Maybe I'll start writing again
It's been almost 2 years since I wrote on my blog. I don't know why, but the older and arguably more successful I get, the less I feel I have to add to the global cacaphony of voices that is the internet. That said, I've been wanting to dust off and develop my writing skills, so I've been making a bit of a daily practice of writing lately, mostly credit to Stilo, and it has me wanting to blog again. So here goes — a stream of consciousness post to get the wheels turning.
I was really glued to the OpenAI drama over the weekend and it just kind of carried on into Tuesday with a finale seeming to appear on Wednesday. The TLDR is: the board and CEO disagreed, the board fired the CEO at a time when the company is crushing it, investors freaked out and the employees threatened to quit, so under investor pressure the board was replaced and CEO came back. There were a few twists and turns in there, like multiple interim CEO's, the weird effective altruists angle of some of the former board members, and the perceived threat of looming AGI. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, and as a customer of OpenAI and a developer, I was glued to the drama. I can't wait for the Netflix mini-series. Ultimately, if there was some existential AGI risk and the board were more competent, they would have managed to fire the CEO with the support of the team and investors, end of story. Turns out it was just personalities clashing and incompetence.
I feel embarrassed how caught up I was with Web3 in my last post, two whole years ago. I still find it interesting, like a lot of tech, but I've become a bit bored of it. An artist friend of mine did make life-changing money on NFT's, so I'm thankful for stories like that. The original qualities I was interested in still stand: I like the idea of logging into services with a wallet instead of using a third-party API, I like the idea of owning the keys to my data, and I like the idea of decentralized currency. Unfortunately no major services that I'm aware of have adopted a wallet based data ownership model and the on and off-ramps for digital currency are still mired in KYC and traditional banking rules. I'm in a holding pattern on Web3 until some new things piques my interest. That new thing could be something like Everywhere Computer.
I'm really proud of the work we've been doing at Input lately. We created some really interesting products in the privacy space — one for the US Dept of Commerce and one for Consumer Reports. Our team has grown to 26 people and our processes are feeling a bit more dialed in. Our margins are down this year, but I'm hearing from other founders that might be endemic — I'm blaming the recession for now, but making some changes anyway. We've also managed to finally start creating our own products again.
The first product we've launched in years under our own umbrella is called Stilo — it's an AI assisted journaling app. I use it every day and find a ton of value in it. We need to work things out so it's less reliant on third party services and more stable overall, but it's super useful, even in it's infancy. I'm as excited about launching this as I was Postach.io back in 2013. We haven't even built a billing system or figured out what we'll charge for it. Feels great to have an app in the market again though, and coding on it has been really refreshing for me personally.
We're also working on a personal finance app called Cheddar. It's a few development cycles away from launching, and I really wish we were earlier, since Mint just announced they're shutting down, and the timing couldn't be better to be launching a personal finance app. It's basically a spending tracker, like what Mint was in the early days, but with our own angle on it. We don't want to force anyone to budget, rather we're helping people have an awareness of their spending. No judgements baked in.
We're trying some new marketing ideas at Input Logic and one of them is a weekly podcast where we chat about a list of random links the team has shared in our Slack channel. So far it's been fun and humbling. I'm keen to keep at it awhile, if only to develop my ability to do it well, as I've never done any podcasting before. I'm thankful for help from my teammates, especially Elysse who's editing the podcast and put it all together. She encouraged us to do it in the first place and I'm happy to be trying it out.
Well, I feel great that I made the time to write. I'll try harder next time with a bit less of a meandering story. Thanks for reading.