Tag Archives: products

Two weeks notice: unfinished work

Three weeks ago I had about a dozen open Jira tickets. Today, my last day with the company, most of those are still open. I was able to update some documentation and do minor maintenance work, but a bigger change I had hoped to deploy turned out to be impossible because of a missing internal API.

It’s unsatisfying to leave unfinished work. There’s only so much that can be done in a limited time, though, and as we all know software (especially a web app) is rarely ever completely finished.

Bittersweet, moving on after so many years. The folks I’ve worked with have been really great. I’m going to enjoy keeping an eye on what they ship long after my GitHub access has been revoked.

This morning, my (now) former boss and good friend Willie Abrams linked in the company chat room to some of the photos that he had taken over the last 14 years. Brought back a lot of good memories, from brainstorming app features in a conference room to wandering around San Francisco before WWDC.

I think I’m going to let this be the final post to wrap up the “two weeks notice” series. I’ve accomplished a lot but there is still plenty left, especially shipping new products. It’s been good to force myself to write every day, so I’ll keep that going with the usual full posts and microblog posts.

You can find all 14 posts under the tag “2weeks”. Thanks for reading.

Inside product hype

Sometimes the usefulness of a product speaks for itself. Other times the difference between success and failure comes down to marketing. Most of us can get better at crafting a story around why our apps are important.

And then, there are the folks who just exude hype. I love this quote from Jason Calacanis, talking up his new company Inside.com:

“It’s going to be somewhere between a hit and groundbreaking.”

Sure, it’s over the top. This style wouldn’t work if I said it. But the certainty — that the product’s success is guaranteed, and now we’re just haggling over how big a success it will be — does make me want to know more about what they’re building.

New product coming soon

Last year I started working on something new. It was going to be the first product after I refocused Riverfold around a new mission statement: apps to keep and remember what matters. It starts by solving a very basic problem, but the long-term scope is very big.

It’s for anyone with a web site or blog. It’s incredibly simple to set up. It’s a web app with a free trial that works like magic, requiring no registration.

Finally I’ve been able to dust off the project, give it a new name, and get it ready to ship. Launching tomorrow, February 14th.

A fan for your unreleased app

Every product needs a believer. Not on the product team, but outside. A champion beta tester. Someone who sees the potential and will offer such constructive criticism and feedback early on that if you don’t make the app perfect you will be personally letting them down.

This is so critical, that many products succeed or fail to reach 1.0 on this point alone. Without inspiration from your peers, it becomes difficult to push through “the dip”:http://sethgodin.typepad.com/the_dip/, the rough times in development when everything goes wrong and you can’t imagine how your app will ever see the light of day. Seek out that one person — friend, spouse, blogger, anyone — who will light a fire under you to ship a quality product.

Yes, I want to hear how much you like my app, but I also want to hear where it fails and frustrates you.

The feedback I’ve received for “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ is astonishingly well thought out and helpful. I like to think the app is attracting the best kind of customers: articulate and experienced enough to know what they want. If I could only implement half the suggestions to improve the app it will evolve into something great.

Of course, great beta testers only go so far. We still have to work really hard. “Merlin Mann said it best”:http://www.43folders.com/2009/03/11/kutiman: “The only person who can sit on your ass is you.”