May 13 – Shipping is HARD!


Sunday, May 12th:  I struggled to get started.  I do want to work on Sundays, but my family and I are still clinging to conventional working week delusions and I find it difficult to get to my desk, let alone have the discipline to follow my routine. Nevertheless I did find some time and here is how it went.

  • Glad I navigated the devops maze to get the static site ( and the app site ( working again.
  • Mad that I decided to decommission an IP I thought was not used anywhere, only to discovered that my production chat publisher was deployed on it. Lesson learnt. Move on.
  • Excited that my tests are passing with minimum fuss.
  • Glad I can see the end of the current challenge – shipping the MVP.
  • I’m grateful for the huge amount of support from unexpected sources.

I’m In.



The app is working.
People can sign up, get email , request chats, have the chats.
That is the core of the app. It’s done.

So why is it so hard to get it out of the door!

I will open it to limited folks – those who already know what it does.

The main goal today is to ship it. Put it live, get my early adopters on it and start to learn how they want to use it. There are some niggling bits (like the explainer video) – which are not core to the experience, but I will work separately and seek feedback from a difference cohort of users (those who need to understand the problem first).  I suspect I am doing this in the less valuable order, but it will all be done – in a relatively short period of time (hours not days) – so I figure ‘what the hey!’

For now I need to get this out there.

The Trello board…


May 10 – My Keel Is Evening Out


Really challenging day, huge range of emotions but perhaps necessary.  Mostly I am:

  • Glad my routine is settling down and more that I am really enjoying it.
  • Glad I got feedback from my friend and ServiceChat early adopter on my landing page. It was awesome feedback and the mods really enhanced it.
  • Sad that I had a deep disappointment with a relationship that I thought was stronger than it actually is.
  • Glad that I was like a ninja on some tech challenges I got stuck on. I gave the solutions time to find me

I’m grateful for the ability to be irreverent.

I’m very In.



The main goal today is to get the chat working again since I broke something! The tests need to go green before I move on to the other big elephant in the room – my explainer video.

I also will put together a mind map of options for funding from October (or sooner!) that I can discuss with my advisers.

The Trello board…


May 9 – Too Far Down The Road Less Travelled


What an intense day – but pleasantly so.  Mostly I am:

  • Glad I successfully executed my new routine. I had a 17 hour fast, did 1.5 hours of language study (and it was huge fun) and 8 hours of work on the startup and over an hour of wellness throughout the day – YAY!
  • Glad I realised that my beta is not my MVP before I spent even more time on it.
  • Mad at how much time I had already spent on the beta vs the MVP
  • Sad that I don’t have a co-founder who was immediately accessible so we could decide what to do – keep doing the beta (it’s close) or stop and release the MVP now!
  • Glad I got over that and decided.

I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to experiment to take risks, fail and learn. I realise that many in the world of work do not readily claim this fundamental right.

I’m In.



The decision about the beta vs MVP is to get the MVP out today and then get back to get the beta ready for next week.  This is options gaming really – buying myself the option of more time on the beta whilst still having something out that folk can be using. Of course this means that once my MVP is out, I can also resume the validation of my marketing strategy, so maybe I won’t have all the time I thought I would have on the beta.

I need to get out of the building.

I want to have the idea validated ASAP not the app and the MVP should get me on that route.

So the big push is around the explainer video of some description and getting feedback on what I have in place for the landing the page (the wording mostly).

The Trello board…


May 7 (and 8th) – Plan : Replan, Replay


Revised Bigger, Bigger Picture


A Note on Yesterday

In lieu of a retro for yesterday (May 6th), which I did not write because it was late, I was tired and intended to do it this morning but unexpectedly had to make an airport run. That is my story and I shall be sticking with it.

The app is not in production yet, as I was walking through the MVP flow, I realised I had missed an important piece!  People can sign up, but they can’t sign in.

They need to sign in to manage the authorised chat hosts.  That single piece suddenly became both urgent and important!

I’m glad I have ‘sign in’ now in place and I can get back to what I was supposed to be doing.  I’m in, all the same.


I awoke feeling rather depressed.  Whilst I had my Startup and Wellness working well , the third element of my focus – Learning Spanish – was being neglected.

This called for a revision of the bigger, bigger picture. I thought long and hard about what my focus elements I have and what outcomes I want. Planning is fun, the plan less important.

Voila! I have a revised plan that leverages what has been working for me over the last weeks and helps me do all the things I want to focus on. Namely, building Spanish into my iterations (which previously only hard startup work and then a 10 minute HIIT workout).

So…my main goal is to start this new routine, follow the plan and adapt. 

The tasks for the startup are still the same – get the app into production, explore an early draft of my explainer video and talk to early beta users.

The Trello board…

Trello board for 8th May 2013

Trello board for 8th May 2013

Another Change

On reflection, two blogs on the same day is proving a little cumbersome and the result is neither is done well nor timely.  I have thought about this and will experiment with a single post again, this time in the morning.

I seem to do my main retro in the morning anyway and this impacts my planning too. So it makes sense that I just do the morning post with a concise retrospective (complete with the benefits of a night’s rest) and my daily plan. Let see how consistently that will happen. I’m excited!

May 6 – Plan: Prepare to Board


ServiceChat Trello for May 6th


I went rogue on Friday(3rd) and Sunday (5th). There was a plan but it wasn’t visible, so I apologise to my #happytohelpers.

The codebase is looking sweet and I have gotten a huge amount done in such a short time. I think I have enough to show early customers and get feedback for the next corner.

The main goal today is get what I have in development out to my production server and in readiness for some early adopters using it by the middle of this week.

Once I get the app in place today, I will work on the explainer video (at least the first draft). I have thought long and hard about the explainer video and I could probably do away with it for the MVP, but there is a huge amount of learning it can give for the blog content ideas I have – which are ongoing important tasks anyway.

I will also continue my marketing exploration  (in my in-between time) of paid advertising on Linked (I have a voucher that expires tomorrow, I don’t want that option to expire!).


May 3 – Retro: Traction.

Check In

  • I’m sad I didn’t write my plan on friday (May 3rd and a retro for that day). Slow progress meant not much had changed at the level I was tracking on my board.
  • I’m glad that on Sunday , May 5th I worked deeply and intelligently and achieved a huge amount.
  • Glad that I should be able to get early adopters using ServiceChat around the middle (Wednesday/Thursday) this week
  • Excited to be trying Intermittent Fasting as part of my wellness focus.
  • Glad to be have created my startup storymaps, felt I was losing sight of the big picture!
  • Glad that this last weekend was one of the best we have had as a family – sheer bliss.

I’m excited. I’m In. 

Achievements Since Last Retro

  • Approved hosts working lovely
  • Autoresponder for non-signed up usage and non-active usage in place.
  • Email on signup complete – need to work on the text of emails – will test with early adopters
  • Updated my Startup Storymaps – this, with my marketing maps and business model canvas gives a great overview of what I intend to do, when and towards what outcomes. (might blog about it)

How The Trello Board Now Looks


ServiceChatTrello Board – 6/May

…and the The Story Map


ServiceChat Storymap

I Learned…

I Loved…

Catching up on some reading last night, having a late snooze and then coding till 4AM!

I’m Grateful For…

Reality. It is often less scary than the delusions I sometimes conjure.

May 2 – Plan: Stitch 'er up, I'm done!


Yesterday was surgery, I took the codebase around the chat room requesting apart and cut out a lot of crappy code.  In the last week I have replaced lots of old tech and upgraded many of the gems that are the foundation of ServiceChat (especially mongoid, Rails and Tweetstream) and refactored all the supporting apps (Tron and Blabby).

That is a lot to happen to a codebase and now it is time to heal and get some feedback.  Healing for me is  about taking out spurious code, some minor refactoring etc.  With tests passing and all good functionally, I need to tidy up, remove debug comments and the like.

The main goal today is to get the end to end with pre-approved hosts being able to request chats. All the pieces are there and the tie up should not be too cumbersome.

Looking forward to releasing this beast into the wild.

I will also continue my marketing exploration  (in my in-between time) of paid advertising on Linked (I have a voucher that expires tomorrow, I don’t want that option to expire!).


May 1 – Plan : Full of Promise.

Trello after planning on 01/May


The main push today is to get ServiceChat hosts being able to request from Twitter. This is currently the biggest differentiator from other products out there.  It is the simplest, fastest and most unobtrusive mechanism I have seen.   it just works (well at least it did in ChittyChat!).

I’m going to start by running all the tests and making them pass, then comes the tricky bit.

ServiceChat has a modified model (based on billable customers and approved hosts) and this needs to be injected into the design. So I’ll have to write tests for them too.

But!!   Today is the first day in a 3-day fiesta in Pinos del Valle and I’m taking an extended lunch to participate in the diversiónes!


April 30 – Plan: Recovering



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!