Week Notes: January 27, 2024

January 27, 2024

Happy Saturday. A few notes from the week about work and life…

  • We’re working on an integration with SMS notifications through Twilio. Most of its platform is really quite nice and a pleasure to work with. Switching between SMS and Whatsapp was incredibly easy.

  • Getting started with a new company on Twilio: not so easy though. I understand the need to prevent spam text messages and such, but it shouldn’t be so difficult to set up an account and get verified. I’ve had a relationship with this company for over a decade, and I use one of its acquired companies (SendGrid) to send over a million emails a week. A few dozen text messages shouldn’t be a problem!

  • If it’s so hard to get set up sending SMS messages, why do I still receive so many unsolicited political messages!?

  • Stripe continues to be the gold standard for third-party APIs. I wish every company would treat its developer community like Stripe. Incredible documentation. Thorough examples. Clear messages when things go wrong. Versioning and change notes that were written by humans. Lovely all around.

  • The third-party integration we dread updating? Shopify. The opposite of Stripe in every way. We’re forced every few months to update our API version through increasingly hostile means. The documentation is inconsistent, incomplete, and often just plain incorrect. No specific notes on what features are deprecated within our requests, just generic notes that what we’re doing is incorrect. It took a few folks on our team almost a week to upgrade our very basic usage of Shopify’s APIs. Not great! And, we’ll be forced to do it all over again in a few months.

  • Another great integration and provider of ours: Cloudflare. Incredible how much value we get from so little expense. One of our worker processes on Cloudflare served 24,697,912 requests this month. The cost? $3.60. Incredible.

  • Software timelines are nearly impossible to predict when creating something from nothing. This is a struggle on one of my small teams. We’re all working towards a goal, but it’s always a challenge to predict when things will be done. I’ve not found a tool or methodology that can help with this, and I’ve tried them all. Sometimes things are just going to take how long they’re going to take. And that’s okay.

  • Coffee with a friend this week was incredibly helpful for motivation and support. Starting, building, and running multiple software companies is a tough business. Some fresh perspective from a person that “gets it” meant the world.

And a few links for the week:

  • Spyglass – M.G. Siegler’s new site. Nice to see M.G. writing and putting out new content, I’ve always liked his work and opinions.

  • LM Studio – I’ve been messing with AI models quite a bit lately. It’s such an incredible new set of tools and technologies that’s changing our world. LM Studio is a super handy application that simplifies downloading and running various models locally on my Mac.

  • I know I’m biased here, but today’s issue of Air Mail is really great. The quality of work this team (not me, the editorial team!) is producing on a weekly basis is incredible and I’m so proud of this group. In this issue: my buddy Nathan King got an early look at the Vision Pro (jealous!) and Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, mourns the loss of Sports Illustrated.

  • Tomorrow afternoon: AFC Championship between the Chiefs and my beloved Ravens. Cautiously optimistic today. Really excited for this one. If you want to be the champs, you have to go through KC. Let’s see if Lamar and the boys can get it done.

  • And finally, March can’t come soon enough for me with the return of F1. This week we saw contract extensions for Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris. Glad to see the stability. Oh, and we have a new name for AlphaTauri: The Visa Cash App RB team. Just rolls off the tongue.