April 30 – Retro : Beautiful Things Unfolding!

Copyright 2013 – Brianna Sutton

Check In

  • I’m glad that my cold and fatigue are conquered for now.
  • Glad that I stuck to my schedule and worked sustainably
  • Glad I did 80 pushups across all 4 of my ten-minute breaks!
  • I’m mad that I am still discovering more things to be done.
  • Glad that there are more things to be done
  • Afraid/Excited to learn new things

I’m in. 

Achievements Since Last Retro

  • Closed ChittyChat for revamp.  This was non-trivial – had to write some new tech to do it graceful (and another product idea emerged!)
  • Sent off invitations to prospective ServiceChat customers to a chat to validate my pricing (what would they pay for a service that delivered the outcomes that ServiceChat tries to deliver?)
  • Drafted my network outreach email.

How The Trello Board Now Looks

Trello at close of 30/April/2013

I Learned…

  • I can’t do it all, but I should at least be able, and prepared, to do anything required in my business.
  • Help can come from the unlikeliest of sources.
  • I may not be the best coder, but I ain’t so bad at finding solutions to stuff.

I Loved…

Chatting with my friend Amit (who is doing some awesome writing for  ServiceChat) and  is also an amazing SEO , internet marketing guy. We came up with some interesting experiments to amplify the value of any content we produce. Very excited.

I’m Grateful For…

My  first daughter, Brianna , celebrating her 16th birthday. She is such a beautiful person who is overcoming so much. I feel deeply inspired by her.

April 30 – Plan: Recovering

Screenshot_30_04_2013_10_33

Today

I’ve been ill over the last few days – hence no diary entries. You know the deal, kid picks some bug up from nursery and goes on a germ fuelled rampage, infecting the entire household. Felt totally rundown yesterday, sore throat, phlegmy chest. Attempted to do some work but gave up mid morning.

Today I feel better and rearing to go. Many ideas in the shower today around customer identification and approach, eager to try them out.

I have quite a lot to do today, so I need to be super focused and disciplined with my time. It’s music on, tweets off and head down.

See you on the other side.

Wish me luck!

April 25: Hard Slog!

 

Check In

  • I’m mad that my language learning (which is one of the 3 things I’m focused on this year) – is falling behind.
  • I’m mad that I’m not making as much time for it as it deserves.
  • I’m mad that not speaking Spanish at home is affecting my son’s ability to really communicate and make friends at his school.
  • I’m glad that I have committed to do a couple of hours of language study and practice every morning from 9 to 11 and then begin my startup work. Please help me stay focused.
  • I’m sad that today was a really hard slog of a day. It felt like walking through treacle with both feet chopped off.
  • I glad that I’m in. Invictus!

I’m in. 

Achievements Since Last Retro

  • Authentication to chat is ported and working live.
  • Recorded the script for my explainer video. The first draft at least.
  • 60 pushups and a full HIIT workout in the evening.

I Learned…

  • Things take as long as they take, I may be best trying to figure out when I should stop/rethink than waste too much time
  • When you are working on a Startup in some of the most beautiful places on Earth, you lose track of time (what day is it?)
  • Working out last thing at night works best for me, helps me work out the stress of the day AND prepares me for a deep sleep

I Loved…

Finding all kinds of techniques, tools etc to make the internet beautiful and all freely shared. We are living in a very interesting time.

I’m Grateful For…

Being 5 seconds from work.

Next Desired Outcomes

  1. Complete the ChittyChat -> ServiceChat port (and decommission ChittyChat
  2. Validate my pricing with a customer.
  3. Try out my 2 hour (9-11) daily language study from Sunday
  4. Conclude my night with a retro and start my day with planning – this would be 2 blogs a day (shorter ones) but should be better. Trial from Sunday.
    My happyToHelpers can still only read once a day 😉

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Why I Love This Poem

Often when I get physically/mentally/emotionally overwhelmed, the next thing that comes along can just tip me into total exhaustion.
When this happens, I feel defeated by everything, unable to rise to the challenge before me. I want to just be alone, to lick my wounds and be still, to be silent and be unnoticed. I want to rest and recover.
All of which are sometimes hard to do in a bustling house and running a startup.

At these times, I read Invictus and I am emotionally renewed, almost immediately. I may not physically be stronger, but mentally and emotionally, Invictus recharges me.

Invictus acknowledges how bloody hard life can be, for some and sometimes, downright brutal. It recognises that life is unpredictable and , truly, we control very little that affects us. Yet, like a rock on a tumultuous coast, one remains determined and independent, shaped by life but not be conquered by it.

Despite being very descriptive about the brutality of life and a little short on the joys that life can also bring, Invictus, for me, is about courage.

The courage to take responsibility for what one can, to do it humbly yet defiantly. Courage to be unshakeable even in the face of terrors of life – whatever they may be.

This courage feeds my hope and self belief that in the end I shall triumph against anything that life throws at me.

And that is why I love Invictus.

You?

What do you think of Invictus?

What do you take shelter in when life’s winds get stormy?

What are your favorite poems and why do you love them?

I would really love to share them. (and if you don’t currently read poetry, this is a perfect time to start)

April 24: Much Done, Much To Do

By: devra

Check In

  • I’m glad that just as I began to slip back into disorganisation I recovered with some planning and regained focus.
  • I’m glad that so many people thing ServiceChat is a great idea (except they don’t have to pay for it)
  • I’m sad the all these people don’t have to pay for it (if they did – we’d be in business!)
  • I’m glad that I achieved a tremendous amount today
  • I’m mad that I didn’t get to do any language study
  • I’m glad that I’m now in flow.

I’m in. 

Achievements Since Last Retro

Screenshot_25_04_2013_00_58

Most notably:

  • The ServiceChat site is up, serving the content (blogs and static info)
  • The ServiceChat App site is also up, serving the chatrooms and account management
  • Both work seamlessly with each other! (BTW both are password protected for beta purposes, shout me if you want a peek)
  • Mapped out my marketing strategyMarketing Strategy Map
  • Mapped out my game plan for the next few months (with lots of flexibility – who knows what options may emerge)
  • Complete 40 push ups and 40 squats in the 2 of 3 ten minute breaks I took today.
  • Updated my Business Model Canvas again (2nd time in a week!!)

I Learned…

  • That marketing is a skill that anyone can do, but it requires thinking very differently.
  • I don’t need anyones permission to pursue my dreams (I really needed to be reminded of this today!)

I Loved…

The buzz.

I’m Grateful For…

Having the skills to turn most of my vision into a reality.

Next Desired Outcomes

  1. In-chat invite functionality ported to ServiceChat
  2. Validate my pricing with a customer.
  3. Caught up on my language study.

April 23: Scary Challenges

Check In

I’m glad that just after my entry yesterday, I was able to knuckle down (aided by some wine) and fix my issues.
I’m sad that, as a result,  I went to bed pretty early in the morning and so today was tiring.
I’m glad that I spent time with my wife, having coffee and catching up in the sunshine.
I’m excited that my WordPress blog site for ServiceChat is almost completely styled and ready for beta soon.
I’m excited at the options that emerged to run ServiceChat app with its blog – making life much easier for me.
I’m glad I pushed myself to exercise even though it was pretty late.
I’m afraid about the challenges that lie ahead and whether I will get through them.
I’m glad that right now I feel I can.

I’m in. 

Achievements Since Last Retro

  • ServiceChat chat is completed and ready to rock!
  • Blab.by – the pub/sub platform I wrote for ServiceChat is completely refactored. and is more robust, stable and faster!

I Learned…

  1. How to optimise WordPress and a whole heap of DevOps know how.
  2. People are a bundle of stories and it is always worth it to have the conversation.

I Loved…

  • Stopping for 45 minutes to have a long conversation with a stranger on the street, helping them feel better and helping myself make a new friend.
  • Trying to help a friend with some empathy and thinking round a personal challenge.

I’m Grateful For…

Broadband , which spelt forwards spells ‘FREEDOM’

Next Desired Outcomes

  1. In-chat invite functionality ported to ServiceChat
  2. Basic info pages sketched out
  3. Two hours of language study (I think it’s going to be a 6am start)

April 22: Frustrations Galore

 

Check In

I’m mad that I’ve spent most of today on two of the functional bits that should just work but don’t. With really important customer discovery effectively paused until I can get the ServiceChat beta site up, I’m seething that something I can’t identify is toying with me. Arrgghh – frustrating!
I’m glad that I’m physically feeling pretty great.
I’m excited at the blog posts that are being worked on by my buddy Amit Jaspal.

I’m in. Big time.

Achievements Since Last Retro

Still breathing.
Refactored my chat server to be cleaner and faster.

I Learned…

  1. Knowledge is not the pure domain of the experts.
  2. It’s ok to build something because you have a need (better if you can validate that others have similar need and willing to pay for it)

I Loved…

Every moment of today, even the mad bits.

I’m Grateful For…

My sons – who remind me that life is not startups and tech.

Next Desired Outcomes

  1. The rebranding completed
  2. Customer research started.
  3. Catching up with my adviser(s) this week.

April 19 : Leaps and Bounds!

 

Check In

I’m glad that I only worked a half day today, I got to spend the afternoon with my sons.
I’m glad  that I was inspired to steal, with permission, Olaf’s template that he was inspired to make by reading this blog (everything is connected!) – Please let me know what you think of the format.
I’m mad that I had intermittent network issues with my broadband.  If I only lived 200 meters closer to the exchange!
I’m sad that the week has come to an end, I feel like I could just make and make and make.
I’m glad my wife went to the Alhambra palace with her Mama – I think when we get bigger with children of our own we neglect experience-making with our own parents.
I’m sad about the bombing in Boston – it is an unnecessary was of lives
I’m mad that the first instinct of the media is to try and paint the perpetrators as muslim and stoke the flames of intolerance.

I’m in.

Achievements Since Last Retro

  1. I reviewed my business model canvas (I use BMFiddle.com – it is really awesome)
  2. I hired someone to work on a wordpress site for the ServiceChat blog to make it look seamlessly with the rebranding – he should be done by Monday
  3. The chat page of the rebranding is further ahead than I expected , though still not complete
  4. I got the first public not-self-initiated contact about ServiceChat today.
  5. Getting feedback from trying to deploy a beta version of ServiceChat. Lots broken in deploy, but better to know now.

I Learned…

  1. The spanish word for pig sty – ‘Pocilga’ (don’t ask me why I learned this)
  2. My business model canvas is indispensable as a coherent memory of the assumptions I made waaay back.
  3. My business mode canvas is only as good as the information I take the time to put into it.

I Loved…

  1. Watching my HootSuite research dashboard of the 4 companies I’m searching, wow – what a stream of pain.

I’m Grateful For…

Spotify. I am having so much fun singing, dancing and discovering new music during my working day.

Next Desired Outcomes

  1. The Chat screen completely restyled and working responsively on common handsets and browsers.
  2. Blog titles and synopses written up and ready for discussion with my collaborator on Sunday

18-April-2013: Habits are forming!

Check In

I’m glad that today (day 3 ) of this new way of doing my thing, is the first day that it all pretty much worked.
I’m delighted that I have never been happier.
I’m glad I took time to sketch out the skins, made things go a lot faster and smoother.
I’m sad that my friend had a really hard time last year (lost his Mama – and now he is an orphan) and I knew nothing about it.
I’m glad I took my breaks at the timer
I’m very glad that I was able to do 60 pushups and 30 squats during my 10 minute breaks.
I’m mad I didn’t review my business model canvas as I had expected.

I’m so in.

Desired Outcomes For Today

Two days of toil and I recognise the truth that my rebranding is not a 2-day job. I am at peace with that and very happy with the results so far.
Therefore I am revising my outcomes. I expect to still be working on rebranding ServiceChat – specifically skinning the chat screens to make them responsive and to pare them down to the basics (ChittyChat has some bits I actually don’t want in the MVP for ServiceChat).

3 Things I Learned

  1. Progress is slow when I am learning how to do the work and doing the work. I must think about this, identify when this is the case and manage my expectations accordingly.
  2. My gut is very wise – it knows what I need
  3. Design takes time and thought (all kinds of design!)

3 Things I Will Improve On Before The Next Retro

  1. Reading a customer service oriented blog
  2. Getting out of bed on the first alarm.
  3. Get to bed before midnight (might help with above 😉

Something I’m Grateful For

That, inspite of myself, I am able to learn new things and that I’m loving the process of learning. Awesome!

Outcomes For Tomorrow

  1. The Chat screen completely restyled and working responsively on common handsets and browsers.

17-April-2013: Sloooow!

Check In

I’m frustrated that everything I tried to do today took longer than I thought it would.
I’m glad I stopped to consider why and what I could do about it.
I’m mad that I needed to continue my task to research customers (this shit is important!!! and urgent) and I was not able to.
I’m glad I decided to use a template instead of handcrafting the ServiceChat temporary skin – it made the day less sloow!
I’m afraid that it is Thursday tomorrow.
I’m frustrated that I can be let down by tech (my network) and entire hours can be swallowed up trying to solve it
I’m glad that I can see an end to the re-skinning task tomorrow and I should get an opportunity to get on the Customer Discovery work.
I’m glad that I had almost no distractions (just pain!)

I’m in.

Desired Outcomes For Today

From my high of yesterday I had to reach my outcome of ServiceChat having its own visible identity and completing the work I needed to have at least 2 potential customers researched.

I’m farther along, just not as far as my outcomes. Progress is progress – as they say in Spain  “poco a poco”.

3 Things I Learned

  1. Sometimes I need to step back as a developer and look at what solution is required – I don’t have to build everything.
  2. Sometimes the people I pay to do things can do them better than me.
  3. Sometimes I really am the best person to do the thing I hired someone else to do.

3 Things I Will Improve On Before The Next Retro

  1. Sketching/wireframe out what I want the new ServiceChat UI to look like (so I don’t overly experiment when I code)
  2. Taking my break when the timer goes off.
  3. Update my neglected Business Model Canvas!

Something I’m Grateful For

The huge list of stuff that I have done in my life. Skills that I cannot consciously recollect have been internalised in me and they crop up when I need them the most. I just know how to do certain things. Awesome!

Outcomes For Tomorrow

  1. Continue to reach my original outcomes ( a rebranded  ServiceChat app that does atleast as much as ChittyChat does AND have at least 2 customers researched)
  2. An updated business model canvas that reflects what I have learnt since I last updated it 3 weeks ago.