April 12th, 2016

Secret Diary of a Side Project: No Longer Alone

Secret Diary of a Side Project is a series of posts documenting my journey as I take an app from side project to a full-fledged for-pay product. You can find the introduction to this series of posts here.

It’s been nearly ten months since my last Secret Diary post, and since then I’ve been doing nothing but keeping my head down and plodding along:

  • First, I shipped a couple of bugfix updates.
  • In August 2015, I released a feature update that added some powerful new stuff.
  • In September 2015, I released a feature update that added support for some new platform goodies — WatchOS 2 and iOS 9 split screen.

Other than a couple of minor bugfix updates, there’s been nothing new released since then. So, what’s going on?


It was clear that in its current course, Cascable wasn’t going to be sustainable — a fact everyone (including myself) could see coming a mile away. A niche-level product with limited hardware support and a $25 upfront cost isn’t going to fly in today’s mobile world.

That said, the people who do buy Cascable seem to love it. I’ve had some great reviews and many lovely emails from happy users.

So, what to do? Obviously, moving to a free up-front business model and adding support for more cameras is what we do with the app (and is what I’ve been working on since December), but what about the company?

After a week or two of self-reflection and chatting with those close to me, it came down to the choice of spending my remaining budget in one of two ways:

  1. Carry on by my lonesome for three years.

  2. Hire someone for one year.

This was an interesting choice. Having the freedom to not have to care about income for three years (until mid-2019!) is an opportunity I don’t think I’ll have access to again in my lifetime. However, it severely limits the pace at which I can move and the things I can achieve with Cascable, particularly when taking into account my skill set. In the end, the choice was easy.

Employee #1

As of last week, Cascable has employees! Tim is Cascable’s Head of Stuff That Isn’t Programming, and is responsible for doing all the things I’m either bad at or don’t have time for — all the things that are actually super important for a successful business (marketing, product direction, pricing, etc etc).

Now, the thing with employees is that you no longer have the freedom to fuck around. They’re people who depend on you to have your shit together enough to run payroll and otherwise deal with the stuff that puts food on their table. In keeping with that theme, this will be the very last Secret Diary post I write - thinking about Cascable as a “side project” is completely inappropriate now other people are involved.

Thankfully, having Tim on board means that the weight is lifted from my own shoulders slightly, so I should be able to allow myself the time to write blog posts more often. Hooray!