#TheCommitals: Week 33 Check In

How did you fare last week?
What's on deck for this week?
[Optional] Still on target for end of year goal?

@louisswiss, @daveroma, @helengriffinjr, @vimalin, @jpusateri, @Guidione_Machava, @natejcho, @DF_V, @davey, @VisionIsScary
@breedaddy, @janice

  1. 4

    How did you fare last week?

    Last week I managed to complete the school website structure and content creation.

    What's on deck for this week?

    I will focus on the conference website.
    I am launching a conference to help fund my tuition-free school design school

    1. 1

      I'll admit I'm a little lost. You have two projects your building? But one will fund the other? (Links for either?)

      1. 2

        I started the project last year. I wanted to become a world-class designer, because I believed I could become one of the best professionals in the world in my field. So I started to talk to people who I considered the best on what they do so I could learn from them. After a few conversations, I realized that more people could benefit from the conversions I was having, so I started to write articles about it.

        I've interviewed Junior to Senior designers from companies such as IDEO, Dropbox, Visa, Airbnb, Toptal, Shopify and others. One of them was Adam Reineck, Global Design Director for IDEO.org. You can find some of the articles here: https://medium.com/@guidione.machava

        Later on, with the same aim, I started a podcast: https://anchor.fm/worldclass-designer. Part of my listeners are from Africa, so what I heard from them was that they wanted to learn more about design on platforms like Coursera and Interaction Design Foundation. Still, they could not afford and those who could afford found it hard to keep them selfs motivated.

        So I decided to create a tuition-free school so I could give my people access to education that they deserve (mixing multiple MOOCs) and also have an accountability and mentorship group. The problem that I had was "How would I sponsor that?" because I am as broke as few of them.

        So I decided to organize a conference and use my network (USA and Europe) as speakers and all the money from the conference will be used to sponsor the school. Basically one ticket = one year of online design education plus mentorship for African aspiring designers. I hope it's clear now @Janice

        1. 1

          "I believed I could become one of the best professionals in the world in my field" Outstanding!!

        2. 1

          Chrystal. Thanks for taking the time to explain. Your journey is damn, good one. Glad we get to follow along!

  2. 4

    How did you fare last week?
    Managed to figure out why Vimalin did not run on Big Sur and fixed it. Also figured out what was wrong with my code for having it not run with the latest Delphi version (and made that work too)
    Worked on getting a new version of Vimalin ready for both macOS as well as Windows and just released the latest update.

    What's on deck for this week?
    Publish a new version (which I just did) and get the news about the update out at all the communication channels.
    Focus back a bit on my normal work.

    1. 4

      This looks hard to do. You make it sound so easy. Well done on your progress.

      1. 3

        Almost all of the hard problems are "easy" once you know how-to troubleshoot it and understand what is going on. Finding the motivation to work on a side project is the difficult part and that's where indiehackers comes in.

        So thanks everyone for helping to focus and motivate.

      2. 1

        This is my internal thinking every time @vimalin posts. He's a beast.

    2. 2

      Congrats on the new version!

  3. 3

    Last Week

    • SMB on-boarded onto Jovial.

    This Week

    • Set up outbound campaigns.
    • Refine my sales process from my feedback loop.
    • Adjust my workflow automation.


    • No alarm bells yet.
    1. 2

      Is that a new client?! And stated so nonchalantly! Congratulations!

      How many clients do you have? And what does onboarding look like?

      1. 2

        Jovial matches software developers with clients to avoid crazy project proposals.

        1. 2

          Your website is dope. I love it. The UX of it is amazing (I love the chat sequence on "No, here's why"). Well done.

          1. 2

            That is cool! Hadn't noticed that the first time round!

          2. 1

            Thanks, @Guidione_Machava! I'm in the process of drafting content/scoping sales funnels for the site. I'll be revisting UX once I done w/ the drafts.

  4. 3

    Last Week

    • Completed initial redesign of my personal blog. I also added a dailies section with daily entries and a weekly digest email list.
    • Made some progress in planning for starting a podcast.
    • A bit side-tracked with other items but made some progress on Carme Desk with a third product design close to completion.

    This Week

    • The softest of launches for Carme Desk to get the first two product available on the ecommerce site and a few marketplaces. Still a lot of marketing and sales work to do but just want to stop stalling getting the site live
    • Finalize third Carme Desk design
    • Dig into MVP affiliate program for Carme Desk
    • Start process of migrating to a different accounting solution that supports inventory and manufacturing


    • Not much progress on this but hoping for some progress through the month.
    1. 4

      Hi @stabadie, well done on your website update. For your podcast try https://anchor.fm/ if you haven't. It's a really cool platform. I have mine there.

      1. 2

        Thanks! Anchor is on my list of options for hosting. Also considering some pay options but need to weigh out the value. What is your podcast? Always looking for new shows to check out.

          1. 1

            Awesome, followed! I'll check it out this week.

    2. 1

      Congrats! This is a solid week of work! Have you used Contentful in addition to Sanity? How do the two compare? I'm in the process of building a site (also built with Gatsby) for my Mama and wondering which is best for someone with not a lot of technical prowess?

      Damn. Why do I feel so lost this week? (Must be vacation head.) Carme Desk? Link? And what motivated you to start a podcast?

      1. 2

        Thanks! Your site is looking great! Contentful is on my list to try out but haven't used it yet. I think when I first looked at it they didn't have a free plan so I tried Sanity.

        Sanity and Contentful both have well supported and well documented Gatsby source plugins so both should be great for development. Just looking at screenshots of Contentful it seems their UI may be a bit better but worth testing to confirm. Oh also, both are supported for incremental builds which has been great. Looking at Contentful, now really wanting to implement it on a site that I'm currently using markdown files. If you have more questions on Sanity feel free to send me a message!

        Carme Desk is just a Carrd landing page for now but should have the store live this week at carmedesk.com. With the podcast, hoping to help others considering getting into or already started with physical products. Additionally wanting to grow business relationships in the space.

        1. 2

          Look forward to seeing the store! Glad I have a fellow Gatsby-ite to geek out with! I'll let you know if I've any questions about Sanity!

  5. 3

    [Last Week]
    -Completed the 4th Grade Assessment
    -Had a student use the 4th grade test to uncover his learning gaps going into the 5th grade. His parents were incredibly thankful
    -Removed some of the user barriers near the end of the experience
    -Created a Medium blog post about the Top 3 Problems with Homeschooling
    -Brainstormed what Phase 2 will look like as an MVP featureset

    [This Week]
    -TikTok research
    -5th Grade Assessment
    -Add back in some features I removed for userflow
    -Transition the tests to paid, come up with coupon code system
    -Get a scope list out for Phase 2 MVP
    -Put feelers out for some funding

    [On Target]
    On target for the year! Phase 2 will begin a little early

    1. 2

      It's great to see how users end up using your application.
      Sometimes they bump into totally unexpected issues and seeing that does help in taking away potential paper cuts for other users.
      Improving the UX is an ongoing process.

      Got a lot of feedback myself over the week from a new user and some of their feedback already made it back in today's release.

      1. 2

        User feedback is solid gold at this stage :)

        1. 2

          It quite often is, even at later stages.

          At one of the forums where I'm active you have some participants that are too easy with asking questions. You know the type of user where a question that was asked one thread higher up and answered already, they ask again...

          It is oh so tempting to start ignoring a user like that. However that is not the correct thing to do. It turns out they are often also the ones that are really good at picking out the things that confuse other users. Users who are not as vocal.

          Of course as with all feedback, you have to evaluate that -even if they make a good point- if it is high enough up on the priority list to work on.

          1. 3

            I swear I wasn’t trolling :) I spent my early years in customer support for things like MS Word for Windows and Windows 95, so I know firsthand how support ticket aggregation can fuel the dev roadmap.

    2. 2

      Hi @Davey, can you share the link for your medium article? Well done on your progress.

        1. 2

          It's a long read but a good one. Well done man. I can relate with all the 3 problems you describe in the article I have been helping my cousin, he is 12 years old and it has been a challenge. I cant wait to see your proposed solution fully implemented. I like the Elon must type of statement "the coolest Common Core assessment on the planet."

    3. 1

      Alright. Going in hard on the critique.

      First and foremost, love the new design direction. Much cleaner. Much more legible. Much more lovely.


      • Hate the logo. Impossible font to read. And the background just muddles. Personally, I'd focus on doing something clever with "Lift". And play it straight with "Academy".

      • Not a fan of your H1 font. I can live with it. And I get it. But you're speaking to adults, not kids. I'd put more emphasis on clean, rather than playful.

      • Your CTA buttons have no "call". There's no contrast. Nothing to make 'em stand out from the page.

      • All the screenshots bunched together. They each deserve their own limelight with a short blurb to describe why that screenshot is important to their child's continued development.

      • FAQ. Too dense. Try an accordion and help parents find the questions they have more quickly.


      • Above the fold is beautiful. Lots of white space, a titillating headline and (smiling) a perfect play on a parent's worst fears.

      • "Stop the Covid slide" is a fear (or pain) not a feature. And exactly how you want to play the bullet point game. Benchmarks are a feature. What's the value? Or the fear?

      • Price chart. Pitch perfect!

      re Content. You've the perfect mix. But.. street cred is missing. How do parents know that your tests (and you) are legit? I'd also include a personal story (perhaps blog post is best) as to why you got into this game. It's relatable. And parents will appreciate that you appreciate the tribulations and triumphs of home schooling!

      1. 2

        This is pure gold. Thank you so much!

      2. 1

        I did a lot of this, and added a couple more blog posts too. Liked one of them so much I put it up on Medium where it's generating a tiny bit of traffic. I hate using fear as a motivator, thanks for calling that out.

        1. 1

          I hear you re leveraging fear as a motivator. Especially given the current context. But I don't know that leveraging fear per se is evil. I think the evil is all about the motivation and desired outcome. Fearing for your child's safety or future is valid. And even more so if you act on that fear with positive action.

          Really like the value adds. And the QA is on point. Still think there's work to be done re showcasing your screenshots!

  6. 3

    (I'll be back in here after work to update my happenings!)

    1. 2

      We will be waiting for you.

      1. 1

        Translation: You better get your ass back in here with an update.

        (Laughing!) Love it!

  7. 2

    Last Week

    Not much due to a glorious vacation. And a main gig that met my return with a full agenda.

    This Week

    Hoping to get the crew in here for advice for this one.

    I busted up one of my knees running. And I'm on the bench for at least a couple of months. Which means my motivation to build a running app has just plummeted. (Wasn't terribly high with which to begin. But I like learning new frameworks.)

    Consequently, I'm looking for something to build that's more... consequential. I recently led a most awesome DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) workshop for engineers at Qualtrics. And I really dig the work. During a time of racial tumult, it feels really good to help folk recognize the limitations of their own paradigms and start the process of reconciling cognitive dissonance.

    I checked out @csallen's post re generating content and I'm wondering if this might be an entry point for building something useful in this space.

    I'm thinking a weekly email that provides engineering managers actionable, bite-size chunks to help refactor tech teams for diversity.

    Here's where I need #TheCommittals:

    1. Thoughts? What do y'all think of this idea? Brutal honesty?
    2. How would you validate this idea?
    3. And assuming you do think this idea has some potential, which name for the newsletter do you like best?

    3a. The Diversity Code
    3b. Diversity Decoded

    (Y'all know I'm a branding freak. I can't help myself.)

    @louisswiss, @daveroma, @helengriffinjr, @vimalin, @jpusateri, @Guidione_Machava, @natejcho, @DF_V, @davey, @VisionIsScary

    (Grinning) I know, I know. Greedy. But I'm late to the posting party and most folks have already passed through.

    1. 3
      1. Love it. Badly badly needed. After all the bustle and fuss, still only good intentions and posturing going on. Need bite sized chunks and actionable items you can spread out over time and auto publish! Help build some EQ in people
      2. Get on Substack and go! Post on LinkedIn. Give the headline each week and link to your signup
      3. Diversity Decoded. The first seemed trendy but is incomplete in both intention and outcome. The 2nd is succinct and yet ongoing
      4. I need you to be a guest speaker (non-scalable) and develop materials for moderators (scalable)! I want to offer this type of learning as a 15-minute course segment and also a full class for kids. Need it badly. Email me?
      1. 1
        1. Cool, cool, cool.
        2. Hmmm. I had planned to use MooStack for the automation. Is Substack strictly for the audience? (Maybe a good place to share blog posts?) Love the LinkedIn idea.
        3. Noted. Bought.
        4. Can definitely do the former. The latter seems like a good chunk of work and I'm already at capacity. But let's chat. Email sent!
    2. 2

      @Janice my background is working with media companies (all sizes but mostly the big ones). Media can be wonderful - and it can be a slug.

      Two things I would consider:

      1. How did you land on weekly email?
        1b. Creating content is easy enough one time -- can you see yourself being excited to create this kind of content for many months?

      I like the idea very much and it sounds like others here do as well. Diversity Decoded is a great name!

      1. 1

        Hey, @DF_V! 👋🏾Thanks for chiming in!

        I do love to write. And I've toyed with the idea of having a newsletter or blog previously. @csallen's post put it top of mind.

        But it's a fair question re endurance. I've a lot of conviction around this topic. And... I am hoping to go the route of evergreen content so that I'm not forced to generate content at nauseum. And I'm definitely committed to writing a enough content to satisfy 3- 6 months worth of modules.

    3. 2
      1. Been black and African I don't feel comfortable talking about diversity for many reasons. Sometimes feels like someone else is deciding my life and that we have to agree on what is fair for me. It's a sensible topic.
      2. Start with the diversity group first, get testimonials.
        3b. Diversity Decoded definitely.
      1. 1

        I def feel you on this one. Especially as I'm early career and don't want to be pegged as the "diversity hire" and/or "social justice chick". But this year has been... enlightening. And I'm ready to do my part.

        And hopefully something cool to build reveals itself along the way.

    4. 2

      Check out Elias Torres on LinkedIn, for example. Cofounder of Drift. He Just posted, ASKING what to do. I see this kind of post all the time.

      1. 1

        Link? And how the hell did you uncover such? I've never harnessed Linkedin for validation. (Genius!) Any articles you'd recommend to leverage this resource efficaciously?

          1. 1

            Wow. That's pitch perfect. Thanks for the share!

            Any articles you recommend for harnessing LinkedIn?

            1. 1

              I don't have any specifically, it's really just a good quality stream of information which happens to have a fair amount of opportunity parallels for diversity/inclusion this year.

              My value stream seems to be Facebook, for example

    5. 2

      I'd say you certainly have the writing chops for it. You are able to write in an engaging style that is very easy to digest. You also have a rich vocabulary and clearly enjoy writing. Building a community is also something you excel at.
      All great assets to have for creating a newsletter!

      So I agree that you can do something with that and writing might be just the thing for it. Like Dave says I concur that talking about diversity is badly needed in these times. But it is not exactly the easiest topic.

      How are you going to target "engineering managers" ?
      Without doubt there will be other potential market segments you can target.
      Have you made up your mind already on the payment model?

      re. validating the idea. I think a lot of this will depend on the actual content.
      Perhaps start writing and publish a few articles, then see if you can find advertisers, check if your target group is engaging with the content.
      For example by having a (moderated) comments section.

      I actually like "The Diversity Code", it obviously has a little nudge to "something da vinci something". Not sure about "Diversity Decoded" - past tense, it is going to be an ongoing process. Perhaps "Decoding Diversity" then?

      1. 2

        Nice plus on the name! There are some things like Substack now which will let you monetize a subscriber list, basically perfect for paid newsletters! I think she can niche target if she wants just by self-definition, sub-line, content, etc. The name isn’t restrictive as a brand, so the road is clear for broadening the niche at any time too.

      2. 1

        Amen. 🙌🏾 Amen.🙌🏾 Amen.🙌🏾

        Definitely not an easy topic. Especially these days when everyone is raw and bruised.

        No idea how I'll target engineering managers. But I know a few for starters. And I'll definitely jump on @Darecommendationdation re LinkedIn. (Smiling) Any other ideas?

        I like the idea of testing for engagement and this plays well into Davey's recommendations re harnessing LinkedIn. Let's see what I can do!

        I really like The Diversity Code, too. But, I did an SEO search and... no bueno. That should have been my first move.

    6. 1

      I would say begin writing immediately and I think this idea will be very profitable. Just whatever subject you include in these weekly emails be more open-ended and what I mean is not so as though you're talking directly at those managers but rather raising questions for them to put their input in.
      Edit: Also name I'm thinking maybe something unapologetic?

    7. 1

      @vimalin and @Davey. Blood of my blood. I can always count on you two to come through! Thank you!

  8. 1

    @Janice, Can i perhaps join this group?

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