Two things I’ve learned in the 23 months since starting Trixie Telemetry LLC (in April of 2004):
- It’s really hard to do anything else when you’re taking care of a baby/child/toddler
- 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!