Flailing around

March 2024 Retrospective

I’ve been flailing around for the past few days, trying to sink my teeth into my next big project but feeling a bit “meh” about everything. Coincidentally, it’s also the turnover of the month. That means it’s time for a retro!

Last Month

Last month I spent about 65% of my time on Pegasus. Looking at the data that seems fine. I did a little more personal admin and client work than normal.

March 2024 Time

Time breakdown for March, 2024

In terms of revenue, it was a “down” month for Pegasus and me, and I don’t have a clear explanation for that. One possibility is that something changed that made things worse in March. Another explanation is that February was an anomalously good month (it was).

Rationally, I know there are ups and downs with a one-time-sale product—especially one with as high a price point as Pegasus, where a small number of sales can make a difference of thousands of dollars in any given month.

Emotionally, my monkey brain is in full-on panic mode. I do my best to shut that voice out.

As for my goals, on paper, they went pretty well:

Ship a Pegasus release with an experimental PoC showcasing a decoupled front end.

Grade: A.

I did manage to ship the Pegasus release with the decoupled front end a few days ago. You can read about it here.

More importantly, I learned a ton about this model for building apps, and have a much clearer picture of what it looks like and how Pegasus might better support it in the future.

Unfortunately, so far, the release hasn’t made much of a splash, though a handful of people have told me they’re excited about it.

Publish at least four screencasts showcasing myself building a new Pegasus app.

Grade: B.

If you recall, last month I decided to build a new app to showcase Pegasus, and planned to release one screencast a week of myself building it.

I did hit my goal of releasing at least a screencast a week, ending up with a total of six on the month. So in terms of the letter of the goal I’d say that’s an “A”. But it doesn’t feel that way.

One reason is that reception to the videos has been so-so. Views started off pretty solid1 but have tapered off in the recent episodes. This seems like a signal that this content isn’t that interesting to most people. Perhaps especially the further along a project you are?

YouTube Views

The views for my latest YouTube series form a perfect downwards trendline over time.

One thing I realized is that a lot of the work of building an app on top of Pegasus is kinda boring and very specific. It involves things like refactoring data models, debugging library issues, writing tests, and all these things that just aren’t that interesting to see someone do. I believe there are nuggets of gold in those videos, but they are spread out among vast fields of dirt, and you have to really hunt and dig to find them (sorry for taking the analogy so far).

What I like about the livestream model of just working on the project and publishing the result is that it’s easy for me. But, “easy for me” does not necessarily mean “useful for anyone else.”2 Probably what that means is that I should stop the livestreaming-everything approach and try to just pull out those useful nuggets and share those? Or share nothing, but I’m still pretty bullish on YouTube as a marketing channel…

The other goal of this project was to create a new revenue stream. I thought that if I built something sufficiently useful that people might be willing to pay for access to the codebase.

Is this idea viable?

The short answer is that I don’t know. But! There is an easy way to find that out—at least with some degree of accuracy. Which is, of course, to try and sell the codebase!

Taking a step back—one of the concerns I have with this project is that I’ll end up investing a ton of time into building this new app to showcase Pegasus, and somewhere along the way I’ll forget that the goal was showcasing Pegasus and get caught up in building the app for its own sake. In other words, that I’ll dump a ton of wasted time into this app when I never really intended to build/launch/market a fully-polished thing in the first place.

But, if the goal is instead to test this new income stream idea, then I should be testing whether there is any actual interest among Pegasus users in purchasing the codebase. And of course the easiest way to do that is to try it!

Ok! So, to summarize my updated path forwards:

  1. I will stop publishing videos of myself building this entire app, and instead (hopefully) try to publish videos that have a higher “useful content to noise” ratio. Kind of like a highlight reel?
  2. I should try to sell the codebase as soon as possible.

And, if #2 doesn’t work out, I can quickly shut down the project and focus on other things. Which seems like a good plan.

Next Month Goals

Two things:

  1. Make it possible to buy the codebase for the new translation app.
  2. Write—and ideally publish—a write up on the React front end architecture I landed on in Pegasus.


  1. Which, for me, means a few hundred views per video. I’m not quitting my coding career to become a YouTuber anytime soon. 

  2. Ironically, you could say the same thing about these retros. In other words, this process you are reading right now (hi!) is the “unfiltered live-coding” equivalent of my strategic decision-making process surrounding my businesses. So if you’re reading this thinking “this content could be much better”—I agree, but that’s not the point.