Weekly Check-In (2nd to the last check-in for 2020!)

  1. How did you fare last week?
  2. What's on deck for this week?
  3. What's your goal for the month?
  4. [Optional] Still on target for end of year goal?
  5. [Optional] Brief description of project with link (if applicable)
  1. 4
    1. With my laptop broken, I managed to do a marketing course on Ahrefs - https://ahrefs.com/academy/blogging-for-business/
    2. With my laptop back, I will be coding again :) I have already fixed some long running UX issues with my homepage on desktop and Trip Planner form on mobile.
    3. I want to make the most of the holidays I have left by creating a Route Builder so that I can add a list of popular train routes to my database.
    4. Despite the laptop setbacks (above), I think so!
    5. An online travel agency for train trips - https://trainspotter.co/
    1. 1

      That trainspotter website looks great, I love the idea!
      A bit puzzled about the "From" drop down though.. maybe it would be a good idea to start from selecting a country first? That list gets rather long once all European countries have been added.

      What did you think of the ahrefs course?
      I went through a similar one from them and it did have value. Although of course it is obvious they are trying to drive business to their own products.

      1. 1

        Thanks for the comment :D

        I agree with you that input is not very user friendly. It’s on my backlog to change because i’m going to be adding a lot more stations in the near future!

        Have to say I really enjoyed the Ahrefs course. I was doing it alongside their 7 day trial and learned a good bit about SEO and how to do keyword/content research.

        I also liked the tools, but now that i’ve got a bit more knowledge, i’ll see how far I can go before I have to make a decision about signing up or not.

  2. 3

    How did you fare last week?
    Ran a lot of tests on Vimalin and tweaked a bunch of code to get much improved error messaging for the end user when a backup fails.
    The error now gives a more direct plan of action for the user to address the issue by themself.

    Got an email from the UK VAT office that if I want to sell to UK consumers starting next year that I will have to sign up for UK VAT registration. Investigated what that would mean and concluded that it would be better to block UK consumers from buying Vimalin/Vimarun as the overhead was too much.
    Implemented that blockage in the webshop software that I am using.

    Later in the week realized that I am very unhappy with that decision and came up with a possible workaround as it is apparently no problem to sell to companies.
    So I am currently in negotiation with a befriended company from the UK to see if they can become a reseller for me in the UK. It's not so much the missed revenue, but the action of having to say "Sorry, not for you." to a customer who wants to buy your product is not sitting well with me.

    What's on deck for this week?
    Wanted to release an update for Vimalin, but one of my tests revealed a problem with one of the improvements I made.
    As this is in the backup logic itself I have postponed the update for begin next year.

    Fix that backup problem and add some more tweaks.

    Goal for the month?
    Same as my EOY goal.

    End of Year goal
    Keep on growing the sales for Vimalin.

    Brief description
    Vimarun - run VMware Virtual Machines automatically.
    Vimalin - automated Virtual Machine backups for VMware Fusion, Workstation and Player.

    1. 1

      Have you been selling in the UK prior to this? Curious how they "found you" proactively like that.

      1. 1

        The vimalin project is kind of a hobby project where I am trying to pivot a bit from my normal business activities. There's a couple of things I do business wise and there is some overlap between these.

        My main income is generated from consulting, mainly for business software companies that need something extra. Be it web or windows. This is in the DataFlex programming environment. In that area I also run the main open source web site for the last 20 years. As a result most DataFlex based software houses know my name and many -all over the world- have hired me for my services.
        Besides that I also offer VMware related troubleshooting/consulting services to companies that have trouble with their vSphere setups.

        Another area I've been keeping myself busy with is offering web hosting services. For that I've got a bunch of servers in a rack at a data center and I manage those for my hosting clients.

        As a result there's many companies that I have good contacts with and we do try to help each other out if possible. Even if you offer the same/similar services, by helping each other you tend to grow the market instead of competing each other out of it. So that's why it is easy for me to reach out to a company in the UK as they are my friends, my customers and even competitors.

  3. 3
    1. Last week I was busy looking for a part time job, so I can still work on this project for some more months

    2. This week I want to send a newsletter, invite more folks to the beta test, reserach on shared ownership, and enjoy christmas

    3. Adding an important feature to my app called "Word Suggestion". The goal is to increase retention

    4. I had not set specific goals, but everything seems to be on track.

    5. I'm making a language learning game that helps you express yourself in another language. https://polygloss.app

    1. 2

      Nice, I'm always interested in language learning tools.

      For your website it might be a good idea to also add a few screenshots there. It is now very barebones for a landing page.

      1. 1

        Yes, I'm aware! This was the minimum of the minimum indeed, havind a real landing page is part of my near future roadmap :)

  4. 3

    Announcr MVP Goals

    1. "I come home and am announced over a speaker on arrival in my driveway and when I walk in the door"
    2. "I walk into a Target store and am announced over a speaker in a grandiose manner"
    3. "I can use the custom announcement feature to advertise something about myself that I want people to know"

    Last Week

    • Got 14 rejection emails for engineer jobs
    • Got a job (maybe?)
    • Made UI for event trigger distances
    • Did some surgery on Announcr and started to generalize events. This means I'm not locked down to just audio, will be able to fire off POSTS and GETS too. Will probably expand more in the future with timings, pauses, etc.

    This Week

    • Make UI for custom event definition
    • Test the custom events
    • Plug device registration back into the location client code (left over from last week)
    • Test drive-by triggers (left over from last week)
    • Creation of DIY landing page (stretch goal)

    Goal for December
    A release to the DIY Smart Home crowd

    1. 1

      Hoping for you that you landed that job.
      Having a basic income isn't a bad thing to have these days.

      Looks like you are making good progress with Announcr!

      1. 1

        Re: Job.. I have verbal confirmation and negotiation, but no HR paperwork yet. It'll be a heck of an exciting job and kind of perfect for me, so I have my fingers crossed. As much as I love scraping by, it's a tough time of the year to do that.

        1. 1

          Verbal confirmation is a good start.
          Getting it in writing is better.

          Glad to hear that it will be an exciting job.
          Yeah, scraping by isn't great right now, somehow I know.

      2. 1

        I am making a little progress every day!

        BTW, because you mentioned more generic use cases, I got to thinking and:
        Arrived on the correct nomenclature for "trigger events" vs "actions"
        Created generics and definable ranges
        Revised the UI
        Added support for these actions:

        • HTTP GET
        • HTT POST with JSON support
        • Recorded audio
        • Audio Library selection
        • TTS with various AWS Polly voices
        • SMS Messages
        • Emails

        Each action gets 3 different fields and you can define one or more actions per trigger now.

        This was a lot of fun to do and required some major surgery to be more generic, but it makes much more sense now! Still lots of cleanup and UI work to do.

        1. 1

          Making a little progress every day is the way to built a great product.

          Glad to hear that my rambling helped you extend the use cases of your product.
          Now you have to update the documentation and marketing materials to sell that new functionality :D

  5. 2

    @Janice, I must have missed your check-in last week... oh.. I did not!

    Do keep us in the loop, don't leave us hanging here even with that holiday crunch.

  6. 1
    1. How did you fare last week?
    • I've been rewriting my websites' marketing copy. This exercise definitely brought up questions about the business that needed addressing.
    • Simplify the value proposition.
    1. What's on deck for this week?
    • Celebrate my mom's 90th birthday on Christmas eve & Christmas via Zoom.
    • To finish drafting/editing the copy and be happy w/ it.
    1. What's your goal for the month?
    • To ship the new copy to production. I'll focus on the redesign in Jan.
    1. [Optional] Still on target for end of year goal?
    • Yeah, if I don't horse around tomorrow, I can have something up to supports the new thesis & biz model. I want (and need) to take the next two weeks off for vacation.
    1. [Optional] Brief description of project with link (if applicable)
    • Coming soon 😉

    Last two weeks been hard to buckle down and get things done. I really need a break. I'll be using my vacation to do a hard reset and reevaluate things.

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