that just makes my day, man.

This app is delish! Not only what I needed but looks so damn good too.

November 2022

  • Learning: C
  • Fun: B
  • Finances: F

I helped another dev land a job through this project (that's... 8?). I love directly helping individual people; it's my antidote to the "greater good" BS that many software companies claim. My altruistic, anti-entropic projects aren't intertwined with my employer's fiduciary duty to its shareholders.

This is what God has called me to do at the moment -- I don't see many steps ahead, but I'll keep working.

I'm glad I made the app free. It's eliminated a whole category of not-fun concerns for now, and I can just invite people to help me build an awesome product.

August 2022

  • Learning: B
  • Fun: D
  • Finances: F

This project has been ongoing for 2 years. Financially, it's not great (130 paid subscribers). It has, however, been a great way to help aspiring engineers bridge to their first real programming job. I've also had fun working on every feature... except for billing.

Following my 2nd principle for this project, I'll just make it free so that I don't have to consider billing anymore. This way, I'll have more fun.

While I'm at it, I'll make the whole thing aggressively open-source (AGPL license). I suspect this will be even more fun, as I can respond to user's feature-requests with a link to the code-changes (and possibly stream development on Twitch).

This project is now explicitly art, rather than business.

In summary:

  • I've helped 5 people get their first tech job
  • The app is now free and open-source

Next up, I'll build out online sync (like I've been saying for years, but putting off because billing is so tedious).

July 2021

  • Learning: B
  • Fun: B
  • Finances: F

It's this project's 1-year anniversary! I'm still having fun building it, but we're only at $100 monthly recurring revenue... so let's hope "slow and steady" still wins the race. A graph from July 2020 -> July 2021, starting at 0 and ending at $119 MRR

  • I had my first issue with users creating formulas for eachother. Someone wrote a formula that only worked if your pool had the same volume as theirs, and lots of other people used it (yikes!).
  • We simplified the UI, added lots of animations, improved the formula-editor, and re-organized the forum.
  • Our designer (Katie) and other developer (Victoria) are improving the web experience.
  • I'm trying to migrate users from Pool Doctor (my old pool app) to pooldash.
  • 2,600 Installs, 68 paid subscribers

May 2021

  • Learning: B

  • Fun: A

  • Finances: F-

I've helped 3 people get their first full-time tech jobs. I just quit my job to focus on pooldash full-time (funded by selling bitcoin and some other crypto).

  • I need to make shorter developer update videos
  • Bailey, Cole, and Shayne all have full-time jobs now (pooldash was a good stepping-stone)
  • We added a monthly subscription option, a volume estimator, imperial units, and "skipped" readings
  • Up next: make the app (and website) more approachable
  • 1,950 Installs, 51 paid subscribers

March 2021

  • Learning: B+

  • Fun: A

  • Finances: F

I love mentoring people, but most of them need opportunity (not advice).

  • I hired 3 talented, ambitious, up-and-coming engineers
  • Update videos are getting better
  • We added custom target ranges
  • We're working on the recipe editor (moved to Vercel)
  • I'm having so much fun
  • 1,300 Installs, 31 paid subscribers

November 2020

  • Learning: B+

  • Fun: B

  • Finances: B-

The Tiger King documentary inspired me to film myself doing unusual things.

  • I started filming update videos
  • A few more users posted in the forum, I made some features for them
  • I shipped the scoops feature
  • I made a recipe for hot-tubs with natural products (that require less sanitizer)
  • I'm working on data-export
  • 839 Installs, 18 paid subscribers

July 27, 2020

  • Learning: B+

  • Fun: A

  • Finances: B-

I finally took this project from 0 -> 1 paid subscribers... feels good! Now it's time to iterate for a few years.

  • I got my first paying user 🎉
  • I waddled in ambiguity researching the volume vs weight problem, got nowhere (whoops)
  • I started coding work on scoop sizes, didn't ship it yet
  • I decided to add a monthly pricing plan, but haven't built it yet :)
  • 434 installs, 1 paid user

July 20, 2020

  • Learning: B+

  • Fun: A-

  • Finances: C+

I finally got some public feedback in the forum... hopefully this effort pays off.

  • I created new forum categories to encourage users to post (it worked!)
  • I now have 1 real forum user (and he's in the Netherlands!!)
  • I discussed some features with him (scoop sizes, chem names)
  • I talked with several friends about why they think I have 0 paying users
  • I emailed several users of my old app about paying for my new app, none seemed interested
  • I didn't make any recipes or deploy any code (whoops)
  • 347 installs, 0 paid users

July 12, 2020

  • Learning: B-

  • Fun: C

  • Finances: B-

Nobody is posting in the forum, the recipe editor is barely functional, going to keep iterating...

  • I got an email from a user of my old app asking me to support dichlor shock, so I made a recipe for it & posted in the forum
  • I made it possible to remix your own recipe, not just someone elses.
  • 264 installs, 0 paid users

July 5, 2020

  • Learning: B+

  • Fun: B

  • Finances: A

I finally launched this thing... I had to take some shortcuts for the sake of shipping, but it feels good.

  • I released the iOS and Android apps (built using React Native)
  • I released the recipe-editor
  • I deployed a forum (using Discourse) to avoid individual email-support in the future
  • 0 installs, 0 paid users