Viruses and Lockdowns

March 2020 Retrospective


  • Place Card Me had its worst month in almost two years
  • Pegasus had its best month ever
  • I’m working severely reduced hours due to no longer having child care
  • Coronavirus is dominating everything
  • I’ve started supporting Dimagi more

Curent Status: Locked Down

In my 2019 year in review I noted that because Place Card Me has a one-time sale model, “my revenue could drop to zero almost overnight”.

And I have to admit, that despite writing that I never really thought it would be true. Surely it would slowly trend down over time as a result of some broader change that I could adapt to like a Google algorithm change or an emerging competitor.

What was not anywhere on my list of concerns was “global pandemic causes the entire world to stop meeting up in person, ever.” Whoops.

Place Card Me Revenue Feb-March

Place Card Me’s revenue, late Feb - April 1. The speed of the drop to zero was one of the most interesting things to see.

Thankfully, I’ve diversified a bit.

So while Place Card Me is all-but dead for the foreseeable future, Pegasus is showing signs of sustained promise, and Chat Stats continues doing its thing.

And me?

I’m still adjusting.

Reeling—not from the loss in Place Card Me revenue really, though it’s annoying from a “master plan” perspective—but more from the general existential angst of suddenly feeling like the games I play making money on the Internet are a bit silly. And—as I do sometimes—wondering if I should be doing more with my life.

To that end, I’ve redoubled my own investment in Dimagi—who is doing some great work to support coronavirus relief. I’ve been able to help extend Dimagi’s platform to make it possible to roll out contact-tracing workflows in the US. And now I’m working on making it easier to use the data that’s collected.

Overall, life is kind of just throwing curve balls at all of us right now, and the best we can do is pay attention to our inner voices, adapt, and respond however we can.

Like most people, I’m trying my best. Whatever that means.


Project Profit Monthly Change
Place Card Me $666.23 -41.71%
SaaS Pegasus $1355.22 11.23%
Chat Stats $178.59 19.55%
Total $2200.04 -12.37%

I covered this at the top, but Place Card Me had it’s worst month since May of 2018. And the “social distancing drop” didn’t fully hit until mid-month. So I expect April to be substantially worse (I’m forecasting under $100). Anything past April is just speculation, but I see a long and very slow recovery period till things return to normal.

Thankfully, Pegasus had another good month which has managed to salvage the month from a profit-target perspective. It remains to be seen whether it can keep this up. I’m not counting on it.


March 2020 Time

Time breakdown for March 2020

We’ve lost our child care with the nationwide lockdown in South Africa so my work days now end around 1pm.

So I’m working fewer total hours, and also more hours for Dimagi. Exercise is taking a big hit. For the time being I’m still able to give a decent chunk of time to Pegasus (and hope to continue doing so).

It’s only been one week without child care, so am not so sure what the new normal will be, yet.

Last Month’s Goals

Despite the tumultuous and time-constrained month, I managed to nail both my goals.

# Goal Grade
1 Ship self-service subscriptions in Place Card Me A
2 Port subscriptions back to Pegasus A

Subscriptions launched in Place Card Me early in the month (though I’m not really anticipating anyone signing up anytime soon) and in Pegasus just yesterday.

Weirdest. Launch. Ever.

Product Updates

Place Card Me

Place Card Me has decided to participate with the rest of the world in self-isolation. It has curled up in the fetal position and will remain there until further notice.


I spent basically the whole month porting subscriptions to Pegasus, and it worked out pretty well! I’m more proud of it than anything in Pegasus to date. If Pegasus previously saved people days of time, now I think that number has climbed to weeks.

And despite that I still see an infinite amount of room for additional improvement, the functionality that I was able to ship is really good.

Demoing the Pegasus subscription functionality

That said, I’ve basically decided to forego any kind of marketing push on the subscriptions launch. It just doesn’t feel right to be saying “try out/buy this cool thing I built” in the current social climate.

So instead I’m going to focus my efforts on creating some evergreen content to use as a permanent source of inbound traffic. My immediate goal is to rank #1 on Google for queries related to integrating Django and Stripe. That means I’ll have to make the best thing on the Internet explaining how to do that—which, thankfully, I’m now extremely qualified to do.


Despite my best product tanking, being locked in a small apartment with a toddler, not being able to exercise like I used to, and a whole host of other annoyances, I’m actually doing fine. Good even.

I imagine this is due in part to embracing Stoicism last year and in part to attempting to maintain perspective in these trying times.

I still have a job.

My family is still healthy.

My life is still pretty damn good.

Let’s hope these things continue. 🙏

This Month’s Goals

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have so I’m keeping my goals light this month.

  1. Create the canonical “Django Stripe Integration” content piece
  2. Figure out my Q2 OKRs

The first goal will be a pillar of my long-term Pegasus marketing plan around content and SEO.

The second is for more big-picture thinking and planning, which has suffered a bit as I’ve been pretty heads-down on subscriptions for the better part of the last three months.

I know my 2020 revenue targets probably need to get updated now that Place Card Me is not generating money. I’ve also been neglecting my “explore new stuff” 2020 goals, and the current uncertainty—both in the world and in my life—seems a fitting opportunity to return to those bigger topics.


A few things I enjoyed recently:

  • TV Show: This isn’t at all novel, but holy crap the Tiger King series on Netflix is so, so good. The fact that these characters are all real people is mind-blowing.
  • Book: The Obstacle is the Way. I mentioned Stoicism above, and Ryan Holiday is a good gateway drug into the Stoic school of thought. You probably don’t need to read the whole book as it gets a bit repetitive, but the thesis of turning hardship into opportunity is worth internalizing, as is the general principle of viewing the world through the lens of your own reaction to things that you don’t actually control. I’d recommend reading enough of the book to internalize those concepts, especially given the times we’re living in.

That’s it for the month. Stay safe out there! ♡