Tag Archive

The Anti-Magic Principle

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
The Anti-Magic Principle

Being a fan of overly provocative titles, I was tempted to title this “If-Statements Considered Harmful”. Meaning that it’s so tempting to add little bits of intelligence to your app to make it do the sensible thing in different circumstances. And that’s usually perfectly correct but the Anti-Magic Principle... »

How To Write Functional Specs

Thursday, March 12th, 2020
How To Write Functional Specs

We’re assuming here that you’re already conceptually on board with writing specs. If you’re skeptical, Joel Spolsky will set you straight! Here’s my own mini-pitch for specs: Writing... »

The Startup Egg-Basket Principle

Friday, February 28th, 2020
The Startup Egg-Basket Principle

The startup egg-basket principle is: put all your eggs in one basket. Be laser-focused on the one thing you’re best at. If you’re scrambling for survival, focus only on the one most promising thing for making the startup sustainable. For example, most startups should focus exclusively on their premium plans and not have a free plan. So much... »

Dogfood Binge

Thursday, October 10th, 2019
Dogfood Binge

UPDATE 2021:We’re pausing (most of) these dogfood bounties! We still like them in theory but it turns out we all derail often enough that the logistics of getting money from us to users is more than we can keep up with! We do personally enter our personal credit cards in Beeminder and get charged money like... »

Pareto Dominating The Pledge Cap UI For Goal Creation

Friday, August 9th, 2019
Pareto Dominating The Pledge Cap UI For Goal Creation

This is part 3 of a 3-part blog series! Previously we defined Pareto dominance and what that means for software, and then we made our case for and committed to the »

The Pareto Dominance Principle for Apps and Websites

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
The Pareto Dominance Principle for Apps and Websites

This is part 2 in a 3-part series. Part 1 defined Pareto dominance and Pareto-efficient software. Part 3... »

How You Talk Yourself Out Of Reporting A Bug

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
How You Talk Yourself Out Of Reporting A Bug

It’s funny how universal it is for users (including programmers, including myself) to gravitate so strongly to “it’s probably just me / my crappy phone / my timezone / me not reading the webcopy / me not being deserving of love or working software / etc”. It might be an impulse to be kind and not... »

Quantified Self Talk: Tracking My Personal Reliability

Friday, April 12th, 2019
Quantified Self Talk: Tracking My Personal Reliability

On 2018-09-22 I gave a talk at the Quantified Self conference. This is that talk. You can also see an actual recording of it. I got a lot of encouragement afterwards... »

Accountability Partners and Soft Accountability

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019
Accountability Partners and Soft Accountability

Malcolm Ocean has been on both sides of the accountability relationship. Among the many roles he’s played is professional accountability provider: initially as Beeminder’s beekeeper, and now also independently with people who use his... »