ebook and read it later app with built in spaced repetition

No Employees
Founders Code
Solo Founder

I'm a lazy person but I wanted to optimize how I learned. I couldn't find any tools that made it easy to learn more effectively in a way that supported a multitude of methods. So I thought I would scratch my own itch.

November 29, 2021 Two paying customers + new Landing page.

As soon as I got my 2nd paying customer, I also got a notice from Heroku that I needed to upgrade my database as I was reaching the limit :D.

Profitability is moving further and further away.

But Lurnby is moving forward. I did a lot of work recently to start getting it ready for marketing and growth experiments. After a lot of beta testing and having around 6-7 Monthly Active Users, I'm confident that I've built something worthwhile and reliable. Now it's time for the real test. Getting customers :D

I've added a Terms of Service and privacy policy. Built out the settings page to allow people to choose their notifications, update and delete their accounts, and export all of their Lurnby data to use in other platforms.

And I've finally redesigned the landing page with a little help from my cofounder in another project. Would love to hear from people if it's clear and makes sense what the product is for.

The next step which is almost ready, is to build out the onboarding and notifications features. I need to rewrite a bunch of the tutorials, determine triggers and conditions, and create a scheduling function that will start sending out emails to people and hopefully reengage some old users and make sure that I make the most of any new users I acquire as I start to think about marketing.

It's fucking hard. But it's also really exciting to know that I've come this far. Considering that when I started 2 years ago I didn't know how to code at all, I'm really surprised at what I've achieved.

Just sets the bar higher though. XD

May 14, 2021 Created a demo for mobile setup

// Start Side note

Every time I start recording a demo, the app never works as I expect it. I always discover some small bug that I overlooked. I'm starting to think that these demos are the secret sauce to testing an application. Better to lost some time and footage to discover bugs in the application, than to get emails from customers about something not working :D

// End sidenote

Much of my reading (and thus learning) happens on my phone these days. For that reason, it's important for Lurnby to also function on mobile. And while I haven't built a mobile app just yet, I have done what I can to make Lurnby as accessible on mobile as possible.

In this video I show how I set up Lurnby on mobile and how I add content via email.

If you read on the phone often, then consider giving Lurnby a try. I do what I can to make it simpler for people to get more out of their reading with minimal effort.

Check out for more info or message me directly, I'm happy to tell you what it's all about!

May 11, 2021 Lost my first (only) paying customer

Today I checked my Patreon page and found that my supporter count was down to 0. Bit of a sad moment. I'd had $4/month coming in for 5 months. Not much of course, and still putting me at a negative considering my costs. But it was meaningful.

But it's fine. Because in that same time, I've gotten real people to take a look at what I've made and sign up. Better yet, I've got some people who are actually actively using my product.

Knowing that I'm slowly moving in the right direction and slowly discovering who my customers are makes me feel way more confident about my whole journey.

May 4, 2021 Added Bookmarks

It's such a crazy feeling for me to think about how far I've come in my personal coding journey. Before I started working on Lurnby, the only coding I knew was super basic html and super hacky css. Now I'm able to imagine and release a whole feature in just a days work.

Some of the people using Lurnby had already expressed a desire to be able to easily navigate within articles in Lurnby. They wanted to be able to go back and forth as they reference certain sections and reread certain passages.

Others had just encountered glitches where the app lost their reading progress because of how IOS takes you to the top of a page with a single click.

I always like to let feedback sit for a bit and give my brain some time to think through the problem area consciously and subconsciously. This time it sat long enough and the "bug" and "request" synergized and made me realize that bookmarks were a great way to address both situations.

A day's work later - Lurnby now has bookmarks.

It doesn't feel big, but when I think back to where I was a year ago, it's huge. :D

April 28, 2021 Added Highlight Exports

I think it's extremely important to think about information flows in and out of Lurnby. Lurnby is all about helping people learn better, and one of the ways to do that is by removing friction.

I want people to interact with what they're reading and be active. That's why I offer multiple ways to get content in there. If it's in the system already, you have one less barrier to your learning.

But equally important is getting information out. Learning isn't just about reading, highlighting, and organizing - it's also about transforming, synthesizing, and playing. You have to work with that info, share it, recombine it, reword it, etc.

And much of that process already happens in other tools that people love to use like Notion, or Roam, or Google Docs, etc. Lurnby is about effective learning, not about lock in. I don't want to own your knowledge, I want to help you build it.

So super pleased to finally get this feature built and released!

April 19, 2021 Made a demo video

Created a demo video of all of the features. The app is kind of hard to get started with and to better help with sharing all of the different things that you can do, I thought it would be helpful to summarize everything in a video with all of the features to date.

April 12, 2021 Added add by email functionality to Lurnby

I spent the weekend adding a new feature to Lurnby.

I've long wanted an easier way to get my email newsletters into Lurnby so that I can start to connect ideas from them with ideas from the books I'm reading. And have an easier way to review and remember them.

Now it's possible by forwarding your newsletters to your Lurnby account.

This also makes it much easier to add articles from the web to Lurnby if you're on mobile.

Simple things, but simple things are often super powerful.

March 25, 2021 Added Spaced Repetition for Highlights

I'm taking my sweet time with Lurnby for sure, but I'm moving forward all the time. I have a lot of things that I want to change, but at the same time, I need to keep building out the functions I want so that I can learn sooner what works and what doesn't.

As always, I'm not positive this is the perfect experience, but I'm quite pleased that version 1 of spaced repetition for highlights now exists.

Definitely something I've looked forward to for a long time.

Here's a video of how it works!

November 29, 2020 Added notes function to reading experience

This was a bit of an obvious feature, but it took me a while to realize it.

I had known that reading while taking notes was a common experience for a lot of people but I believed that it was important to use my existing highlighting feature for that.

Luckily, once I got to beta I started to actively use my tool myself as the first beta tester. This helped me to really put Lurnby to use and start to uncover challenges in the user experience.

One of these was the issue of note taking. I had increasingly started to feel frustrated by wanting to write something down, but not wanting to highlight anything as that would create extra data.

In talking to some people who fit my audience, they mentioned to me how they read with a google doc to the side. And then it finally clicked for me.

I had known about reading with a notebook to the side - as I had also done that repeatedly, but it took the combination of testing the system myself and then hearing about someone else's practice for it to click in my head.

I spent the next 4 days thinking about how I could quickly prototype that experience and realized that for the most part, I had all the necessary structure already. I just needed to add in a WYSIWYG editor and expose it in the browser.

1 full day of work and some hours spread out over 3 days - and boom - it's live.

I think it will make a qualitative difference to the user experience. At least to my own.

November 25, 2020 First paying customer!

Haaaaaa. I did not think that this would really happen. But wow. What a feeling. I set up a pay-what-you-think-it's-worth patreon scheme for lurnby and got my first paying subscriber for $5/month today.

Feeling humbled.

I had finally got up earlier this week and started sharing it on facebook and on linkedin. Even went back to some old posts that I made in other groups last month and dropped a note in the comments that I had finally got that website back.

One of the people I spoke with a month back just signed up.

Touches are important. Reminders are important. And putting yourself out there are important :D


I'm a lazy person but I wanted to optimize how I learned. I couldn't find any tools that made it easy to learn more effectively in a way that supported a multitude of methods. So I thought I would scratch my own itch.