I saw an abandoned project idea, thought I could make it interesting, and, I think, largely succeeded.
As best I can tell, bootstrappers.io used to be a discussion forum for people making small, self-funded software businesses. That’s essentially what my ancient browser bookmark said, and googling around gets more than a few confirmations.
At some point, likely due to the cost of hosting a discourse server – hundreds of dollars a month in many cases – it was shut down and the domain name was sold or lapsed.
And it seems to have fallen into good hands. It’s currently run by a developer out of the UK named Darren Stuart, and he’s putting in an actual effort towards making it a valuable resource for people who want to begin or operate these small software businesses.
But his own project was not achieving the traction he wanted. He abandoned the project, after several months. This seemed… deeply sad, to me, in some sense. Not that I thought it was secretly a great investment. I trust his judgment on that. But, like all people on the internet making things (especially those with both enough seriousness to consider how to get money from it, and the creativity to imagine something new), I wanted him to succeed.
Now, I’m not a business that would be helped by this project – I am, as you might have guessed, a human. My cashflow is much too boring to require a tool to track. But I can make websites, so I figured I could make it for him. Months into a project and no MVP? That’s not the bootstrappers’ way!
I ended up putting my own English on it, quite heavily, actually. I thought it would be good to have estimates for how valuable leads, scheduled work, and invoiced work is. Obviously invoiced work should be pretty valuable, but unless someone has never had a client not pay, I think having a tool like this would be good. At the very least it lets you do much more accurate accounting, if you so choose. I also chose a name that reflects the sales pipeline tracking I built into it, and removes the confusion over Japanese supply chain engineering.
In the end, with meticulous time tracking, I know I built, not only what was in the mockup, but the estimations, a decent mobile view, shared accounts w/ locally cached saving, etc. – basically everything you need for a solid MVP, in exactly 8 hours and 32 minutes.
I reached out to him (and hope to hear back), but in the meantime, here it is: