Information Technology Dark Side

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Chart Your Life with Uladoo and Twitter

January 30th, 2009 · No Comments

Skipping The Idea Retention Pond
I have lots of ideas for web applications. Some of them are fairly stupid, others have been pretty cool. Most of the time, I don’t do anything with an idea other than think about them. Every now and then, an idea will really stick over time and I’ll do something about it.

That’s how got started – it was an idea I thought through for a year before I ever said a word to anyone. The idea seemed so good to me that I couldn’t let it go, so eventually I gave into my own insanity and recruited a development team. It’s in Beta now and will be going live very soon. If you’re into Boy Scouts, check it out. was a completely different story. It didn’t spend any time at all in the idea retention pond. It came to me in the shower and I was pitching it to Carl Erickson at Atomic Object before my hair was even dry. Carl thought the idea was cool, so we pitched it to his developers. It wasn’t long before we were under way. In fact, will most likely go live next week sometime. Next week. Holy cow.

Chart your life with Uladoo
So… what the heck is uladoo. Uladoo is too things – a twitter account and a web site that play nice together. Twitter a message to @uladoo and it will turn it into a chart, like this:

@uladoo calories 1400 I ate half a plate of brownies. Stomach hurts really bad

If you’ve never sent a tweet like this before, uladoo will automagically make you a chart called calories with the first value as 1400. If it’s not your first tweet, it will add a new value of 1400 to your existing chart. It uses the date and time you sent the tweet to place it on the x-axis, so you don’t need to worry about that.

To look at this new chart, you can just go to NAME (your twitter user name) and see all the charts you’ve created (except hasn’t launched yet, so don’t expect to see your chart there just yet).

Try Out Uladoo Before We Go Live will go live sometime in the next 7-10 days (we’re adding a few minor features). In the meantime, try uladoo out. Send a tweet to @uladoo with something you want to keep track of, then go to our staging environment ( NAME) and check it out. But don’t worry, if you get addicted to uladoo before we go live, we’re planning on taking all the data in staging live with us. So you won’t lose your investment in uladoo when we turn the lights on.

Ideas We Experimented with Developing Uladoo
For the record, I didn’t do any real work on Carl Erickson, Shawn Crowley, and the others at Atomic Object did all the hard work and I occasionally got to play with their work product. But we did have a few discussions about web application design principles we wanted to base on.

Here are a few of the ideas we put into play that really stuck with me:

  • Ship at the first conceivable moment. We have a product that works. It’s simple, and cool. Will a copycatter swipe the idea and beat us out of the game because we didn’t wait to launch with a richer product set? Maybe. I’m hoping being first matters most.
  • Minimize the investment the user has to make to use uladoo. All it takes is a tweet, just 140 characters, to get started with uladoo. No login required. We don’t want your email. Just send us a tweet and we’ll make you a chart.
  • Let the users decide how to use uladoo. We don’t have a clue what the wide world will use uladoo to chart. We have some ideas for how we’ll use it – I’m counting calories with it. You might count pushups, money spent on gas, whatever. We don’t have a clue where it will go, but we want you to decide.
  • I hope those of you who twitter will try uladoo out, and let me know what you think.

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