Making stuff in the down time

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 5, 2020, 1:12 PM | comments: 0

The last two weeks were kind of like a forced vacation (I know, poor me). With the holidays falling on Wednesdays, I took the Mondays off as well, but in many ways I effectively took most of the two weeks off because few others were working. I did have some HR stuff, documentation and writing to do, but I probably put in at most 20 hours between the four "work" days. This caused me some anxiety, because as is often the case around the new year, you're setting goals and agendas for the coming year, and I couldn't really do that work. It's not really even that we have unlimited PTO, because companies that accrue it often force you to use it at the end of the year anyway.

I was able to focus some of that time into relaxation (and anxiety mitigation), including a nice little party on New Year's Eve that involved some nerds, sparklers, lasers and a fog machine. Outside of that, I poured some energy into my hosted forum project, and got a lot done. The software part is like 95% done, which is to say I can take money and make it work right now. That's exciting. The harder part is that there's a lot of polish and selling to do, which is frankly harder than writing code. I wrote a ton of documentation, and that's in good shape, but no real marketing piece just yet. I also have to write some boilerplate privacy policy and terms, which is even more boring. Once I get that all wrapped up, maybe next weekend, I'll advertise it and see what happens.

As I've said before, I'm looking for gravy income, mostly. If I can score 10 recurring customers before the end of the year, that would make me happy. Of course, I wouldn't shy away from 100 either, but that would create some interesting problems. The real intent though is just to prove that I can build something from scratch that's useful. I plan to move the PointBuzz forums into the system at some point, which will be great because it will allow us to keep the forums current and decouple them from the rest of the site, so they can change independently.

There's something deeply satisfying about sitting behind a computer that you built, writing code that does useful things (including collect money), automating the deployment and instrumentation of it all. Sure, you get this working in a team at work, but there's something different about doing it yourself, for fun. I guess some people build furniture or work on antique cars, but I make software.

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