Justin Duke

Update: April 2017

Okay, so this is comically overdue. This is for two reasons:

  • Village Blacksmith has been on the back burner due to a mixture of existing project burnout and maniacal work on a new project (more on that in later.)
  • I’ve been traveling. Richmond to Durham to Portland has taken away a lot of weekends, and I usually do this when I have an hour uninterrupted at a coffeeshop, which has been a rare occasion.

Anyhoo. Onto the goods.


  1. Launched one of my two goals from last month – lists for Spoonbill!
  2. Spoonbill continues to grow at an impressive clip relative to how much I’ve been marketing it: it’s a little shy of one thousand WAUs and over five hundred daily email opens, which I’m thrilled with given that I’ve done no marketing for it whatsoever. It’s been gaining traction within the OSINT and journalism communities which, you know, makes sense. I still need to find out ways to monetize it but I’m really happy that it’s growing the way it is.
  3. Had a quick one-off consultation that I was really pleased with, both from a results standpoint (my advice helped, empirically and emphatically!) and a “huh, I really have value” standpoint. Imposter syndrome is an albatross – I was talking with a friend about how I was disappointed that app sales were low this month and they were like, uh, you make hundreds of dollars not doing anything? – but it’s nice to get little blips of validation that I’m a competent person (as long as you ignore the sweatpants.)


  1. Fatigue with current projects is real. Didn’t touch Barback or any of my smaller apps; didn’t make progress on Very Cute; didn’t iterate that much on Spoonbill. And it’s reflected in these numbers: there was a slight uptick in app sales but that’s basically noise.
  2. I did an awful job of marketing lists for Spoonbill. It’s being used by less than ten people. This is something I need to focus on – I think if people are going to be power users of this tool, it’s going to come from lists – but I don’t know how to get started. Or rather, I know how to get started, but it’s going to involve a lot of things I actively avoid doing.

What’s Next

  1. Buttondown is that aforementioned project that I’ve been working maniacally on. I’ve been describing it as “TinyLetter, except better” to people, but a more apt description might be “newsletter software that doesn’t suck.” It’s not quite MVP stage – if you sign up right now, you won’t see any error pages, but you’ll only be able to send emails to yourself – but me posting the link publicly is my stake that I’ll have it at MVP by the end of the month.
  2. That’s it. One deliverable. (Streth goal here would be Very Cute, but I don’t see that happening in the next… twelve days?)


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