When you get the idea there's a bug in your hair, your skin crawls even if there's nothing there. This week, I fixed countless bugs in my app, but I still feel like they're crawling all over me.

Everything I built previously broke at least once this week. Everything new broke multiple times. I rewrote several features from scratch.

That thing I wrote about "the dip" and pushing through and how it all is worthwhile in the end? This week, I ate a slice of humble pie. It got even worse. I feel like there’s no end to the bugs, and every line of code causes cascading issues.

When you see lint on your sleeve that looks like a spider, even after you realize it’s only lint, sometimes you can’t escape the feeling there is a spider somewhere in your hair, on your back, or just outside your peripheral vision.

I pushed through and fixed bug after bug. But they’re still everywhere, and they seem to be multiplying.

All those people who warned me about software are probably laughing right now. And I’m laughing too (hysterically, like any mad scientist).

"Progress" on the Mod&Dot browser extension:

  • Multiple fixes to make sure recording is active at the right time
  • Privacy protection: extra checks to ensure recording only happens when user requests it, in the correct tab
  • Add UI instructions
  • Fix broken recording when devtools isn’t open
  • Rehydrate CSS edits after page refresh or continue
  • Calculate and store HTML diffs
  • Rehydrate HTML edits after page refresh or continue
  • Rate-limit diff calculation for performance
  • Reduce several large functions into multiple smaller functions

The advantage of experience

I wrote in week 5 that beginners have an advantage over experts to imagine without experience limiting the possibilities they see.

However, experts have an (obvious) advantage: when those exciting dreams take a bad turn, they have a better idea of what exactly is wrong. Experts have seen it all before.

Right now, I’m not experienced enough to know what the problem is, so I’m just trying things. Trial and error is slow, hard work. I’m in the process of gaining that experience.

Looking at all I built this week, the list is actually the most impressive so far. I made a ton of progress on paper—but the relentless bugs make it hard for me to feel good about that progress.

The only real hurdle to being a solo founder

So far in this series I’ve tried to debunk the usual warnings about being a solo founder. But there’s one that I think you should pay attention to.

Coding is hard. Business is hard. Design is hard. Marketing sucks. But the biggest challenges you face as a founder are emotional.

For me right now, coding is hard, sure. But the hardest thing about it is how I feel emotionally when I hit these rough patches.

More than half of being a successful founder, I believe, is just dealing with the mental side of things.

Rob Walling, Startups For The Rest Of Us, Ep 433

The reality is that without a healthy founder, it is impossible to have a healthy business.

Sherry Walling, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Sh*t Together

Sherry Walling talks frequently on this topic, and her advice is indespensible.

Creating a new thing and putting it out into the world is hard. Every design, product, and business. And when you do creative work like this, you need the skills to handle the emotional ups and downs. The skills to make products aren’t enough. You need the skills to keep yourself healthy too.

Week 7 was: painful

It sounds dramatic, but I can only describe this week as painful. I haven’t been this frustrated with my work in a long, long time. I ended this week really doubting my abilities and honestly, the future of this project. Which is silly after all the progress I’ve made.

From past experience, it’s clear I need to take a step back from this. I need a break. I’ve been pushing so hard that I’m burning out and not seeing things clearly.

I told you I’d share every up and down as I build this product, and this week was a tough one. It happens. I hope next week gets better.