This is the first in a series of daily updates from Tengable. Every work day* we’ll publish an update on:

  1. What we did yesterday, and what went wrong.
  2. What we want to do today.
  3. What is on our minds today. Usually relating to Tengable.com, or technology.

Yesterday

Technology

Yesterday was exciting! There is now a working Tengable App for desktop on Linux. We are using nx-electron to generate our builds, and so far it has been working out great and we have an AppImage that we could distribute. We will wait until we have all 3 platforms first before offering downloads (mac, windows, linux).

Business

Feature Flagging Services

For those of you who are unfamiliar, feature flagging services allow you to define a feature in a dashboard. Then in your code you can check if a feature is turned off or on, and disable certain functionality. For example, Tengable.com is not ready to have people registering accounts yet. But a lot of code is in place to allow it. It will (probably) actually work if you tried right now. One option would be a long lived branch, that doesn’t merge until login is completely ready, but that’s not practical for such a large and mission critical feature, that integrates into so many things. So instead we will be using feature flags. Which allow us to dynamically turn on and off features, per environment.

We looked into Launch Darkly, and found it to be extremely expensive. Launch Darkly is more expensive than our entire infrastructure. So we will start with self hosted Unleash. When maintaining feature flagging service becomes more annoying than it’s worth, we can migrate to Hosted unleash, which is still excessively expensive. But at least the costs can be delayed until Tengable is at least cash flow positive.

Today

Technology

Today comes builds for mac and windows of the Tengable desktop app. There are several unknowns regarding code signing, that may prevent them from being publishable today. If all goes well, we can start on automating the builds in GitHub actions.

Business

The only business related thing I want to accomplish today is getting out the first post in the daily update series.

Whats on our minds

  1. Should we invest in an explainer video? Or should we wait until the product is fleshed out a little bit more?
  2. Now that the product is getting to a point where it’s almost usable, what channels should we use to find early adopters? Should we charge them anything? Or just ask them to contribute back with user surveys as payment.
  3. Since the app is now in a usable state, I could start running it all the time, and hang out in the demo room. Something that has become very clear, is that even I am uncomfortable with my mic being on all the time, with no indication of when people might be listening. So we need to add footsteps and entering exiting notifications ASAP. As well as auto mute when the computer is locked, or the user is idle for too long. What is the right amount of time? 5 minutes? configurable?. Also Should we have a visible state in the app that the user is probably AFK? Will that cause issues of mistrust if people can see someone is AFK often? Often people don’t understand other peoples jobs very well, and may not understand that someone elses job requires them to be AFK more often. Maybe a calendar integration could help?
  4. As a follower of The Startup J curve methodology, when should we think about either taking on investors, or some other form startup capital? We can last a while without any income, but not forever. Once we decide we need income, how long will it take to get any? Maybe we start soon in order to have it when we need it. A lot to think about here.

*Every Work Day – At Tengable official work days are: Thursday – Sunday. Because Malia works at a winery, she gets Monday – Wednesday off. So I match those days, so we can spend time together. Although, I am often working Monday- Wednesday as well, but it’s not guaranteed.