Re-springing Sprung

Also posted on Patreon.

I started building Sprung shortly after the fall of Springpad. Springpad was as close as I'd found to designs I'd sketched for a similar note taking system back in 2012. However, it's demise only continued to confirm that the cloud-model and subscription-based services are destined exclusively on the choices of their companies--and not on the desires of the users who, in this role are renters, not owners.

Thankfully, Springpad offered several migration options and a raw export. I used the near loss of my Springpad data as a motivator to get some code written. The results of which is Sprung.

Last night, inspired by a chat with an event more entrepreneurial friend of mine, I again dove back into the Sprung code and did some initial house cleaning, refactoring, and thinking about what's next for it's future.

The short term goals include:

  • extracting re-usable Vue.js components
  • upgrading to Vue.js 1.x (it's currently 0.11.x)
  • upgrading PouchDB to the latest and greatest
  • making it simpler to setup and use for others

Sprung and BlueInk also share some strong similarities (as the same brain wrote them both) and a longer term goal is to merge Sprung into BlueInk and give BlueInk the a Sprung-like notebook site theme, page item drag and drop, etc.

In the end, my hope is to build a space to think. Long road ahead, so thank you (perhaps in advance) for your support!

Published on April 12, 2016 at 10:45 am |

Removing the Albatross

Stuff...especially digital stuff...has this weird static cling problem. It collects around you at an alarming rate. When you find yourself in a place where you need to move with purpose and decisively act it gums up the gears, tangles up your feet, and makes it nearly impossible to see clearly.

To that end, I'm focusing (for a bit) on digging out of this whole I've burried myself in over the years of being focused elsewhere. If I've got a better platform to leap from, perhaps I can make it across some of these wider canyons. Here's hoping.

Published on January 12, 2016 at 10:07 am |

Gainfully Unemployed

In late 2015 I left a fabulous job at The Project and stepped out into the void of "funemployment" to see where I'd land. This wasn't just blind faith or me drawing "The Fool" at random from a Tarot deck. I did this on purpose. To myself.

Because reasons.

I was an entrepreneur once. For 7+ years I coded, marketed, made coffee, cleaned my desk, planned business plans, dreamed, hoped, and generally made quite a bit less cash than I could have elsewhere. It was educational. It was painful. It was promising.

I closed up shop in 2010 and took a tour of startups who each went through various states of feast and famine ending in buyouts, mergers, or...closeouts. It too was educational, sometimes painful (far less so, though, really), and in its own way, promising.

Now, I find myself between these two worlds of "full-time employment"--either for "myself" or someone else.

I'm "gainfully unemployed." Making things, every day, that add value to the world, but not making a "red cent" from any of it. I could, perhaps, by making a new startup (or two), but then I'd have to set down many other things in favor of the "non-generative" work that goes into greasing the gears of selling, accounting, etc. If my time goes there (again), it won't be going to making, creating, coding.

Option C(ollaboration)?

Every day I spend time making something. Code, content, stuff. Often, that's with other people (or at least from their work and/or contributing back to their work). I wake up, make value somewhere, repeat. I benefit from their work. They (hopefully!) benefit from mine. Often, neither of us are in a place to exchange other value (read, money) for the work we're building together--and often we find "more" value in the co-creation than from the $$ we could make my preventing that collaboration or limiting it by pre-fixing a dollar sign to all the value being made.

What if it were possible to stay "gainfully unemployed?" Could the collaboration continue by taking money off the table through similar means? Confused yet?

If you're a frequent "youtuber" (consumer or creator), you've probably heard of Patreon. It's one of many attempts to build a collaborative mode of commerce. In this new(ish) world, "customers" fund "creators" before (or more often along-the-way-of) the creator's creating things.

The creators on Patreon are making--some of them have been for years. They're often making something (videos, how-to guides, creative assets, code) that isn't a singularity (a "product"). The things they create are fluid, constant, hard to quantify individually. Patreon's idea is to shift the model away from purchasing a "product" and toward funding creativity--from which (already) come many "products."

High Tides Raise All The Boats

In the world of open source software development, there's (always) been a hope that by collaborating on common areas of (typically) code, that everyone will benefit. That by our collective, collaborative effort the world will be improved and our personal creativity and output not get lost in the void of the market or the back office.

My personal hope is that these worlds of open source, commons-based peer production and diversified patronage (through having more than one patron...ala Patreon & Co.) could be combined to "raise the boats" for the folks who do the coding, designing, and other useful content creation.

If, sometime in the future, I could reach what would amount to a voluntarily provided basic income, it would allow me to explore areas of my creativity I've only dreamed about. There are things I've wanted to make for decades. Most of them are quite possible. Many of them couldn't be "productized." Some of them (like the Web) could change how we work, collaborate, and create.

It's never been clear that "full-time employment" (either for myself or someone else) could ever bring those into being. I tried for 7+ years, and learned about many of the tensions and inhibitors to creativity when money is a constant concern.

So, if you have an interest in the things I product (or have benefited from them!), I'd love your support via my new shiny BigBlueHat Patreon page or (if you'd rather) via a PayPal donation at

I'll be making stuff regardless. Your support just means I'd do it more often. The more funding, the greater the "risks" I can take. It's not required, but it'd sure be helpful. Thanks, all!

Published on January 7, 2016 at 11:30 am |

What I want in a CRM

We've all used them. We all hate them (most days). We all want another one.

I've determined that before I buy, subscribe to, or build (woot!) another one, I need to know what sort of things I need a CRM to help me do.

A short list (to start) would go something like:

  • know who I know (basic contact info, etc)
  • know how I know them (contact log)
  • know why I keep talking to them ("friend", "business contact", etc)
  • know what I want from them next ("hang out", "pay my invoice", etc) - know what they need from me next ("send them flowers", "pay their invoice", etc)

Might be a better way to frame it, but it's helping me get my head around what I actually want the software to do for me every day.

Most CRMs (of all shapes and sizes) do some part of those, but reframe them in goofy terms like "deal flow" and "engagement metrics." Maybe I'll map the above list to marketing terms later, but for starters this is a list of what pain I'd like to get rid of by using a CRM.

Published on June 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm |