Sick Day

Blaaargh. I won’t go into the grisly details, but I’ve got a virus (a biological one) and I’m feeling crappy. Brain’s running Vista, that kind of thing. I’m not working. So, let’s write a post and see if I can still put thoughts together coherently.

Some of you might have noticed that Y Combinator’s winter application is open. I didn’t, until two days ago. I read somewhere that it opened in October. It opens in late August and ends in mid October. Surprise!

But it’s a good thing I didn’t apply earlier. Why? Because tinypapers has been done before, elegantly, and I only found that out recently too.

I had heard of Evernote, but had taken a look at their site blurb and decided they were targeted towards bigger, businessy stuff like PDFs and reports, not tinypapers’ everyday stuff. But as I listed them as a competitor while I filled out the YC app, I thought, “Wow, it’s a huge oversight in my research that I haven’t installed that app on my phone and tried it out.”

So I did. It’s beautiful. It’s designed a bit differently from tinypapers, but I think it might be a better design. I’m not going to reinvent their wheel when there are lots of other wheels out there that need it.

I had mixed feelings about this discovery at first. I saved my YC app and put it away for the night, deciding to deal with my conflicting emotions the next day. But when I came back to the situation, I realized I wasn’t really upset; I just kind of thought I should be. I probably would have been if I’d been working on tinypapers recently, but it’s been long enough that I’m more detached from the project and can evaluate it more objectively.

But most startups change their idea. I knew this and kind of had the idea in the back of my mind that that might happen. I’m still glad of the time I spent on tinypapers, because it taught me a lot about programming.

I applied to YC with my job site idea. I also suggested in the application that I could make the todo list software Paul Graham requested in this essay, because I think it sounds like a fun thing to work on. I didn’t make it the main idea I applied with, for a few reasons. I don’t feel that I understand the problem PG wants solved well enough, as he put it in a list of ambitious ideas and todo list software does not sound that ambitious to me. I’m sure I could learn, but then I might fall into the trap of just listening to PG tell me what to build, and I’d rather listen to a lot of customers than one guy whose use cases are quite a bit different than average. Also, it’d look a bit like I was just picking that idea to get PG’s approval.

I still don’t want to work alone, and I still haven’t found a cofounder. I don’t think I will in Davenport, although I’m keeping my eyes open. It’s awfully hard around here to find people willing to start startups. It’s not an option that occurs to people around here, and it really sounds like a long shot. Well, it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. I expect I’ll have better luck in Kansas City.

Anyway, I applied. I haven’t made the 1-minute video they requested yet, but I can edit the application for another six days, and I’m going to make the video after I regain the ability to pronounce the letter n.

I’m still buried in schoolwork, which is probably why I got this inconvenient bug (stress). But work is settling down. A hurdle of sorts got jumped and my supervisor/mentor/coworker/whatever he is isn’t being quite so competitive and antagonistic as he was before. If I’d been working much faster or hadn’t gone on my Kansas City trip, some stuff might have blown up on me. It’s complicated.

I’m almost sort of relieved someone has done tinypapers. I had some funny doubts about the idea. For one thing, everyone I pitched it to enthusiastically told me it was a great idea. That’s actually not so great; it means you’re not innovating hard enough. For another, it seemed easy to copy. For another, I read somewhat recently that Kivy as a framework was actually pretty slow performance-wise even though it’s a great tool in terms of programmer time/effort, and there is a point at which that tradeoff stops being a good deal.

The job site is something I personally want. It’s the startup I’d ask someone else to build. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I want to fix it, because it’s royally messed up as it is now.

I’m gonna nap now. I’m exhausted.


One thought on “Sick Day

  1. The ‘to do’ list thing is interesting. I think Trello and Slack actually do think they are replacing email!

    Looking forward to hearing progress on your job site


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