Welcome to my monthly… eh, weekly update. Sorry, I fell into the hustle trap and lost focus on the bigger plan. I coded a lot, met great people, and changed plans again. DevOps Metrics will be released this year with a cut scope. So, you can use it already, and I can develop the product further with your feedback. Read more in the following sections of my weekly update on bootstrapping a SaaS offering.
Last time I wrote about the finished GitHub integration. I underestimated the effort to integrate it into the analysis flows of DevOps Metrics and, far more critical, the onboarding and account management. Furthermore, I crunched out an API to support my freelancer, who also built significant parts of the frontend integration.
The freelancer I partnered up with had some more hours available for me, so he delivered a simple prototype version of a Jira integration. I adjusted the integration code infrastructure in the backend to quickly hook up other issue systems.
It fetches the data from the backend. After all the backend integration work, it is a relief to see some numbers and charts moving in the browser. The onboarding and proper account management are still in progress.
Things I don’t want to build again: signups, login pages, and corresponding email flows. Also, all the troubles around OAuth2. DevOps Metrics uses Auth0 for its user management.
Building the product I have in mind takes time, a lot of time. Building without users on it is a bad idea. So, what is the dimension I can turn the knob on when time and quality are fixed?
I plan to release DevOps Metrics as a public beta with parts of the metrics and features. The initial goal was to do this end of October. A more realistic goal is this year.
Yes, that’s what I do right now. And if you are one of my early potential customers: thank you for trusting in me, and please don’t go away after this honesty.
I sincerely believe in this as part of my validation for DevOps Metrics as a product. If no one wants to use it, why even built it?
I met so many interesting people. In my calendar, I counted 2-3 meetings per week for the last month. It was intense. I am more introverted when meeting new people. So, I need some time for evaluation and thinking afterward. To give you an idea, these people were:
- fellow bootstrappers
- an AWS engineering manager (and former bootstrapper), a very cool guy
- a co-founder of a big B2B SaaS company
My intention here is to learn from others and hopefully also to share some learnings.
I call it the hustle trap. In stressful situations, I tend to work more crazy hours. It is not healthy.
Because my initial plans to decrease my time on consulting gigs last Summer did not work out, I paid a freelancer to support me. Having another person working 20-30 hours per week on DevOps Metrics caused more work for me than expected. I didn’t want to block him. I fell into unhealthy habits of working from 9 to 9 for six days a week. That’s neither healthy nor sustainable.
I stopped it and will release the public beta later than the end of October.
Before starting this journey with you together, I never imagined all the opportunities and great connections I would make. I am grateful for this. Getting advice from industry experts and talking about possible collaborations with more prominent companies - all not possible by building in my safe cave.
It also defocussed me a bit. Hence, my time is limited.
That’s what I learned from meeting a lot of people with experience in the B2B field. Their advice was crystal clear: don’t do it! I cannot serve on-premise customers properly, or it will be so expensive that it is not attractive for customers given the current state of the product. It will be a distraction from my intention to build a self-service SaaS.
If I have a bad day, I worry that all my efforts are not worth it because competitors are bigger and shinier than me.
There is an exciting aspect to this, and I tend to forget it: I am building this because I am passionate about creating a better future for engineering teams and their managers. DevOps Metrics is my first attempt to achieve this. This mission is broad. I feel at home in the problem space and work with the audience. Probably you are part of it.
Furthermore, they cannot copy my personal brand. That is an unfair advantage. And it is a strong one. You can always trust in my honest intention to help you and your teams.
For me, this here is not just a side project. I mean it seriously.
In the coffee kitchen, we chat about interesting and funny stuff like you would be a co-worker.
One of the founders of Indie Hackers wrote about the infinite game idea and connected it to bootstrapping a business: Infinite Entrepreneurship The main ideas come down to habit vs. goal orientation, and what you value more. And the comparison between bootstrapped and VC-financed businesses.
In this tweet, a beneficial mapping activity for teams is described, and you can apply it for yourself as well. You will see how you spent your time. Afterward, you should ask, am I spending the time appropriately to my values and my goals?
not a fan of tracking time— John Cutler (@johncutlefish) October 9, 2021
but as a team experiment for a week or two, you get nuggets like this...it doesn't need to be perfect to get good insights pic.twitter.com/WYCuhzZ1tz
My plan last time was crashed by more conversations, other people’s advice, and my adaptation to go live with a cut scope. So, I will not pretend a lot this time.
My focus is on finishing the connection between frontend and backend, adding the last missing pieces for the analytics part, and working on all rough edges to simplify onboarding and payment.
See you soon.