Forgive me. It’s been more than two weeks since my last confession.

I said this would be the unvarnished story, as I went. But, to be honest… I’ve fallen into the same trap I’ve described elsewhere of waiting until the update could be more positive.

As always no news is typically not good news. Below are many of the same excuses I gave a few weeks ago. However hopefully there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

I continue to feel a little stalled, frustratingly close to the finish line.

All but two of the features that I targeted for the initial launch when I mapped this out a few months ago are now done.

One of those outstanding features is the ability to organise your reports into sections. When it works it will look like this:

Report Sections

The main complexity here is sorting, as this change means we now need to support drag-and-drop between sections. The JavaScript library that we’d previously used for this has turned out to be flakey - one of the random bugs that has been reported by some beta testers is reports spontaneously sorting themselves into alphabetical order when they drag-and-drop metrics. So, we’ve also taken the opportunity to swap that out for a replacement that seems more robust. But there is still more work to do on this.

The other incomplete feature is a sign-on process. That feels must-have. 😱

I’ve continued to be really distracted, which is to say I’ve prioritised other things. Unfortunately over the last month or so I’ve also not had as much time from the other developers I’ve been working with, and trying to do everything myself has exposed the limits of my technical ability. That has been really frustrating. I wish I was better.

Up until now we’ve been focussed on getting everything to work, rather than premature optimisation. From previous experience, that’s nearly always the right approach in this sort of situation - until you launch the utility of what you’ve built is still zero.

But there are some areas of the app that are unacceptably slow. That’s made me reluctant to add too many more users until that was fixed.

Thanks to Devon, I do have a neat “loading” animation that I’m really pleased with, but seeing it too often or for too long quickly gets tiring.

I’m pleased to say we’ve made some great progress on this in the last week. There is still some obvious improvements we can make, but this is a great start and gets me much closer to being comfortable expanding the beta to a bunch more people in the next couple of weeks.

Also in the last few days I have made some good progress on a marketing site. The goal here is just a one page site (for now) that explains the features and benefits. And pricing!

Here is a sneak peek:

Marketing Site

I’ve been testing the wording on a few people, and the bits that are working are pretty immediately obvious from that. I’m not going to have enough time to do too many cycles on this pre-launch, so the plan is to get it up very shortly and then continue to iterate.

I’ve also been negligent of keeping in touch with all of the people who have registered an interest in getting early access (as I type there are ~200 people on that list, which is encouraging). So, in the next week I’m going to focus more on what I can do for them ahead of any further posts here.

Finally, and most importantly, I’ve been paying close attention to those people who are already signed up and using the tool.

This has continued to be really difficult, as the feedback I’m getting is right across the spectrum - some love it, seem to get it right away and are already using it just as I imagined people might; others have struggled to get started at all (despite specifically reaching out and asking to be on the beta) and have tended to go quiet.

So, I’m really unsure what to make of this. I have to admit, it doesn’t feel positive.

tl;dr Despite all of the above, I’m as determined as ever to get this thing launched, so I can finally say if what I’m building is just interesting to me or could be something that a big-enough group of other people might find useful too.

Either way, I’ll let you know how it goes.