Weekly Check-in: 11/1

First user test for Daybird

catIllustration by Kelsey Holmes

For the sake of accountability, I am trying to regularly writing check-ins on my work in progress.

See all check-ins here.

Last Week's Update

Hello! This past week I worked to get Daybird ready for external users. To that end, I built a tutorial and did my first user test.

I also continued improving the app across the board - a grid view for Calendar, refactoring the header, user settings, and bug fixes. All of those don't feel like they are necessarily contributing to finding "product market fit", but it's part of the philosophy of kaizen - continuously improving. In this case, improving the tools that I use as I'm using them. In the big picture, I feel like all of the polish of Daybird is part of the fit - if someone finds a productivity tool rough and awkward, it won't fit into their life.

Finally - I had an idea for the biggest problem I've had with the initial version of Daybird - what makes people come back. The idea is that during onboarding, I'll ask users to sign up for a daily notification to write in their journal - with a goal of helping build a daily planning habit. The implementation of this is a bit complex - involving web push and a VAPID server - but I think it's a good starting point.

Learnings of the Week

So about that user test:

I checked out a number of user testing services, but most of them seem to be geared towards bigger businesses. For my purposes, I'm going to try a few lower-budget services as I want to test frequently without breaking the budget.

For the first test I ended up with a British woman. She responded positively to the landing page - she understood what the tool was, and felt that it made her feel creative and inspired. However, as soon as the app launched, she had a negative feeling and said it was too plain, that it was "just very boring, it's almost like an excel spreadsheet. It's so plain it doesn't make me want to engage".

Ouch! Obviously that's one data point, but I have a feeling the current minimal design with a total lack of color and character might be a bit too Silicon Valley aesthetic. My friend Andriy has been working on a new design for Daybird, so this has been part of our conversation on what's next.

On a related note, I have noticed by following Reddit's r/bulletjournal community that actually almost all posts are about artistic "spreads" in their journals rather than the actual productivity benefits of the journals.

Some examples:

Making beautiful art is clearly part of the joy that bullet journaling provides some people (I was not one of these people). It's very much not something that Daybird facilitates.

If Daybird is for creative people, it seems like it there's an opportunity and need to incorporate a visual element to inspire creativity.


Or, Daybird is for productivity nerds who are not artsy. I find it very difficult to pin down who I want to build for.


  • Q4: Polyglot released with 3 active users

    • I'm still not doing great building momentum on this project - most of my energy gets sucked into Daybird.
  • Q4: Daybird released with 10 active users

    • I'm now in the user testing phase - once I'm satisfied there, I will start to acquire users through a few channels.
  • Q4: Ride 270 miles

    • 62 miles down, 208 to go

Happy November,


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