Alan: so I've been remote working for,
I left my corporate job
That was, Sun Microsystems,
which obviously don't exist anymore.
Not, not in the way they
Anyway, I guess there's shelf
the shadow of their former self.
So I was, I, I sold the little web
app that I made then, and I worked for
that company for a little bit, but it was
pretty much there was an
office in a cool part of London.
And it was.
want to hang in London,
it was those, the owner of
the company lived
like a few minutes walk away
from the office and it was like
a four person, five person.
And we kind of just
the office if we felt like it.
And so I think from that
an office person.
I just have a, either it's been,
I go in, because I want
some social interactivity or
there's something that we
need to talk about together.
It's just easier,
especially, you know, video
It wasn't really as good or It didn't
really exist in the same way back then.
And there was the, the, the
previous job I had here was through
the, there was the first time
since then that I've actually
been like daily going into an
office and it would took
some getting used to
Alan: And I think that the thing
working is a
to, they have to buy into
it like big time, not
a dipping their toes in and say, well,
know, it's not really working.
You've either got to
commit to it and change
your working practices to,
to take it remote first.
you know, there's gotta be a, a definite
mind, rather than just
happens, whether that's like a hybrid goal
You know, some kind of flexible system,
but it has to be a stated thing that
you want to make work rather than just,
oh, well, it didn't work out right.
Yeah, for sure.
So for now I'm having to commute a
couple of days a week and next week
it's going to be three days a week.
And so, Yeah.
I don't think they are planning to fully
support remote work for now, even, even
though they've had a long time to evaluate
it and to see the effectiveness, because
work has gotten done, you know, everyone's
been working and you know, it hasn't
really made that much of a difference.
And certainly for certain
specifically for certain types
of jobs, so certain roles, right.
That make it super easy to
just do the work remotely.
You, don't have to be in the office,
but they're not even differentiating
that they, they they're throwing a
blanket statement and everyone has
to come into the office eventually.
So, I'm working on that though.
I'm actively looking for a different
role somewhere else and I'm not planning
on staying there for very long time.
Alan: I mean,
Mario: I've been there for a long
time already, so I it's time to move
Alan: you, you know, there's, there's
no one knows that you know what,
that, what will happen kind of thing.
You can make very strong predictions
about how they're dealing
I mean, I,
I, I saw her on the news about, you know,
apple saying that, you know,
it's like, we're, we will not be
becoming a remote first company.
you, it's a strange one because
I guess, you
know, they've just spent all of this
campus, that gorgeous building.
Alan: it, I can't blame them
if I had spent all that on
And I think apple has such a, a, a
distinct culture goal that, that
it's sad in one way That you know,
they, they seem to not be willing
to, to find some
if, if I lived
close, I'd probably want to.
go into that office.
That was probably a a
strong desire to
go there if I was there
because you know, the
facilities and things
are somewhat different, once you've
the flexibility of remote work Even after
it's hybrid or whatever, then it's really
difficult to go back to
thinking that you
have to be in a particular
place at a particular
So many days a week, it's
like, well, I, it always kills
me that I don't
people get things done because
how do they,
I it's, yeah.
When I was going to start to going
into the office again, every day
as a real, real job, I guess.
was, I, I don't know how all of the things
that I was doing, I don't know when I'm
supposed to do them anymore
because they just slot into
natural ebbs and flows of your day.
But to be put on the spot and say, no,
you will be here a particular time to.
It's like, but what if
I don't want to do that?
Or what if it's not the
right time for me to do
It, it felt such a
I guess if you've always
done that that's normal and you don't
question it so much, but when
you've not done it for so
long, and then someone's put
in this position, it's like,
Mario: Yeah, Yeah.
and I can understand if a certain
role requires that you are
physically present at a location.
And I can see apple, for example,
they, they build hardware, right.
They design hardware.
So I can imagine that's, you
know, you can't do all of that
remotely a hundred percent.
You have to be present.
and there's I don't even, know, what,
you know, kind of work really requires
to do that I mean, I can imagine, but,
but I can only imagine that you cannot
be a hundred percent remote if you're,
if your role is, you know, designing
hardware and testing things And working
with hardware, but, but there are certain
roles, That You know, lend
themselves to be remote if you're
just writing software and you're
just, you know, coding all the time.
I mean, why not?
You can be anywhere and
meetings are conducted virtually
anyways, especially nowadays.
we kind of got used to that.
I mean, they're not necessarily optimal.
think I think there's still a lot
of learning to be done with regards
to how we approach online meetings
So but again, that's, that's,
that's one of the things I
want to try and solve with dot
plan or at least provide
an alternative that is,
It offers different types of benefits.
I mean, the, the big goal for for
dot plan for me was to try to try to
reproduce the serendipity
that happens in an office.
And, I think, that was
a big shock for me
about returning to office life
was there's a lot that you
miss by being.
And I didn't realize
that so much before I went back
to it and just people talking
on a phone call and the other
side of the
office, you've you
pick up things and you're
like, are we working with them?
Hold on, who who's
And I should probably be
involved because I know
something about that, but because
you weren't involved with it,
sometimes it's not known, are
you again, if you're
talking to somebody about a technology,
somebody across the other side
of the office is like, hold on.
I've I've I know about that.
And that just
gets lost often in remote work,
because everybody is doing their thing.
And unless it's assigned to
you, or unless it's made explicit that
we're looking into a thing, then
you just don't know about it.
so the previous
spent, like six or seven years
working for remotely, I Three
of the staff at a conference.
And, but the
rest of them that the other 30 something
people I never met, we, I, I never
even spoke to the majority of them.
It was purely text-based
You know, I, I have some
really good friends.
I know it was
probably the best working environment
that I've ever had in terms of trust and
between each other.
But it was, there was a lot
of serendipity lost there because you just
don't know what's going on, unless you
become communicative in a particular way,
you just disappear into the background.
And so th the, the whole, the whole
premise of me starting to up plan was I
want to be able to make it easy for people
to share what they're working on, what's
going on without making
it like formal, you
know, without me writing a report
saying we are thinking about
this thing, and if anybody has
any input, please, that it's
like, well, I'm looking at this.
And then people.
That's interesting to me.
So I wanted to try to
form a different way of that
That's like a in , non direct
Mario: Right, right.
Alan: Non explicit.
So it's, there's still some ways
to go, but it's interesting with
it kind of skipping all over the
But I had a,
We had some communication with
one of the beta users here
in Fukuoka and his explicit,
for wanting to try this out, try using
dot plan was he wasn't, didn't feel
on top of what his stuff we're doing.
and it's like, well, that's exactly
what we're trying to solve it.
I don't want to say
hesitant, but he was somewhat
unconvinced when we started the trial.
He's like, I'm happy to try it
because I want to solve this.
to make this better.
I don't know if what you're doing
is the answer, but I'm happy
to try it, to see what happens.
His big worry was that his
staff wouldn't do this.
You know, it, or they would take
it with you know, begrudgingly
do it rather than buy into it.
And so we were talking to him about a
feature that we're trialing with him
only him because he had a specific
request and I'm like, I'm not sure
if this is part of this needs to be
part of the product in the future,
but I'm willing to give it a go and
see how it fits in.
So it's this small feature
that I added for him.
And it's just behind a
feature flag so he can use it.
And so we said, well, you
know, how is the other thing?
And he's like, oh, that's great.
You know, that.
Almost like not a problem anymore.
I'm more interested in this new feature
and the fact that the dot plan is.
Providing the benefit and it's solving
that problem that he had already.
He's already thinking about the next
And that was, that was
a big like, oh, hold on.
The fact that he's now reliant on
this, the company has kind of accepted
This is just part of the way
they work now was like, oh
He's, it's weird because you now looking
at the next problems and he's
almost like skipping ahead.
Oh, it would be better if
we, if we could do this and
say, yo, hold on.
I've got to convince everybody else at
this first step first.
Mario: Well, that's nice.
It was really like
felt very reassuring to
think that especially someone
who was hesitant and unconvinced to start
off with and especially, it was like,
there's going to be like pulling
teeth, getting my staff to do this,
but they're doing it and they seem to
have so the next step is we're
trying to arrange another meeting
to go in and talk to him in
Hopefully try and get his staff's feedback
as well, because it's, it's great.
If it solves his problem, I want
to know how the staff feel about it now.
That's the next thing
we need to understand.
So it's like, it's great
if he's happy, but I don't
the staff happy as
that's yeah, it felt really good to
just that validation of like,
yeah, of course it's working.
So that was exciting.
That was a good bit of new this news this
Mario: That's awesome.
Can you describe the feature?
Are you at a
Alan: the feature that
that we've built for him.
I mean, it's the,
it's, it's pretty simple.
It's, it's a time tracker.
It's a timecard system.
Japan, I may have mentioned this
before, but Japan has a labor law rule
that if you're running
10 million yen.
If it's an office job, if your
unit learned that less than 10 million yen
per year, a
hundred K or, and you're not a
director level employee then you
have to keep timecards.
I remember you mentioned mentioned that.
Alan: so I mean, it's to stop overwork
and stop people being taken advantage
of in terms of their office hours.
And he said, would they
currently have a complicated system
with like, there's a clocking machine?
There's people making notes of
There's people writing messages
like a slack type thing.
Yeah, I'm starting
work, I'm stopping work.
And he's like this, this takes a lot of
time to aggregate this.
There's gotta be some something you
can, and because the way they're
using dot plant is
think I mentioned this before,
but again, different people seem
to be using it in different ways
and I'm trying to now figure out
what's the quote unquote right way.
There's it works
differently for different people
well in different ways
for different people.
But the way they're doing it is
they're doing a morning and an evening.
Check-in so first thing in the
morning, they say, this is what I'm
going to, this one they plan to do.
And then in the evening,
this is what I've achieved.
I'll come back to an interesting
point about that in a second, but
that's what they're doing
and that works well.
So he's like, well, can't we
just say I'm starting work and
then I'm stopping work
and record those times.
And that gives us a,
Like a recorded list of when
people start and stopped work.
Can we use that?
And I'm like, well,
that you don't necessarily know.
I want to tie
that to an official clock-in
and clock-out, but the certainly
overlap there between the systems.
And I'm like, I, I didn't want
to build I didn't want to build a
time-tracking system to be on that.
That was like the, almost like
the opposite goal of dot plan.
wanted to produce something that
was, that didn't feel formal.
Didn't feel like something you had to do.
It was more of
getting a benefit from it.
But at the same time, but then I
thinking of the aspect,
you know, there's a lot of
you know, recording what you've done as
a productivity and you
know, personal tracking
kind of tool.
know, what's, how long
did I spend on that?
And you know, yourself, you
know, I started to try doing
like, time-blocking just
to try to
control the amount of what I
spent my time doing, because
it's easy to either lose time
on something that isn't important or,
You know, I'll waste time.
Looking at Twitter, right.
or or just
working too much, you know, that's
the other thing as well, you
know, we, we, we've mentioned,
you know, things about just being
able to be aware of how
much time you're spending.
And I, so I kind of got back to this
Came to this realization that it might
be relevant because if you're adding
what you're working on, what you're
doing and what you've achieved, then
being able to correlate this with
some kind of time based system
that could be personal benefits
as well as corporate benefits.
so the socially something I was going
to maybe mention is I'm curious what you
think about how you respond to people's
requests for features, because in this
case, it's, you know, he said,
I'd really like a time-tracking
system as part of this.
And I like this, isn't
what I want to build.
I don't want to build a
clock-in and clock-out system.
You know, this is not how I, I know
remote working doesn't work well, if
I have to plug in at eight 30 in the
morning and clock out at six but at
the same time, the more I thought about
it, I just let it bubble for quite a
long time before agreeing to build it.
I was like, let me think about this.
I don't want to commit before I before
I understand the implications of
this, but I also didn't want to say
no outright, but my first reaction
was no, I'm not building that.
And then before I, you know, that
that was going on in my head as like,
there's no way I'm going to build that.
And so I just said, you
know, let me think about this
And, and it took probably about
a week for me to convince myself
that there might be something in
And again, I don't know if it is,
but I kind of decided that the, the
spending X amount of time, again, a
reasonable, I didn't I didn't want to
just go down a rabbit hole and build
out this fully feature thing, but I
scoped a very tight version of this.
And I'm like, okay, if I built
this, is that useful to you?
He said I'm like, okay.
It's, it's very tightly scoped.
It's not a full-on, you know,
time-tracking, it basically allows
you to start and stop a timer.
And either just a generic timer
or one related to a project that
exists in the system already.
So, you know, dot plan now I'm moving
to, like, the projects has been like a
central part of how the interface works.
And if you're a member of a project,
you can effectively start a timer on a
project and at the time, and that's it.
And it just gives you
a list of your times.
The account owner can see
everybody's times and that's it.
And so we turn that on for him this week.
And so we will find out how useful
that is to him, but just in using
that on my, for myself as well.
I'm like this isn't, it doesn't
feel like it doesn't feel too heavy.
It's super lightweight, just lives
in the, the menu bar at the top.
And I feel like have this extra
quantitative data about myself.
Now, what I've been doing is like,
I can see my, how I, the time I've
spent and it doesn't feel invasive.
It doesn't feel
Like controlling or anything.
It just feels informative for me.
So I think there's something in it
and I don't know what that is yet, but
it's been an interesting experiment to
take somebody's request that I was
not convinced about and S and just
iterate on it and play with it.
And I, I've got like, so many
sketches here of like, okay,
how can I make this work?
That doesn't feel like I'm making
a time tracking system, right.
I'm not, that's not what I'm
doing, but how can I incorporate
those aspects into this and make
it feel part of the same product?
And it's, it's worked out well so far.
I think I say I'm, I'm still
not a hundred percent convinced,
but I'm like 90% convinced.
So I'm curious to know, like,
so say for instance, you know,
someone comes to,
you with Fusioncast and says, you
know, it would be great if it did
like, that's not on my
roadmap at all.
I'm not really interested in doing
What would you do
It's a tricky, it's a tricky
thing to consider those
requests and give them a weight.
Give them relevance.
I think the key thing is I think
you, you touched on that the key
is to have you have an idea of
what your product needs to be.
And some of these requests
may align really nicely with
your, your idea of the product.
And some obviously will not
align, you know, at all.
So I think if there's a way that you
can mold or shape that idea or that
suggestion in a way that it'll, it'll,
integrate into your system in a more
seamless way, then you can do that.
I handle this in a similar way.
I, my first reaction is usually
no, because because I, I have
an idea of what I want to do.
but you know, as long as It's a
request of a feature that is, sort of,
related or tangentially, related to
Alan: not a completely different product.
But it's, it's, it's kind of
just out there a little bit.
It's just a bit beyond the limits of where
you ex what you planned to, do, right.
For example, with the thing with fusion
cast is that it's a recording tool, right?
So I want to stay true to that and
keep my course, in that direction.
And I don't want to deviate too much
from that because I want to take care
of one thing and hopefully do it well.
It's just this one to,
it's a recording tool.
it's not meant for editing.
It's not an editing tool is not,
you know, so I've gotten requests
where, people suggest that maybe, you
know, if they could edit, you know,
Alan: Automatically uploads to like Yeah.
Distribution or something.
I can imagine
And so it's not, It's not
a it's not an editing tool.
So I, unfortunately I
have to, say no to, those.
but there are some other requests where
even if it's not directly related to
recording, but if in some way it enhances
the experience of recording, then,
you know, I can consider that maybe
implemented as suggested or, shape it in
a different way that kind of, Integrates
better with, with my main mission.
and I and I think that's kind of what
you touched on earlier where, okay.
your first reaction
was no, but then, okay.
Let me think about how I can kind of make
it work and, have that thing that feature
bring more value into your core mission,
Alan: I mean, th th that's the
interesting thing about this, you
know, by embracing something that
Not embracing it, but, but giving it
space to, to at least try
to, live I've touched on
something that I think
could become kind of core.
You know, the, the, especially this idea
of you know,
this, this of self of,
of recording, not
just for other people
what I'm doing, but also
having the I mean, even using dot
plan for me, the company of
me is actually useful having
this log of what I was doing last week.
And just seeing
appear in that is
actually very interesting.
you can see your mood changes because,
you know, mood tracking built in as well.
So not just for
From a a
manager company, you
know standpoint, but just
And how am I, doing?
I can almost see the ebbs
and flows in my own work.
You know, how much time did
I spend on each project?
And again, you'll see by
doing this, I,
want to try some visualization of
this, but we can already see the
patterns in the list
of data of hold on.
I was really focused on this
this week are, you
of time and you can, it'll be
do some visualizations on it.
So by seeing that it's not, not,
completely out there, it's actually has
some interesting side effects is paid off.
So I say I'm not
a hundred percent sure that it's going to
exist in it's in the same format to
this right now, but I'm becoming more
convinced that it is
part of what dot plan is
And I think the.
and again, when I started on
dot plan, I had a a reasonably
strong idea of what I thought the
And it's really interesting to see
how it's because it's I guess in
some ways it's, it's not a tightly
defined, I it's probably
I think I've said this before as well.
wrong project to do as an Indi, like a
You know, it should be super nice like
tightly scoped something that, you know,
it's, it has hard edges.
But by kind of approaching something
that is fuzzy and I've
got an idea in this space,
isn't strongly defined and typed
and it doesn't have hard ideas.
It's it, it has potentially long tendrils
reaching out into other
It makes it
It makes it tricky.
But it also feels super
rewarding to see where it goes
because it's, it's, it's growing.
I mean, the fact that, you
know, projects, weren't an
integral part of the, the, my original
plan and it's become kind of core
just by seeing how people use it
and how I use it.
And you can see these patterns coming out.
And again, if I was a different
type of person, I probably could have
done this before I started coding.
I mean, this is, you
know, I guess what service designers
and user experience designers do, right?
You know, this, all of this
would have been prototyped out and kind
of worked with clients.
And, but the easiest way for me
to, to do and learn is to write
code, you know, I can write code
easy, then I can draw on Figma or
easier than you know, doing, interviewing
clients with prototypes and like, well, I
can build it for you and see how you use
it as the easiest way of learning for me.
I am sure other people will work
differently, but it's been a,
an interesting journey so far.
And it's really interesting to
see it's becoming clearer to me.
Well, what it is, even though
my initial is not far, but
it's different from my original
It feels now
it is becoming much more in focus
and now it's just a matter of like,
you know, getting it perfectly in
focus and, and building it out and
building stuff, which I now know now
no needs building when, before I wasn't
even aware that it needed to exist,
And it sounds like you, you, in
analyzing the request and how the
feature would work, you kind of broke
it down to parts that, oh no, not
parts, but you shaped it down to a way
that it would work with what you have,
what your, the rest of your product.
So it's not, so it doesn't
become a whole other product.
It's just an added feature
that works well with the main
purpose of your, of your product.
And I think that was
I also want
buy by not committing to building a
on time tracking system,
but what's the what does a
time tracking system look like
in the context of dot plan?
And, and it did take,
Took a good few weeks for
to figure that out, even at just a
high level, you know, sketch view.
And then seeing it actually come in and
be there and it
It's, it's nice.
It feels good.
So I'm, I'm kind of interested to see
works out just as a yeah.
It's, it's been an interesting
experiment for sure.
Sounds like it.
Alan: Anyway, how's your
what's been going on there.
Mario: So Haven't had any
time to work on product.
I need to, I think I talked
about this last time.
I'm still working on other things
besides the product itself.
I'm getting a little impatient
and I need to get back to
working on the product itself.
And so I think I'm going to be doing that,
this week next week, the latest, I've
been focusing on the marketing website.
I got some feedback from some folks
And it was good feedback to, improve
the marketing site improve the message.
so I've been working on that
and one of those things was.
Include a video, which
I was planning to do.
And we talked about that so,
I finally spent some time
recording a video for that.
it's just a quick demo of how
fusioncast works from logging in
creating a podcast entry, creating
a session, joining a session, have
someone else a guest join and.
Just showcase real quick, you,
know, backup, recording, progress,
local recording in progress.
It's uploading at the
same time And that's it.
And, just showing the recordings
I get generated from that quick
session, you know, It's about
three and a half minutes or so.
I'm still editing a few
parts here and there.
It's almost ready to go.
And as soon as I finish it I'm going to
update the website with that, And I have
data to copy a little bit on the website.
a little bit of styling as well,
just to make it a little more, alive.
One of the, yeah, one of the feedback
that I got was that it was a little
too grayish you know, kind of
Alan: that was good.
That was going to be my only
response to it is yeah, it, it needs a
bit of color and that needs to look a
I mean, it's.
Especially with something like
a podcast that you don't
want to it to feel like a
a boring corporate thing, right?
The people who are recording podcasts
a bit more lively And, upbeat, right?
So you want to fall
into match that, right.
So I did add a little
bit of more color to it.
Not, not, yeah, not a whole lot, but
Alan: not being a designer at
color is, I mean, that's one of
the reasons DotPlan is blue and
purple is it's difficult to make a
All of a sudden everything's indigo.
And I experimented briefly with trying
to do a dark theme and I'm like,
okay, I need to learn a few things
before I venture into that world.
It's without having any design background
it's it's very easy to screw up with
a color, right.
Dark, dark mode presents a unique
challenges and I've experimented with
that a little bit with my own website.
I created a dark theme.
if your system is in dark mode,
then my site renders in dark mode,
but it's a really simple design.
I don't, I didn't use that much color.
And kept it really simple
because it is challenging to
have color on a dark mode, a
Alan: Yeah, exactly.
And it's even, even some
of the big sites, you know,
like I mean, get to a bar now
has a dark mode and stuff and
some things work well and other
things you're like, nah, it
feels just feels off, right?
They, sometimes they use,
these sort of neon colors on
dark mode on dark themes and,
it doesn't look all that great.
It looks really colorful, but
it's a little too much, you know,
There's a fine life.
that's actually, one of the
things I'm trying to add to a to
dot plan at the moment is, so at
the moment, the only place color
is used outside of the purple
is for your, like the default user icons.
So, you got a little circle.
So I'm trying to add this as
a, an identifier, a way of,
Identifying visually projects from one
another, because projects are
becoming like the, say, like a
core aspect of the, the, of the
check-ins and things now I want
to try to tie colors to those too.
So at the moment
I'm just doing it as
like a I wrote a thing
which basically takes a
string, does a hash, And you
get a a, a hue based on it.
So you can set the saturation and yeah.
Mario: Yeah, oh
Alan: hue, saturation.
Mario: a hue saturation.
and what is it, contrast?
Alan: Maybe something like that.
so so I just vary the hue,
Based on so it always looks ish, right?
Because it doesn't look too stand out.
It's just reasons subtly
enough that it's it
looks colorful, but it doesn't look
too out there and then have it.
So you can
just choose a different one later.
But at the moment I'm
taking the the ID and something
else and creating a hash from it,
To see the to create a hue.
And, and it's nice.
actually suddenly having
a bit of color appear on
in both tags.
Like the, the project view it's suddenly
gives the, it makes
it feel more
And, and it
also, I feel
my boring indigo and
white or rather gray 100,
Background certainly paid off
because the colors all
work, having just colors.
If I'd already
with a strong
opinionated color scheme for the rest
of the project, it would be like, oh my
God, someone just knocked over a box of
But because everything
kind of blend to start off with having
just these little injections
of color, actually, I was
pleasantly surprised how good it
looked and I'm like, okay, this
I feel like, I, I feel like I
planned it, but I didn't it was just.
Color can be tricky and
design as a whole is, is just.
a whole other field, especially for us
Alan: Adam's a refactoring
Mario: I have the book I
haven't gone through most of it.
I only started and did a little bit of
Alan: I read it when I
When he first
So I'd probably go back and reread
it, but it's interesting how
Mario: wait, I'm sorry.
No, I don't, have it.
I was thinking of a
refactoring to collections.
The older book that he wrote,
not you're talking about the UI.
Alan: did, Oh, Okay.
I knew, I don't
Mario: I don't have that one.
Alan: It's highly recommended.
Cause again, I read
when it was, when he first released it And
And I, I,
found it again the other day.
tidying up some file
and I'm like, oh yeah,
I forgot about that.
And, and it's funny how
certain things seem to have, I
have actually learnt it as in
things which he's mentioned.
I'm like, I do that
It just, in terms of there, there was
the, I think it was very early on, simple
thing about just using as opposed to using
texts to as headers and things as
in like, you know, title project,
and then I think using the
colors, weight, and,
And colorize weight and layout to
to almost like state what this is.
And there is a
relation to the
I've been trained to do that a lot
and, and I didn't realize that
doing it, but it, was just reading
You know, I just scanned
through the file when
I found it.
I'm like, ah, I I, apparently
I learned something there.
Mario: you internalized
That just really stuck with
me that like, oh yeah,
I'm labeling everything.
Why am I labeling
gala the fields when it's obvious when you
weight things and you lay things
out properly that you don't need
I that apparently stuck with me.
So I feel as though there's a whole
lot more that I
should review in there and
So it's, it's again, I like the
style of that,
just in terms of the,
Kind of like the,
not cookbook, but a
th there's, there's just
things to learn, not like,
It's not a Woody you know,
like novel, it's say.
Read these things, internalize
them, be a better
That, that, that resonates with me.
I like that style.
And if I was to write
another, yeah, exactly.
I supposed to write another book
again which I've set up
I'd never do.
And I ended up doing
but I really like to
something in that style.
That is, is something That
you can refer to
and, you know,
minutes looking through it and go, oh
I got something
you know, and, and
it's, it's not you don't have
to sit down and work through it.
It's just like something that you can
pick up at any page and learn something.
I like that that style.
Color is and design as a whole
is a whole other world.
And, I've been trying to get better on
that and little by little, you know,
every project anything that I work on, I
try to learn something new and apply it
and, improve in that side of things, but
Alan: to that also, do
you use like Figma or a design
tool to S to sketch, to, to
design your layout before
Or do you just use it designing code,
Mario: Sometimes I use Figma.
And sometimes I don't and
I've been trying to use it.
even if I don't use it.
even if I don't do a lot in it.
I at least start and kind of
get an idea of what I want to
And then I just jumped right
into The browser and just design
in the browser, especially with
tailwind is a lot easier, you know?
Mario: So, if I'm working on a project
for a client or, you know, or something
like that or for work, I usually
do go more in depth using Figma.
but for my own stuff, I usually just
start, you know, I just start with
something And once I, I know I get
an idea then I, just jump right?
There's been times that I've spent
more time on Figma, just designing a
small feature, like subset of a page,
you know, like, a row of, items with
buttons and I just want to see how
they line up and, what spacing to
use and what little icons to use as
labels kind of thing, instead of words,
just using icons and you know, that.
kind of stuff.
but yeah, I, I go back and forth between
Figma and just, designing in the browser.
I, I guess the my reason for
asking is because I don't
use Figma at all and,
and I don't, And, I'm not
comfortable familiar enough with it.
I tried using it a few days ago,
a few weeks ago and realized
couldn't get it to do anything.
And I'm like, okay, do I
invest time to learn Like a
prototyping tool or I
literally just, you
know, right in tailwind now it's
like, well, I know I need a box
here and it's this
this things are going
to go at this corner.
I just write
with that with tailwind and from a sketch.
So I'll just sketch on,
paper and then go, okay.
know kind of how this is going to work.
and then visually I'll go,
That needs to be wider.
This needs to be, so I only.
do go direct
from a paper high level, weekly line
script sketch to,
And, and I'm wondering if I'm missing out
on something it's like, do I you
know, spend a few days becoming
good with Figma?
You know, what will that
me w in the end, hopefully be faster
and getting to the better design
And then I'm just implementing
the final design as
opposed to fiddling, which is what I do
currently is like, I'll get it working.
And then I'll spend, you know, far
too much time fiddling with
it to make it look right.
So I'm just curious as to
whether I should invest the time in.
Mario: I think it would
be a good idea for you to
invest some time to learn the tool a
little bit it can be useful, I guess it
really depends on the feature or what it
is that you're designing sometimes the
color and, the icons and all that, helps a
lot to do it in a design tool like Figma.
and it saves you time, but, in
other situations, it, kind of slows
you down a lot because depending
on what it is that you're working
mean, I, I sorry.
I was just gonna say the end In
We, we, I would design effectively
done by a designer in, in design and
from that, and it's like,
okay, I know exactly what
need to implement.
And then sometimes it's like, but
I can't implement that based on
the system we have currently, you know,
it's like, well
that's not gonna fit.
you end up with this back and forth.
So I'm just, I think maybe Figma
that better maybe than in design.
Whereas I think in design.
just graphical tool.
not too familiar
with the difference.
So I don't know.
do you mean like interactivity or
Alan: I guess, I
guess my lack of understanding of
Figma was when I started using it.
was that I could design it and
it gives me HTML and apparently I
was way off.
Mario: Yeah, I know it doesn't work
Alan: Because I see people do all these
Figma designs and I've seen things shed,
and then I'm like, oh, interesting.
it's like, hold on.
This is just a picture.
It's just a picture.
Which it was a a completely
incorrect assumption on my part.
Mario: It doesn't do that.
It's just a design tool, but you do,
it does have features or it does have
a feature where you can, create some
interactivity so that if you hand this off
to a client, for example, you want them to
get a feel for how the website navigates.
It can navigate from one page to, another.
Alan: a prototype kind of tool.
Mario: a prototype.
You can have links that are.
Live, you know, sort of
speak and navigate the site.
So it gives you a,
good, kind of a good sense of
what navigation is going to be like.
that you can do, but it
won't do code for you.
Alan: I discovered this quickly,
Mario: yeah, yeah,
Alan: yeah, I guess it's it was
just a poor assumption on my part.
And then I, my question was, yeah, like,
well, where does this fit into my process?
Because at the moment it doesn't
fit into my process at all.
So it's, so it's like, do I change
my process and learn to use that
as a, okay.
Do this before I start coding.
And you know, I'm, I'm always
keen to improve my process and
techniques, so it's like, okay.
Do I say was probably, probably not
a bad waste of an afternoon, right.
Mario: Yeah, yeah.
has a YouTube channel
with a ton of videos.
I'll see if I can, I probably have a
bookmark somewhere and you can go in
there and learn real quick the basics.
They have a ton of videos on
Mario: Yeah, I think it
would be good
for you to become familiar with it I find
it that it's more useful when you have
to show a design to someone like a client
Alan: Working with a client or something?
then you definitely can take
advantage of it and show a
client what a design will look
Alan: Before you go And, spend more
time actually building it and fiddling.
Mario: Yeah, but with, with
our own projects sometimes.
doesn't work to spend all that time,
just in design when you
can, once you, get an idea.
and that's why I was saying the way I use
that as I start and I kind of get an idea.
And once I, I kinda like what I see on
Figma, I just leave it and jump on onto
coding and designing in the browser.
It's rare that I spend too much
time in Figma for my own stuff.
I also use
paper and pencil quite a
Alan: going to say there
is a there's an interesting
I don't know if it still exists,
but when the very first iPhone
came out, Oh, not very first,
but when you could start writing
applications for it,
there was a, a prototyping
you took a photo of a sketch and you
could effectively assign hot zones and
say, okay, if you push
this thing, transitioned
to another sketch.
And so effectively created a prototype
based on sketches on your
PLP prototype on paper.
I think it was called problem probably
still exists or something like it.
so the one of the first iPhone
apps I designed, I did that.
And that was interesting because it
was such a designing for
such a different format
was, was a big deal at
that point in time.
You know, responsive sites
just didn't really exist.
And trying to design for like.
pixels when you used to
1024 was was a hold on VR.
I don't even know how
I'm supposed to put things on the
screen, this small whereas now it's,
you know, the opposite, right?
Alan: yeah, It it, that,
that was, that was fun.
I remember doing that, but
yeah, especially again, if
I'm, if you designed it,
for different break
points, then being able to,
to do that visually and try
different things without,
Having to fight with
CSS is probably probably worth doing
Yeah, yeah, for sure.
Let's see, where were We I was
telling you about the website and so I
Alan: was, we got distracted by
Oh, yes, that's right colors.
I kept it simple still because I, again,
I just want something that works, good
enough for now that is aesthetically
pleasing, but maybe later on, once I
have revenue coming in, I can hire a
designer and create something really
nice, but for now, simple is good enough.
let's see what
Alan: going to have to
start getting clients soon.
I'm going to keep harassing you about this
It's going to have start selling it.
I'm trying to get there.
and, trying to get there.
I did onboard one more podcaster.
yeah, got some good
feedback already from them.
And I'm trying to get back to the product
side of things to work on some of,
Alan: so close to the product, man.
It's so close.
Mario: I know, but You
know, this all of a sudden, for
example, today, it was supposed
to it's it was supposed to start
recording automatically and,
it did it for you.
so now I'm like.
I'm thinking what's going on.
I need to
go back And take a look at that
Alan: It's these little books.
I found one little thing
on one edge case on, on dot plan last
night, and it's driving me up the wall.
Cause I'm too busy to
go and, look at it, but
it's like, I know if you push that
button and it doesn't
appear very often, but
it's going to break.
It's really bugging me that it's like,
nobody's probably gonna hit that button.
You know anytime soon, but
it's really bugging me now.
century alert is just
my email at the top.
And I'm like, ah, I don't know why
that's not working.
I have to go deeper
Alan: I need that, that stack overflow, AI
code gen, to go and fix it for me.
Mario: Oh yeah.
I saw that.
Alan: That's got implications.
I'm not sure what's, what's
going to come with that.
But that's a, that's a whole bunch
of ethical and technical worms
there kind of was, they just opened.
Alan: don't even want to
think about that, right?
Mario: it looks very
impressive and it looks like
Alan: great demo.
Mario: It's a great demo.
and I'm sure a ton of work went into it.
AI powered and all that, but I don't
know, it just makes me, I'm very skeptical
when it comes to tools like that.
Anything automated, at least judging by
things that have come in the past, like,
Alan: getting syntax, highlights in
working sometimes, you know, it screws up
all the time and I'm like, you know, if
syntax highlighting can't work, is it
going to write my code correctly for me?
Yeah, And, you know, remember tools
like Dreamweaver and you know, all these
tools that generate code for you and you
end up with a mess or you end up with
stuff that you still have to rewrite or
remove, or, you know, it's like, I dunno,
I don't, I don't have much faith in
these kinds of systems, even though now.
Alan: I think,
there's going to be, it's
super interesting to see and to
as a, like a
taste of potential
futures, but yeah, my, my
more immediate reaction
is like the, the ethics or
the you know, this has been trained on
open source code.
Suddenly this whole clean room codes
thing is blurry.
You know what happens?
That there's a potential
for like, Back doors to
You know, we already
know that this
is a real problem in the world already.
less skeptical that
it's not going to work.
I think in
cases it will probably
work too well, maybe.
about the implications of it with relating
to software development as a profession
and in terms of security and
people taking shortcuts when probably
they shouldn't, because we already
know people do that if it's an option.
Alan: and that goes any
chance of yeah.
Code testing is like
in terms of
like interviewing, if people are doing
like oh yeah, write this code.
I'll just get the AI to write it for me.
See if we can get to that.
That'd be an
See how many jobs a, an AI bot
could get based on code interviews.
Alan: get copy AI to actually
answer the interview questions and this
thing to, to write the code for me and
see if I can get a job somewhere based on.
Mario: yeah, yeah.
That would be interesting.
let's see, what else?
I think that's all I have, on my
end of things, part of the website
also, I'll going back to the
website is I created a change log
so that I can record, things that.
change from version to version and
Alan: Oh, nice.
That looks good.
you just, you said you're using Statamic.
For the marketing
I I know I
need to do some kind of
change, like things as well,
we experimented with
this at my previous place
and I forget the name of the,
did we use a service?
I think we started using, the
service, then we brought it
in-house because it's like, we
don't need, like, this is like
a list of things.
Alan: and we had it in the UI as like
a notification bell thing.
Which, which, worked well, as
well, just because you know, if
you're adding a feature or changing
some part of the UI, you
want to draw attention to it.
Without being too yeah, if it's out
there on some of the sites somewhere,
it's probably never going to get
looked at for.
So yeah, some way of showing it in the
UI is probably where I want to go
I haven't, haven't gone down there yet.
I'm still, I was looking at 'em
cause onboarding is still a,
I say a, work in progress.
It's, it's, it's more of
a, a massive overthinking
progress, I guess.
And that was
watching a funder site SaaS,
something I can't remember the
name of it, but it basically does,
Like reviews of onboarding
for other sites.
it's, it's super interesting to go
through And you know, basically calls
out patterns that they're using or
you know, just how are they.
People both in terms of signup and the
like, I think I've, I
done too much and I just need to build it.
Platoon was recently got to the point
where I questioning every single thing I
do now, because it's like, I've
looked at too many examples and, too many
different ways of doing
it that I'm like, I
It was just so again, I probably
just need to do version one and
iterate based on, you know, how that
feels to me just cause there's, there's
no standard way.
so everybody does it differently and
everybody is some have pros and cons and
trying to come up with a hybrid of all of
just the, I
don't have time for,
so I'm just going to do
something and, yeah,
Alan: it's hard though, again,
especially with something like dot plan,
that is one of the things that makes
the onboarding different or difficult is
I'm not just telling you
how to use the product, I'm telling
you what you should be
doing in the product.
And that's the
point which I keep sticking on is
I think I talked about it last time,
as well as that, you know, I don't
feel confident enough in telling
someone what they should
be doing with their day.
But I also want
to present this in a way that makes them
feel that there is a system to follow.
That's the bit, which is, is
just difficult to, to write.
so but again, I think I should probably
just commit to what I've half done and
And then see how that goes.
Cause it's better than
what I had on what I have at the
moment, which is nothing, which
is reselling them an email
saying, this is what we
probably should do.
I think that's a good idea to just
commit to something and just stick to it.
People will find ways to use the product.
I mean, it's already happening where
people are using it in different ways.
And you can probably address that
with your either documentation or
knowledge base, and screencasts where
you could potentially show different
ways to use the product, you know,
like, you know, different, quick
demos and, you know, you could use
it like this, you use it like that.
Alan: What are you using
for your knowledge base?
By the way?
Mario: It's part of Outseta.
Alan: Oh, okay.
It's part of Outseta.
And so I haven't done much
there yet, but that's the plan.
Alan: because we've been
again, my wife has been,
working on Japanese,
like instructions effectively,
and I'm like, okay, I want to
take this out as we've just been
doing them on separate pages within
What's the website thing
using the London page
thing I'm using.
And and it's great
because she can just go and
create a web page and build
I'm like okay, is now there's
enough content there that it
sense to bring it into like a, a knowledge
base based on
So I'm going to shop around and
see what options I have there that
Alan: something that I w actually this
I've got, don't
try and make us another side
project is I'd love a directory.
Because I know that there's
going to be somebody with a,
you know, a side project
that, that is a, you know,
$10 a month
knowledge base that I
would love to support.
And I'm like, you
try and search for knowledge based
software on Google and in our,
alternative to, or whatever the,
you know, they've review sites are.
And there's just so many that,
and they're so flooded by the big
that if someone was like,
this is an Indy,
like this gets a, an official
indie approval stamp
of approval, then I'd be like,
yeah, it may not be the most
featureful or complex, but it's, I
would like to support the creators.
you'd like an Indy directory in the
alternatives or something like that.
Mario: Yeah, that would be great.
I wonder if indie
hackers has anything like
Mario: Cause that was that's, you know,
it seems like that would be something, I,
mean, people do have.
Their projects on indie hackers.
Cause you can create a
profile for your project.
And so I wonder if that's
I'll go and poke around on any hackers.
There's probably a good place to start.
But yeah, don't make, it's just resist.
Don't make it, don't make it Alex.
You can't focus on, on that right now.
Stay the course stay the course.
Alan: I was so
a side thing on
It's, it's amazing to me, just how
You know, I, I think I said before
that, like, you know, ideas working on
something begets more ideas
and, you know, you th when you start,
you, if you're starting
a project, you're like, I
don't know what to build.
As soon as you start building
something, they it's like a virus.
And it just spreads all of these
potential things you could build.
Because you hit so
many ideas and roadblocks,
or like challenges, and you're
like, oh man, this should
And I wish I had had that And
the list of
potential projects just explodes.
And it's amazing
the, the same thing happens
with like, just opportunities
and context as well.
You know, if you
somebody is looking at going
freelancing or something, it's
like, but I don't know who to
you know, I don't have any
clients or any contacts
By just suddenly announcing and
talking to people about what you're
doing, like a side project or
something like this.
It's amazing how many
people have just reached
out to me about other work as
And it's like, nah, I'm that,
that the whole point is I'm
not doing this, but it's a,
it's, it's really it.
I can, I know this, but I'd kind
of forgotten it by just being
in a, in a, in the zone in
terms of working for other people.
I kind of to come back to this and also
come back to this like
eight or nine years later,
just how much
more there is as well.
You know, like when I
was more public about what I was building,
know, eight to nine
years ago, there was so
like, you know, requests,
requests for coffee.
know, brain picking as, as a service.
whereas now it's, it's, it's insane.
There's just so much work as so
many more people wanting to build
things that it's, it's
crazy, you know, that
moment you say you're building something,
everyone's like, Ooh, we should talk.
And I'm like, no, I'm building my
So it's, if there is anybody that's
on the fence of, you know, not knowing
what to, what to build are being
about, you know, finding
Alan: the moment you
That reminds me you had this other idea.
You had this other idea with
Alan: Yeah, yeah.
I did fall.
that's progressing slower
just because of time.
But yeah, I
I demo to it, to some
people the other week.
And they were all like, oh
my God, where do I buy this?
And I'm like,
okay, I really need to finish that up.
It's a really easy sell, which is kind of
It's so yeah, I
kind of, I should get, get on that
and and get it out because it's
working, it just needs wrapping up
like, you know, product page.
And now as I've got
paddle access, that's a
very good point.
Now, as I'm a puddle
approval a person, then I could sell it.
Mario: Did they have
to approve the product
Yeah, because actually that's
a good point because this has
no, it doesn't have physical
thinkers, just QR code.
I can, yeah, I should check on
because if I'm sure if it's,
it's no big deal because it
same list of requirements as
the as dot plans, so, huh.
cause that was one of my things is
like to set up billing is always
like a little, but I guess once
I've done it for one thing it's easy to do
Just watch out for
Alan: yeah, I know this
Mario: on that instead of
your main, main project.
Alan: All right.
I'm just trying to my I'm
having computer problems.
So I'm on battery at the moment
and it's just down to 5%.
So I'm just going to see if I don't
Mario: Oh yeah, no worries.
Alan: Let me just find a what's
the easiest way to do this.
Maybe if I put this in, hold on.
Maybe that will work.
So yeah, I can't run my, I can't.
Oh, hold on.
It's going to pause for a
minute while it does something.
Mario: All right.
Alan: I don't know what it's doing.
Everything's just hung so I can
hear you, but I can't see anything.
Mario: There you go.
Alan: I back.
Mario: I can see you and I can hear
Alan: I've got black screens at
the moment, so, oh, here we go.
You're over there.
Alan: So yeah, my 16 inch MacBook pro I
don't know whether it's the heat or what,
but I can't run the internal monitor and
the external monitor at the same time.
Mario: Oh, wow.
Ah, I see.
Can you hear me?