Weekly Update #23: (Formally) Wrapping Up

This is a summary of my sabbatical's development for the week of July 11th, 2020 to July 18th, 2020.

Goals from last week

  • [❓] Start applying to jobs and see whether I can buy myself some more financial runway.

What I got done this week

  • [👉] Start applying to jobs and see whether I can buy myself some more financial runway (filed something like ~30-ish job applications?)

When this year started off, I had originally scheduled my sabbatical to end on July 15th. I might still continue working on my own projects now that I have some understanding of what to do / what not to do, but I think it'll be a bit more multi-disciplinary than continuing to focus on TinyDev exclusively (which was the reason for filing this progress updates in the first place), and I might be a bit more lax in filing updates here, shifting more towards my hourly journal instead.


  • Weeks to launch (primary KPI): ? (1 week after product development begins)
  • Users talked to total: 0

RescueTime statistics

  • 59h 53m (37% productive, 10% decrease from previous week)
    • 24h 24m “utilities”
    • 8h 18m “software development”
    • 7h 49m “communication & scheduling”
    • 7h 17m “uncategorized”
    • 6h 59m “news & opinion”

iPhone screen time (assumed all unproductive)

  • Total: 19h 39m
  • Average: 2h 48m
  • Performance: 20% decrease from last week

Hourly journal


Things I've learned this week

  • The end looks a lot more different than I had previously imagined. I had originally planned to create and ship up to three different products (a habit tracker, a password auto-rotation tool to tie into Bitwarden, and a digital Rolodex to keep track of friends and professional contacts) on top of TinyDev (which evolved in requirements from “a CRM for software engineers” to “A simple, on-prem deployable version of Firebase”).

    Instead, I have some amount of unshipped code for TinyDev, plans for a database-backed spreadsheet app (maybe for data-driven integration tests) and a consulting agency, and a smattering of other projects besides. Lots of actionables, and few deliverables.

    Of course, a sabbatical is more of a learning experience than a product development experience, and to this end, I think it has some amount of value. I think it's harder to get from 0% to 10% progress than the 10% to 90% (with the hardest part being 90% to 100%), and so I appreciated getting started with network engineering and devops.

    I think at times I failed to appreciate just how far I've come. Before, I used to manually configure my frontends, and use the same global development environment. Nowadays, I can ship an entire website frontend in under one hour, because I have Dockerized my development environment and written my infrastructure in CloudFormation templates. I've also learned how to use “real” webapp backend frameworks like Django and ship them to Heroku successfully, which should reduce the time-to-ship for any SaaS app I need to build in the future.

  • I'm not sure whether my BATNA is materially affected. When I'm talking to companies, the response to what I've been doing is something like “great but what else do you have” or “cool” or “no we're not interested”. I'm not terribly surprised, I don't have too much in the form of deliverables and metrics (MRR, MAU, etc.), and companies only care about people who can ship. I am a little disappointed that paradoxically I had planned to fail in many endeavors (such as shipping), and yet not fail as gracefully as I had previously wanted.

It is what it is.

This isn't the end for TinyDev or FormDeploy or Paint Creek Software (or at least I keep telling myself that). I signed a contract-to-hire agreement for three months where I'm working part-time, and so I should have four days to myself (including weekends) to work on my own material.

Subscribe to my mailing list