Recalibrating Expectations

January 2019 Retrospective


From most measurable perspectives January was a pretty rough month. Place Card Me’s revenue tanked. Progress on my Django SaaS Template crept along at a snail’s pace. I failed at most of my goals.

And yet, I’m not feeling bad.

And I think that’s because what I realized this month is that my expectations for January were completely unrealistic.

It turns out I just don’t have as much work-time as I expected to. And it turns out that building a high-quality, generic starter project for a SaaS is pretty darn hard.

Good to figure these things out now and recalibrate accordingly—so that’s what I’ve done.

Alright, let’s get into it.


Jan 2019 Time

Time breakdown for January 2019

January was another abbreviated month with only 110 “productive” hours logged (I’m not counting exercise). Of those, about 60% went to Dimagi, 30% went to personal projects, and the rest was contracting and admin.

The first couple weeks were truncated due to vacation, sickness, and child care. The last two weeks were more representative of how I expect my steady state to look, and those had about 32 hours of productive work each, with about a third of that time going to personal projects.

Overall this month has shown me that I’m not likely to be able to work 40-hour weeks in my current situation. Having 8 hours of not-having-to-watch-a-baby time per day actually looks more like 6 or 7 productive hours once you factor in lunch, exercise, and miscellaneous surprises that always seem to pop up.

So that seems like a neccessary adjustment I need to make—or we need to figure out a way to have more baby-free time—which, oddly, I’m not even sure I want. Turns out I like hanging out with this kid. Who knew?


Project Revenue Monthly Change
Place Card Me $965 -57%
Chat Stats $170 +88%
Build With Django $0 -
Total $1135 -52%

Place Card Me had it’s annual seasonal tailspin which took a steamy dump all over my revenue numbers. You can read more details below, but all-in-all it’s about what I expected and I’m still feeling optimistic—or at least even-keeled—about it.

Also surprisingly, Chat Stats had a banner month!

January revenue was more than 50% higher than any previous month in the site’s short history. I don’t know if this is an anomaly or it reaching some kind of new plateau, but either way I’ll take it.

I’m still not planning on doing any substantial investment in Chat Stats anytime soon, but if I continue to see growth then I may revisit that down the line.

January Goals

Not my best report card this month:

# Goal Grade
1 Get back to 40-hour weeks by the end of month F
2 Spend 40% of time on personal projects C
3 Overhaul the Place Card Me landing page A
4 Make progress and set a launch date for the Django SaaS Template) C
  1. As mentioned above, I completely failed to hit 40, but with the benefit of hindsight I think this was just a poorly-set target.
  2. This number ended up being much closer to 30% than 40%. I’m hoping that’s anomalous and plan on rolling this goal forwards.
  3. Done! Unfortunately, the new landing page doesn’t seem to be performing any better than the old one, but it was a good excuse to practice my design chops and also dogfood building on top of my Django landing page.
  4. I’ve definitely made progress on the Django template. Sadly, I’ve also realized that it’s a much larger project than I expected, and it’s probably going to take me quite a while to launch it at my current pace. So, my plan is to launch a demo next month, but I’m still not sure when I’ll launch the actual product. Sigh.

February Goals

February goals are largely a continuation of January’s:

  1. Average at least 32-hour weeks for the month (adjusted).
  2. Spend 40% of time on personal projects (continued).
  3. Add support for double-sided cards to Place Card Me
  4. Launch an initial public demo of the Django SaaS Template

Not much to say here. The big one will be getting the demo for the Django template out.


Feels like we’ve settled into our new rhythm. Ro is back to work to work this week and that kind of marks the end of the “we just had a baby” era. Now we dig our heels into the “we are parents” era.

Here’s a picture of me and the little guy exploring the confusingly named “World of Birds”.

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Monkeying around

A post shared by Cory Zue (@czue13) on

Happy February!