Day 31: Calendars are like maps for the brain but with less Adam Levine.

Status: Yelp API for thinglistr is almost done! The hard part gets done this weekend!

Mood: Feelin’ alright.


Before I write my post:

  • HOLY SHIT, I’ve been at this for a month and haven’t quit yet!
  • Are you a developer looking to roll your own OAuth library? Here’s how: don’t. Just. fucking. don’t.

I have a terrible memory. If I forget to book something in my calendar, it will get forgotten. This isn’t a new development, either; I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. (I hustled hard in middle school to get a used Palm V so I could stop forgetting shit. It worked! I also made essentially no friends during those three years, since technology wasn’t cool yet and I, unfortunately (at the time), lived and breathed it.)

So what happens when a guy like me attempts to plan time for a startup, a full-time job, a thrice-weekly lifting routine (push/pull/legs for the curious; I’m still cutting), a few coffee meetings and personal stuff…all in their head?

Nothing good; that’s what.

After canceling one meeting and missing another one because of the timing not working out (that’s the kind of shit that happens when guys like me plan with their minds), I sat down for about an hour and scheduled my daily routine down to the commute. I then saw the root cause for me feeling so rushed and cramped all of the time: I never actually allocated time for building this business. So every block of time I thought I had open wasn’t really open, which means that every time I planned something with someone weeks ahead of time, I almost always risked sacrificing product development time.

Organizing my calendar was super-relieving! Planning stuff should be a little smoother now.

Day 31: Calendars are like maps for the brain but with less Adam Levine.

Day 30: I’m scared…and that’s okay.

STATUS: Fucking OAuth.

MOOD: I’m so close!

I’m scared of a bigger company (or person smarter than me) releasing my product faster than I can and taking the market with them.

I’m scared of encountering a huge show-stopper months into development.

I’m scared of never getting any funding. (I’m trying to get enough funding to focus on this full-time. I have an idea of the expenses involved for the business, but running/developing/networking it on top of a full-time job is starting to get difficult.)

I’m scared of being unable to convince people that working with me is worth their time.

I’m scared of failure and having to restart.

I’m scared of never seeing success.

I’m scared of giving up.

What’s different about these fears from, say, my fear of riding those 400-foot free-fall rides is that this is *good* fear. The fear doesn’t immobilize me. The fear ignites me.

I still feel incredibly alive after a multi-hour coding session or coffee/pitch meeting. The implicit rejections I get (such as my landing page and social networks being mostly dormant, or that I’m still far away from an interactive demo of some kind) aren’t making me afraid of continuing; they make me think about how I can do better and push forward. Every line of code I write brings me closer to putting this out in the world, and that’s enough to silence my fears for a short while.

It has been said that there are few things in life that make a person more vulnerable than starting a business. To that, I say this: if this shit were easy, everyone would do it, and I’d still be chasing the hard stuff anyway. I’ll take a little bit of hard work for a lot of awesome later down the line over stability and safety any day of the week!

Day 30: I’m scared…and that’s okay.

Day 29: Morning work ain’t so bad after all!

Status: Implemented a better business finding algorithm and finally started work on one leg of the event discovery algorithm!!!!

Mood: I think I’m doing this startup thing wrong because I’m feeling amazing!


Now that I finally got my coffeemaker, I decided to give working in the mornings a try. (Ironically, I got the damn machine so that I could stop trolling for cafes at night.) I mostly avoided it to prevent myself from getting caught up and going to my full-time work super late, but I realized during my trip to Memphis this past weekend that:

(a) getting to bed at 5am isn’t a great strategy either, 

(b) doing things this way gives me two blocks of time to work on stuff, 

(c) I might be able to sleep at the same time as my girlfriend, which I have been missing, 

(d) I can use my morning commute to write higher-quality reflections on this blog instead of rushing them out at 4am, and

(e) I can use the mornings to spend time building product and the evenings to network and pitch it. 

The last bit is becoming increasingly important since I’ve been spending a lot of time pitching/networking and have been feeling like I haven’t spent enough time developing. Getting that time back will only help me release something faster.
Today was my first day on morning duty, and boy did it feel good. Despite having a three hour work window I felt much less rushed and much more clear-minded. This will help a lot now that I’m finally working on the real money-maker for thinglistr.

Speaking of money-maker, I am feeling REALLY good about finally having a plan for making money with it. While it still depends on a large and very-active user base, my primary strategy is a straightforward money-maker that, I feel, is cheaper and easier to use than most of the competition. I also have a few other avenues I can incorporate as well if that doesn’t pan out.

An acquaintance told me recently that running a business is much like playing chess: being ahead usually means being five steps ahead in one’s mind. When I started this journey a month ago, I didn’t have much more than an idea and “ads” as a revenue stream. Today, I have some code, lots of positive validation, a small social media presence and a very solid idea of how to move forward. Even though I don’t feel like I’m five steps ahead of the game yet, I feel like I’m in a very good place right now. That feeling feels good.

Day 29: Morning work ain’t so bad after all!