Recap @ Day 59

Since the last recap, we’ve spent most of the time on the coding side of things again, making a lot of progress on the work on the app. All features we’re working on are the most important core features, which we really need to launch the MVP.

Especially the editor itself has a lot of moving parts. As a good editing experience is part of the unique selling proposition for Thymer, a lot of time goes into making this work just the way we want. As we learn a lot about all the bottlenecks in the app as we go, sometimes that means having to throw out some earlier work and rewrite some parts (Build one to throw away). Not an easy decision, but it’s really starting to pay off. It’s starting to get really polished in the parts where this matters for the MVP. More and more features as well as performance are starting to get to where we want it to be.

We also started work on other core features like scheduling, panel tabs, and the command palette.

If you’re interested in more posts on the design and coding part, we wrote more about it in Perils of caching, Desktop-first, DIY JavaScript error logging, Wild ideas for Thymer, Reducing sign-up friction.

Next to the code and posts about designing the app, we also wrote more about our thoughts and updates on the business side in Making sense of contradictions, Trust signals, Taxes: an automation story, Magical thinking, Start small, High conviction, low conviction, Most deals fail, Don’t let mistakes cascade.

A lot of time is spent on working on the MVP for the app now, but we’ll be able to work on a lot more marketing ideas as soon as we have a bit more to show. In the meanwhile we’ll keep mentioning what we’re working on in a few communities, using the landing page as a sneak preview. We’re at a bit over 100 people on the beta waiting list now, so that’s a nice start for now!

Thanks again for following our story! You can see our daily updates on Twitter (@wcools and @jdvhouten). Or drop us a line at [email protected] for any reason. We’re always excited to hear from people πŸ™‚

Recap @ Day 45

Time for the latest recap!

Just like last time, we’ve spent a lot of days coding again to finish an MVP for Thymer as soon as possible. Unfortunately bouts of COVID are putting a bit of a spanner in the works for us, so not as productive as before, but we still managed to get quite some things done. To get a bit of an idea, these are some of the features we’ve been working on:

  • save the changes you make in Thymer (sounds like a must-have right πŸ˜‰ )
  • send and sync those changes with the server
  • resolve “conflicts” (if two different changes have been made to the same part)
  • line wrapping in the editor
  • indent and de-indent lines
  • open different parts of the doc in different panels
  • basics for auto complete in the editor
  • handling tags

We wrote a bit more about the technical related work in: Some database design strategies, Data & event handling in the app, Insecure defaults considered harmful, Look ma, no dependencies!.

With 7 weeks left, there’s still a lot do! We need to integrate the editor with the data part, we need command menus and planning features, basic account management and more.

On the business and marketing side of things, there’s plenty work left as well. One of the aspects is pricing, which we wrote a bit about in Calculating SaaS pricing in reverse. We also already want to think of other marketing activities we can do around the launch, to get some additional traffic. Perhaps some strategies from Viral Loops. The launch list on the landing page is growing slowly too, and we’re still planning to post about the site in other places, and see if we can get some more signups (once we get around to that, we’ll post the results of that as well).

And as usual we’ve written more articles about our thoughts on starting and running a business: Your app needs a USP, Reduce, Basic strategies for validating startup ideas, Assert all the things, Randomness is a perspective.

Thanks again for following our story! You can see our daily updates on Twitter (@wcoolsΒ andΒ @jdvhouten). Or drop us a line atΒ [email protected]Β for any reason. We’re always excited to hear from people πŸ™‚

Recap @ Day 33

A bit later than usual this time, but time for a new recap!

Last time we wrote about how we launched the landing page for The last 10 days since then we’ve mostly spent on coding for the app.


The two largest chunks of code so far are the editor and data layer, which we’ve started with because they are at the core of everything else in the app. We’ve been writing all those parts from scratch, so we can truly design the app from the group up to work exactly as we want. That’s a bit of a risk in terms of scope and complexity, but it’s also what we think will be at the core of the USP for Thymer in this crowded space.

For example, for the editor that means building everything from unicode support to selections to keyboard shortcuts and line wrapping. The alternative would be using an existing solution (or the browser’s contenteditable), but then Thymer could not be the app we want it to be. We’d have to adjust our vision instead of building what’s necessary to get our vision to work. The same applies to the data layer. We’re not exactly editing just flat text, and it all needs to be synced and allow for real-time collaboration. To do that, we’re building our own API based on CRDTs, or Conflict-free replicated data types. It’s a type of data structure that we can use so multiple people can type at the same time in the same document. Another problem is that all these parts need to work together such that the app is fast, which is another challenge in the browser.

We also wrote some more about our coding in An update on the coding work, Typescript without Typescript and Thinking different about technical debt. All in all, our week pretty much looked like the screen below πŸ™‚

All the rest

It’s been quite a challenge to balance all of the coding work with writing, tweeting and marketing work. Switching between the two when you’re really focused on one or the other becomes difficult at times, but we’re trying to keep up the pace here as well.

We wrote a number of blog articles again like You need a moat, Competing with (very) large companies, Single miracle startup, Work on what you need to and Text-based user interfaces in 2022.

We also got the first signups for the private beta waiting list. It doesn’t prove anything yet, but it’s fun to see some first people interested in giving it a try! We haven’t done much marketing to promote the landing page yet though, other than sharing what we’re working on. We’re planning to also look into mentioning Thymer in other relevant communities and conversations online where people might be looking for something like this.

A quick update on the stats so far:
40 signups for the private beta waiting list
104 email newsletter subscribers
18.6K blog unique visitors
58 blog posts
~10K lines of code
159 and 129 twitter followers
Nothing spent but 33 days of time… and obviously 0 customers and $0 revenue yet πŸ˜‰

Thanks again for following our story! You can see our daily updates on Twitter (@wcoolsΒ andΒ @jdvhouten). Or drop us a line atΒ [email protected]Β for any reason. We’re always excited to hear from people πŸ™‚

Recap week #4

A lot of progress again this week, but still a lot left to do!

The most visible milestone for this week was launching the landing page — is now live, and we got the first few signups for the private beta launch list!

Just like the post on Day -1 about how we prepared the website, we also wrote a bit about the work for the landing page in Creating

We’ve been working on more prototypes as well, especially for the editor component, which we’re going to write more about soon. In A rough feature list we made a first list of other features we’re planning for the MVP, for which we’re going to start development this week, in parallel with the marketing work.

We’re still trying to find the right balance between doing the actual coding on the app, the marketing work, writing the articles for our blog and using channels like Twitter to grow an audience. We’re making good progress on all fronts, but we have to step up the work on the app as well. That’s why we’ve changed our blogging schedule a little bit and are writing more updates about what we’re working on, and fewer articles for now.

The articles we wrote on the blog this week were It’s not 0 or 1, Your app still has to be good, Animations and Good customer support means saying you’re sorry.

Next up: most likely a lot of code work, while getting initial feedback and building our launch list!

Thanks for following our story! You can see our daily updates on Twitter (@wcools and @jdvhouten). Or drop us a line at [email protected] for any reason. We’re always excited to hear from people πŸ™‚

Recap week #3

In the second week we started with some technical prototypes, because as we wrote about in We always build the hard part first, we need to get a good sense of what’s possible. Having experimented a bit with some components of the editor, we think the core vision we have for the app we’re building is going to work (at least technically speaking).

At the same time we’ve been working on more design mockups for the app, to get a better idea of what it could all look like and how the parts might fit together.

In the coming weeks we’re going to build the actual MVP, a first version of the app. It won’t have all the features we could think of yet, but it’s important that it sparks joy, so we can validate we’re on the right track and hopefully get some initial fans of the product.

Some of the work we did on the prototypes we can recycle, other parts might need some rework, but that’s part of the process. We wrote about this some more in We build one to throw away.

While building an MVP, we also want to make sure we have a landing page up. The goal of the landing page is to tell people what we are building and generate interest. That way we can already start collecting feedback and build a list of people who want to try the app, and we don’t launch to 0 people when it’s ready. While working on the first drafts we also wrote about some Landing page do’s and don’ts.

We’ve also written a few more articles on our blog, such as Where are all the software startups, Everything is Power Law and posts about parts of our stack: Our CALM server stack and Setting up a basic git server. As always you can find a list of all our posts here.

As we wrote in our weekly stats, we’re also happy we continue to sign up more people for the newsletter (thanks everyone!), got a lot more visitors to the blog (especially after the HN traffic spike thanks to the previous week’s You don’t need the cloud) and are (very) slowly working on building an audience on Twitter.

What’s next

All in all a productive week, but time does really fly so we have a lot more to do! Up next is doing a lot more coding work on the editor, launching the landing page and doing some initial marketing around that.

Thanks for following our story! You can see our daily updates on Twitter (@wcools and @jdvhouten). Or drop us a line at [email protected] for any reason. We’re always excited to hear from people πŸ™‚

Recap week #2

In the first week of this 80 day journey we figured out what to build — an editor (IDE) but specifically for task planning.

Last week we created the first mockups for our app. Extremely preliminary stuff, of course. Expect everything to change. Our editor we’re building entirely from scratch. That means we have to do layout, line-wrapping, selection, keyboard shortcuts and everything else ourselves. But once we have an editor that works we’ll be able to all sorts of cool stuff.

Wim started live-coding on Twitch as @wcools. You can watch some replays where Wim works on a virtual scrolling component for our editor.

Last week we also wrote some articles on our blog. We wrote up our Initial marketing plan and we wrote about our server architecture in A no-nonsense server architecture for group based SaaS. On a more philosophical note, in Choosing the hard path we argued that for technical founders it makes sense to tackle hard technical problems for their startup, even if you have serious time constraints (like our self-imposed deadline). Our hope is that by building a product that delights users it can spread through word of mouth.

What’s next

We have two major themes for this week. Technical prototyping and UX design. We create technical prototypes to figure out if we can make our innovations work in the time we have. We’re on a tight schedule and we need to figure out which parts of the app are hard and most demanding of our attention. Hopefully we’ll catch all the unknown unknowns in the coming week or two.

Thanks for following our story! You can see our daily updates on Twitter (@wcools and @jdvhouten). Or drop us a line at [email protected] for any reason. We’re always excited to hear from people πŸ™‚

Recap Week #1!

We started the 80-day startup one week ago, so time for a recap!

The past week was like pouring a foundation of sorts. Much of what we’ve started isn’t really visible yet, but we’ve decided on what (and why) we’re going to build so that the actual building and marketing can begin. Some important decisions and topics we wrote about were:

The idea

As we discussed on Day 3, we’re going to build Thymer: an editor (IDE), but for tasks and planning. We want to solve the problem we keep ending up with todo.txt files because it’s way faster to type out thoughts that way. It just doesn’t scale well, there’s no structure and doesn’t work in teams. We believe an editor specifically tailored to tasks and planning would be the best of both worlds. Productivity is a very busy space, but we think it would be a novel approach compared to classic todo lists and Kanban-style apps. And as a nice bonus it fits the 80-day startup well in terms of topics we’d cover!

What’s next

As we wrote in the initial stages of a SaaS product, we’re now moving on from the Idea phase to the Prototype phase. We’ll start to work out the exact details and prototype parts of the product, while we come up with a way to find some initial users in our target audience who might be interested in the product.

As a preview of some of the technical prototyping for the coming days, we livestreamed some initial coding we did today.


As always you can view all topics we’ve written about so far at

We also decided this was a good time to finally start using Twitter. You can follow Diederik at and Wim at (Wim’s livestream is at


Thanks for following our story! Let us know on Twitter or at [email protected] if you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover πŸ™‚