May 2004

My first posting "Firstly what this isn't" was my self-conscious attempt to justify the existence of this blog. It took 2 weeks before I posted again, this time to give a few clues as to what software I was writing. I also introduced the code name for the project, Sydney. At this point I started publicising my blog in my email signature and a few friends and other programmers started to come and take a look.

Spurred on by the fact that I had 2 regular readers I embarked on an ambitious 3 part series, "Balancing your new venture with your day job" Parts 1, 2 and 3, explaining how I'd been working at both my day job and on Sydney for the past few months. I also came clean that I was in-fact still at my day job but planning to leave soon.

I received my first inbound link from one of my readers, a fellow programmer from Adelaide named Emlyn. Thanks for the link Emlyn, sorry I haven't returned the favour but if it's any consolation I haven't linked to anyone else's blog yet either.

In "Beer and movie money" I asked for suggestions as to what I could do for money instead of my day job that wouldn't take up much time. The resounding silence from both of my readers was an clear signal that I should go with my suggested options of either home computer help or bar work.

Towards the end of May I was surprised to receive a comment from someone who was keen to keep up with the XML news feed but was having trouble reading it. Seeing a chance to increase my readership by 50% overnight I contacted the good folks at FeedBurner who had the issue sorted just a few days later. My regular audience now stood at a grand total of 2 complete strangers and Emlyn.

Undeterred by my failure to attract a larger audience I forged on with a semi-convincing post titled "Time to go". In it I proclaimed my determination to leave my day job in the next few weeks.

June 2004

Between my last post in May and my first post in June I picked up a few extra readers. I now had about 8 regular readers from all over the world. Having more readers convinced me that I must be interesting and I so started an occaisonal series on how I was having trouble sleeping. "Revenge of the body clock" and it's companion article "The body clock strikes again" obviously put some of my readers to sleep and at least two of them departed possibly never to return.

Things got interesting again in early June when out of the blue I was offered a new project at my day job doing integration work. On the surface it sounded like an easy task that could be done part-time in a few weeks, and so I arranged to meet and discuss it the following week although I was concerned it may take me away from Sydney.

In the meantime I received an unexpected endorsement of my idea for Sydney from a layperson which I found quite comforting given the potential upheaval I was about to unleash on myself.

I attended the meeting about the day job's new integeration project at which nothing really was resolved. The scope of the integration project was still unknown and as a result nobody had any real idea how long it would take.

Somewhere around this time my readership reached double figures, which I guess isn't too bad for a blog that has only been linked to once. Thanks again Emlyn.

A few days later I did something I'd been meaning to do for some time and met with a business coach to discuss what support she could provide as I embarked upon my new venture.

The time for the next meeting at my day job about the integration project came around. I was determined to announce my reduced availability for the integration project, so I posted my intentions before going in to try and publicly shame myself into going through with it.

My ploy worked and I informed my day job client that I wasn't available to work full-time on their integration project. They asked me not to do anything else until I heard back from them which gave me time to think and wonder...

As a rule I dislike preachy metaphor posts in other people's blogs but I decided to give it a try regardless with "Everybody falls sometime".

A conversation I had with a colleague provided inspiration for "Less people to answer to but more to please" which discussed how you trade a single demanding boss for many demanding customers when you start your own business.

I finally heard from my day job client who told me that they wouldn't be using me for their integration project. Feeling enthused by this news I quickly drew up a list of things that I needed to get underway now that I was free to concentrate on my own projects.

I started with great gusto discovering that one of my tasks was unnecessary and asking for help from my readers with choosing a name for my part time business. Nobody seemed to like the names I'd come up with so I decided to take a few days to think about it some more.

July 2004

I began July with a visit to the confessional announcing myself to be a lazy man. True to form I had a bit of a rest before posting again a week later about my current financial situation.

I finally decided on a name for my part time business and announced the new website address. The date I'd set myself to launch my part time home computer troubleshooting business came and went and I set myself a new date a week later. I missed that new date also but only by 1 day this time.

Later that day I did my first letterbox drop which pleasingly brought immediate results.

I continued my discussion of my financial situation this time focusing on my personal spending patterns and budget. A few days later I posted on my progress at sticking to that budget.

The last week of July marked the first week that I was able to devote the majority of my time to working on Sydney. As I spent some time documenting the work I'd done earlier I discussed tools for documenting, modeling and designing an automated build routine.

August 2004

I decided to start the month by going public with Sydney and this blog to all my friends, family and former work colleagues. I was pleased to receive lots of (offline) messages of support from them and I hope they'll check in with me every so often to see how things are going.

There was a second call for my TWYC home troubleshooting business. I also explained my plans to expand my letterbox drop however I was kept busy with other tasks and didn't get around to that as yet.

Following up on my discussion of software modelling tools I reviewed Borland's Together Designer CE product which they released as freeware just a few weeks earlier.

Mid August I began to ponder ways to increase the amount of traffic to this site. I decided to start making the occasional link post but to keep ratio of original to linked content well in favour of the original content.

I started a series on methodologies focusing on my preference for agile techniques but explaining why I didn't regard my methodology for Sydney as an agile methodology. I'd mentioned Feature Driven Development during my discussions on methodology so I spent some time introducing FDD.

Lastly I finished the month pleading poverty but explaining how I was pleased with how well I'd managed to keep to my personal spending budget.

September 2004

I didn't mention it at the time but my first post for September was on the morning of my birthday. Unfortunately somebody else has since claimed the title of world's laziest man but boy did it give me a good laugh.

I wrote a commentary on Eric Sink's experiment into starting a small one man software company and thanks to some comments from Eric himself my site started to attract some serious traffic.

My thoughts on television and the productivity benefits of going without it cold turkey were my next topic.

A progress report on my business finances revealed that although the bank balance was reasonably healthy, I thought I should be putting some money away for unexpected future expenses.

Next I started to freak myself out at the news of some future competition for Sydney. It all seems overblown now but at the time I was really worried about it. It took a week or so for me to regain some perspective and properly analyse the situation.

October 2004

I spent a little more time looking at the future competitors for Sydney and found one who I thought was quite interesting and definitely worth watching.

November 2004

November began with a small finance update and a resolution to focus more on programming and less on other people's technical support work.

I explained my decision to revise Sydney's feature set to try and release version 1 sooner rather than later.

I discussed how I intended to make use of Sydney internally as a form of quality control in "My first taste of dog food".

I received an offer from a friend to introduce me to his boss who was looking for a Sydney like software package. I explained my reasons for declining his offer in "Opportunity or step backwards". Based on some of the reader comments I received I decided to think about it some more at a future date.

I introduced my plans to release Sydney firstly as an add-on for an existing software product already in the marketplace.

And lastly I explained how you can get your hands on a paper version of all my posts if you like to hold things in your hands rather than read them on screen.

December 2004

December brought with it a hard drive crash which fortunately had no serious implications. It was a good time to review my backup procedures though.

I revealed to the world complete with picture the chaos of my desk in my home/office and the prospect of moving to a better work environment. After taking a look at the potential new office I resolved to move as soon as possible.

January 2005

I began planning for my move which would also involve finding a new place to live as well as a new office. I eventually found a new house to go with my new office and the fun of moving began.

February 2005

A month later I had settled into my new house and office and was ready to resume work on Sydney. To my disbelief a second hard drive failure caused me to lose some data but thankfully nothing too important.

Continuing the theme of dodgy computer hardware my long serving laptop was also becoming more and more unreliable and I wondered whether it would survive long enough for me to start earning some money to be able to replace it.

March 2005

My one and only posting in March before I went dark featured my financial woes yet again and a small ethical dilemna I was faced with.

After that I vanished from the face of the planet until...

September 2006

I finally reappeared to give a not so convincing explanation as to why I'd been gone for so long, revealed what Sydney actually was meant to have been and promised to post again shortly providing more details.