Every so often I find myself on a website or an app and ask, “who built this?!” Usually, I am asking my dog, who takes a brief glance and gives me a look that says, “I know, right?”
“I can build something better than this in a weekend!”
– Battlecry of HackerNews and other self-deluded individuals
I’ve always liked building self-indulgent useless things. I had the flu when I was a very lazy 10-year old. I built a tray to wear around my neck with a tissue box and an empty tofu container for the used tissues. I learned to code to build a map that could visualize Yelp search results based on location, rating, and number of ratings. Here are a few more things I decided was worth some of my finite time on Earth:
- A Bandcamp playlist maker, back when they let you stream albums for free.
- A beer logging app because I had a hard time remembering which beers I liked.
- A notification system that would tell me when the Del Popolo pizza truck would be nearby.
- An online clone of Codenames Duet that never notified you when it was your turn.
- A timer that played dog sounds instead of annoying beeps or chimes or wind sounds.
The world is probably a little better off without these things (except the dog timer, I’m going to revisit that), but it kept the hunger at bay. Unfortunately, these apps don’t produce any money or food for my actual hunger. I build other people’s versions of dog timers, like payments dashboards and onboarding systems, in exchange for way too much money. I’m incredibly lucky that the skills I learned to build useless things have allowed me not to starve, but the void remains.
And so, I decided to build another thing. It’s another tiny thing, but it’s incredibly boring, so I think it might be useful. Unfortunately, it’s only useful for those who are paid too much money and also receive Incentive Stock Options, for potentially even more money. It has to do with taxes. Ugh, it’s just so boring, it must be useful.
I’ll be documenting my process for fun. This is what I do for fun now.