We Launched

Trixie Tracker

Two things I’ve learned in the 23 months since starting Trixie Telemetry LLC (in April of 2004):

  1. It’s really hard to do anything else when you’re taking care of a baby/child/toddler
  2. I’m extremely bad at estimating launch dates

For almost the first year of the company, I was still taking care of Trixie all the time. That’s when the real progress was made. I could reliably count on writing about 3 or 4 lines of code a week. Extrapolating this work schedule would mean completion of the software some time after Trixie finished college, got married, lived in the Bronx for a couple of years, moved back down to NC, and then had a kid of her own. Add a few more months, say when the kid was 10-11 months old, and then the beta would probably be ready. Probably.

Instead of projecting a launch date in late 2020’s, I clung to the following rather optimistic estimates:

Estimated Launch Date Target missed by
Late 2004 ~478 days
January 2005 431 days
April 28, 2005 314 days
August 2005 219 days
September 6, 2005 183 days
November 18, 2005 110 days
Christmas 2005 73 days
January 8, 2006 59 days
February 2006 35 days

Actual launch March 8, 2006

Some of these launch dates were public, some internal. I stopped projecting after February, which is really too bad because it was fairly close at that point.

Things started moving a little faster after Trixie started part-time, morning school in Feb 2005 (at 18 months old). We launched the Beta two months later in April. I loved the concept of working on the Beta. It’s a constant design-in-progress with real time feedback as soon as you roll out new features.

That’s about the time that stories stopped here on the Trixie Update. It was just too much to juggle, and the dirty little secret is that I was managing another blog — the company beta blog — which racked up hundreds of stories and thousands of comments on its own. I couldn’t do both, so TTU took a hit.

By summer we had moved Trixie up to three-quarter time at school, and things started moving much faster again. Fast enough to fuel more wildly inaccurate launched date estimates. It was at this point that Jenn took a somber tone about the whole project. I acknowledged her tone and solemnly promised we would launch in November.

I’ll spare the excruciating details of the dark months of November and December. But January was a new month in a new year. An excellent developer (James) came on board the project, and started cranking out the missing code we needed to launch. He knocked out a permission based user management and public/guest access scheme which allowed our beta testers to finally share their sites with their friends and family. We wrapped up all the loose ends the next 2 months and finally launched last week.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing (and catch up on sleep). I’ve been working on this thing for so long, it’s hard to come down off the programming high. I’ve also been extremely irresponsible in my personal correspondence. I have a stack of letters and emails that date back to last summer. I kept putting things off because I always thought I’d be launching in the next month. I’m going to be working on all that stuff now, but if you emailed/wrote me and didn’t hear back, that’s why.

Thanks to you folks that still visit. I really appreciate it. Even though I wasn’t writing stories, I did feel pressure (good pressure) to do the TPODs. I’m glad I did, because I like looking back on the picture record. And there were times when I was ready to drop the TPODS too because they take about 5-10 minutes to prep every night. And sometimes 5-10 minutes seems like too much time.

Anyway, I think the Trixie Update is back. Thanks for sticking around!

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25 Responses to We Launched

  1. Anton Zuiker says:

    Congratulations, Ben. Glad to see your baby’s finally been born. I’ll tell all my friends about Trixie Tracker.

  2. 2 girl mama says:

    Congrats Ben! We will be starting the TT…we’re 9 months and counting!! Due Nov 15 and can;t wait to try it all out! Also look forward to more of the TTU!!

  3. Jenie says:

    Congratulations on getting Trixie Tracker up and running!! Can’t wait to use it in a few years when I become a parent!

    And thank you! so much for keeping up with the TPOD!

  4. Kelli says:

    Congrats! I doubt that I’ll have a little one on which to use TT anytime soon, but I’ll pass the word along to some of my friends.

  5. Tania says:

    Congratulations! As a former programmer myself, I am totally with you on the “it’s hard to get anythingelse done when there is a toddler around”.
    Your telemetry is fantastic, I loved reading the Trixie update and the POTD kept me coming back to the site even with the posts were scarce. Good luck!

  6. hannah says:

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just hope that when the initial sense of relief wears off and the sense of loss sets in that you don’t hit the bottle
    , yet again. (BTW, March 8, your launch date, is my b-day!)

  7. Nancy says:

    Congratulations! I hope to be able to use it myself for the next one, whenever that may be!

  8. Summer says:

    That is great! Congratulations on all your hard work paying off! 🙂
    We have a 2 week old now- but i don’t have that much time to load all the info on the computer 😉 with a toddler to watch as well as a newborn. Plus i did tons of note keeping for Autumn and am going to try to relax more with raising this one!

  9. allison says:

    gosh, i wish i had a baby to track!!

  10. Jenna says:

    Hey THATS GREAT–

    wheres the link to the new site?

  11. janet says:

    Awesome! I’ll pass this on to my niece who is expecting in October.

  12. Amy says:

    Fantastic! I’m off to find a guy to impregnate me…I MUST have a baby to track! Congrats!

  13. Jennifer C. says:

    My husband and I are planning on #2 pretty soon and we are going to use Trixie Tracker. Since my son was about 6 mos and I discovered that this software was going to exist I was really excited about the possibilites.

    It is going to take those first confusing sleepless months a bit easier.

    I can’t wait!

    Jennifer C.

  14. Wendy says:

    Congrats! I thought I’d be able to use it for Owen, but he was born in Sept. so I missed out!! I don’t plan to have any more, but I hadn’t really planned on the first two, so maybe next time. I have been talking about it to a couple of people who I know are pregnant or who knows someone pregnant so hopefully they’ll get to do it.
    So now that you’re done with the Trixie Tracker, are you going to have spare time to take those children of ours out on all the adventures you take Trixie on? Just kidding. I’m excited to see what else you’ll be doing with her now that you have freed up some of your time!

  15. Camille says:

    Congratulations!

  16. kari says:

    i’m very excited for all of you. maybe someday this will take off in daycares, sure would beat writing everything down.

    we’re expecting our first baby sometime in july. thanks for all the great articles and pictures over the past months.

  17. Tim says:

    Congratulations! I guess it’s time to have another baby then!

  18. Judy says:

    Ben, if I am ever blessed to have another baby (which I hope I am someday), TT will be the FIRST thing I get!!! Thanks for all your hard work on everything, especially with TPOD. I just love stopping by every day!

  19. Carol says:

    Ben – congratulations!

    Admittedly, I’ve been lurking on trixieupdate for more than a year now.

    You appear to be a fabulous dad and are clearly a super-creative guy. I work for a very data driven and graph-happy company and have, at times, thought about showing some of your graphs to my boss for both a little levity when we get to serious about our work and (to your credit) some inspiration.

    As fate would have it – Trixie Tracker is live and I’m due with my first in August. Can’t wait to track the Trixie-way.

    Again, congratulations!

  20. Bethany says:

    Ben, congratulations on the launch! I wish you all the best and will put Trixie Tracker on my list of things to buy when we have another baby one of these days. 🙂 Glad to hear that the Trixie Update is back in business.

  21. Patti says:

    Yeah! Congrats! I’ve been a lurker for a very long time and am so excited about this product! I’m hoping to subscribe in the near future…baby is due in 13 weeks 🙂

  22. Katy mac says:

    Congrats!!! I’m so excited for you and very proud to call you my brother….

  23. 2 girl mama says:

    Now the above comment is an “aaaawwwwwwww” moment!:)

  24. Tina says:

    This is awesome news!! 🙂

  25. kaw says:

    just noticed that TTT is one of my.yahoo’s 3 “daily picks!” congrats!