What is the habit or process that helps you find online insights and hacks for your work?

It's usually something where I see someone else work (IRL or screencast) and be like "hey that's an interesting technique!"

thanks, helpful!

what about reading stuff for inspiration (apart from wipchat obviously!)?

I'm not sure I read much for inspiration. If I notice something specific is inefficient or boring, I go look for better ways of doing that specific thing. I don't read generic lifehack articles, etc.

Ang J

What are 5 self-development books you recommend?

  • Getting Things Done: The concept of "next available action" was eye opening. Always knowing what the next task is you can work on for any given project. Also the requirement of a task starting with a verb. So instead of just "laundry" I'd say something like "select clothes to put in washing machine". Even though I know what "laundry" means, having it be more concrete helps actually doing it.
  • Thinking Fast & Slow: Helps you become more aware of all the common mistakes our brain make.
  • The Creative Habit and The War of Art: Both taught me you don't need "inspiration" to do creative work. With good habits and discipline you should be able to do creative work anytime.
  • The Effective Executive: No-nonsense advice on how to be a more productive executive.

I read these books quite a while ago. Many of them I wouldn't enjoy today, but they worked for me in the moment. I recommend just getting the free chapter on iTunes/Amazon and if you don't enjoy it try again in a few years.

Ang J

How do I get a Chinese iPhone with dual sim?

The obvious answer is to go to China and buy an iPhone there.

Alternatively you can try and find someone you trust to buy the phone and have it shipped to you. If you don't know anyone in China, you can use a service that does this for you. They will give you a local address you enter as the shipping address when ordering from the Apple website. Once they receive the package they will ship it to you in the U.S.

I believe this type of service is called "package forwarding". I don't have any experience with it, and I'm not sure about the legality (probably fine) and costs (service fee + overseas shipping + insurance + import duties, etc).

Here's one I found: https://www.tiptrans.com

Be sure to read the fees, terms, and restrictions. I noticed they don't allow Apple products for some of their warehouses.

Oh, and one more option would be to check eBay. I imagine there are people who have gone to China to buy some, to then resell in the U.S.

I will go to China, Govt is shut down here

Franz Peschel

REST or GraphQL?

I think the main benefit of REST is that it's straightforward. Most developers are familiar with it. It's relatively easy to build an API, and for developers to build on top of.

The downside, compared to GraphQL, is that for certain use cases you might end up needing a ton of API calls what could be done with just one in GraphQL.

Example: let's say we want to fetch all products of a user and the associated pending todos. With REST we might make a call to get all products of a user, and then for each product make a separate call to get their pending todos. The more products, the more API calls we're making. Now imagine todos had comments and we wanted to fetch those too. That would again exponentially increase the number of API calls needed.

Now we could create the API such that fetching a product always returns its todos as well, but that's overkill in many other use cases. Okay you think, what if we make it configurable? Maybe we can add a GET parameter to the URL to tell the API whether to include the nested resources such as todos/comments/etc.

Well, that's basically what GraphQL is. With GraphQL the developer can just make one request and say "I want all of Franz' products, for each product I want its completed todos, and of those todos I want the comments too". And you can even specify which attributes you want. Maybe you only need the product name and description, and not all the other stuff. GraphQL lets you specify all that in one API call.

GraphQL's flexibility comes with the cost of complexity. It's more complex to build an API, and for simple use cases it's more complex to use the API. So there's no clear winner. It really depends on how you expect developers to use your API.

Disclaimer: I have limited experience building APIs, especially GraphQL APIs. Even though that's what I decided to use for WIP.

Thank you for the detailed answer, this helps to consider GraphQL for future projects.

You use GraphQL for WIP Marc?

Yep. https://wip.chat/api for more info.

I'm not 100% sure yet it was the right decision. Like I said, it more flexible than REST, but not as straight forward for developers unfamiliar with it. This might hold back more people from creating simple integrations.

Very cool. But does the Rails app (frontend) driving WIP use the GraphQL API or direct db calls in controllers?

Edwin Klesman

what is a realistical ads revenue number for a starting blog aiming for 5-10k visitors

It depends on the market, but average CPM (Cost Per Mille) is roughly around $3. So that means for every 1,000 pageviews you can expect about $3 in revenue.

Let's assume you have about 3 pageviews per visitor (look at your analytics to see the real number). At 5-10k visitors that means around 15–30k pageviews or $45–$90 in revenue.

Please note that is a very rough estimate as it really depends on your market, click-through rates, etc. These calculations merely serve to give you a way to make your own estimation.

Assuming those are monthly numbers you should also keep in mind that's probably not worth the overhead for larger advertisers to deal with you. If you're set on monetising at this early stage you might be better of with affiliate programs and get paid per conversion.

Thanks for shedding some light on this for me (in plain English)🙌🏻 I'm looking into affiliate programs and for paid content like online courses, eBook etc. but I'll focus on some audience and traction first. Thanks again!

Ang J

what is the simplest way to create a maps mvp with rails and mapbox?

Broad questions like these generally don't get very helpful answers.

Please elaborate. What are you trying to make? What have you tried so far? What problems are you running into?

Ang J

How do u solve a problem when everyone is solving it already?

You don't. You use their solution, and focus your efforts on a different problem. A problem for which you are the right person for the job.


Any Tips On Consistent Work?

Always know what to work on next.

If I don't know exactly what I can work on next, I tend to waste time on irrelevant things.

So have a list of actionable todo's (i.e. very specific, begin with a verb, clear concept of what finished state looks like, etc).

Yuko Fukushima

What is the best way to repost Instagram contents to Twitter?

Here's how I do it: https://medium.com/@marckohlbrugge/a-better-way-to-post-your-instagram-photos-to-twitter-7f3a04a37d89

Hi Marc

Thank you very much for the tips! It's working! 🙌

I'll have to pay for Zapier 20/mo but it's a good investment. I can do lots more things instead of tedious copy&paste and reupload on social media.

I will look for more useful zapier recipes to get most out of the starter plan 🤔

I’ve been considering recreating this as a stand-alone service. I wonder if anyone would pay for it though. What do you think?

Oh, if I can, I want to make a tweet storm when instagram caption is too long. Zapier solution is good, but I have to cut the text in the middle. Sometimes hard to decide where to cut. but not sure other people want it though...

Short answer, YES.
I think that's a good idea! I will definitely go with it if it's less expensive than Zapier monthly fee. You can consider me your potential customer for Insta -> Twitter autopost service🤘

The long answer....
I met a lot of people from age 25 ~35 in Europe, and they mainly use Twitter and Instagram. So I want to be active both on Insta and Twitter.

I think solo-prenups have a lot of problems in managing social media accounts. When you have multiple brands, you might spend your day easily on social media, which nobody wants. We want to create more and spend less time on social media.

I'll manage three brands. So it will be a big time saver if I can make a clean tweet out of an Instagram post.

Here are the reasons I don't use cross-post scheduling software on the market for Instagram and Twitter. None of them fulfils my requirements for the moment.

Number of the characters
You can write long texts on Instagram.
Twitter, on the other hand, the number of character is very limited. When you use IFTTT Instagram repost to Twitter (which is already hard for non-techie/non-marketer person, I guess), the caption is cut off in the middle of a sentence or a hashtag. And it looks über ugly.

Instagram Features
I want to compose an Instagram post on its app (or Flume), not on a cross-post service.
On the Instagram app, you can add the location, hashtags on comment area, and filters.

Thanks. That's really helpful.

I'm not sure yet how to solve the character count problem though. As there's no easy way to count the number of characters when writing the Instagram caption. It appears when using Instagram's "Send to Twitter" feature it just cuts off the caption.

I post Instagram from Flume (Mac) so I would use Ulysses or https://www.lettercount.com to count text. but I usually don't count text. I just keep the caption shorter than the twitter limit because there will be instagram link and image urls.

Adriaan 🇳🇱 @ Amsterdam

Roast my product: Simple Analytics


  • There's no product preview! Most important thing for me is to see the actual product (screenshots) right away without having to click another button.
  • The dark blue headline with light blue background feels too soft for me. I'd like to see more contrast.
  • Overall the colors feel too soft. More contrast would communicate the "simple" idea better.
  • There's a lot of text. I'm not reading all of that. I wonder if anyone does
  • The testimonials lack context. Who is this Pieter Levels guy? j/k, but maybe add a headline, etc
  • The "clean" and "simple" benefits are too similar IMO.
  • "Friendly" doesn't communicate the privacy aspect. I'd use a different word.
  • In fact, I don't see any mention of privacy above the fold. Maybe you could use something like "Website analytics that don't invade your vistor's privacy" or "Website analytics that respect your privacy"
  • Overall I think the page does a bad job explaining the privacy benefits. I think it would be great if you show a visual comparison with Google Analytics as that's what 99% of your leads will be using right now
  • Your Intercom widgets says "we", but elsewhere you explain it's just you.


  • IMO all plans should include data exports
  • $49/mo for 100k+ pageviews seems like a lot to me with current feature set. I'm not saying decrease the price, but I think you'll need to become more competitive in terms of functionality to warrant that price
  • Have you tried a trial without credit card? I think once people overcome the hurdle of adding the tracking code, they are more likely to convert to retain access to their data.


  • I really like the simplicity of the one-page dashboard. Google Analytics is powerful, but it feels like a chore to use. Simple Analytics is more fun and gives me a decent portion of what I need from an analytics tool
  • I don't find it valuable enough yet to pay for it. It hasn't crossed that threshold for me. I'm not sure what it would take, but I wonder if you can do something radically different from Google Analytics rather than just being less privacy invasive.
  • It's quite possible I'm not your target customer. Are there websites that are hyper sensitive to privacy? Websites that currently don't use Google Analytics? They might still want the analytical insights, but for whatever reason cannot use Google Analytics.

Great feedback!


The feedback on the homepage is clear, will fix that.


  • Why do you think to have data export for all plans? I want to target businesses, and need more differentiating features between starter and business.
  • I will get more features every day, so that price is maybe too high now, but will be good later.
  • Haven't properly tried without cc, but I do have emails from people that fill in the demo input field. So will make something for them where they can try out without cc and bug them in the platform so they need to upgrade.


  • Thanks 🙏
  • Radically different, hm, if you know something, let me know. For me it's hard to think of more business features, makers features are easy. But I think that keeps me small.
  • You know this Pieter Levels guy? He suggested to get a list of companies that I should contact for offering my products for free, so they can be on my homepage. Companies like Ghost (looks like they use GA). But selling myself to those companies is as easy as writing my PR message ;-)

Re: data exports

It feels wrong to me when I pay for a service and they take my data hostage. I understand it's a common business practice to create a vendor lock-in, but feels hostile to me.

Re: radically different

I'm not sure what exactly it should be. This isn't it, but just to give you an idea of thinking out of the box: everyone's stats are open to each other. So by joining Simple Analytics you're able to benchmark your stats compared to other websites. (e.g. to determine if your 62% bounce rate is good or bad, etc.)

To find such an idea (but an actual good one) you need to talk extensively to your customers and understand their deeper business needs. For example for me with regards to Startup Jobs I have these questions:

  • Is there more SEO work that I can do? (analytics tool build around SEO with practical tips on which pages to improve and what to add/change/etc)
  • How well is my paid advertising work? (
  • Would increasing the number of job posts increase my revenue?
  • Where are my customers coming from? (Google Analytics often says "direct" but I can't imagine so many people typing in the URL)

These are great questions. I can definitely do something to help answer those.

The more I think about it the more sense this makes. I feel like I need to grow in features that help website owner with whatever problems they encounter. So why limit it to analytics?

Yeah nobody wants analytics. People want actionable insights. Analytics are just a way to get there.

Tomasz Stefaniak

Roast my product: Panda HSK – iPhone app to learn Chinese

Context: I don't speak Chinese. I do happen to be in Taiwan right now and I'm interested in learning some basic sentences.

Heads up: I'll be blunt as this is a roast. Overall I think the app looks alright and seems to do the job. In my feedback below I'll only pick on things I think can be improved, so it's all negative feedback.

My feedback:

App Store listing

  • I don't know what HSK means.
  • The letter L in "learn Chinese" should be capitalised.
  • From that tagline it's not clear whether this is about reading, writing, listening, and/or speaking
  • It's not clear either to who this is targeted at. Completed novices like me? Or people that already know the basics?
  • Why is it better/different than Duolingo etc?
  • A tagline like "Learn to speak basic Chinese in 30 days" would grab my attention
  • The panda in the app icon looks kinda sad to me
  • The name isn't memorable and there are similar apps with similar names. Could be a problem.
  • The app has no reviews in my version of the App Store. If you had a homepage to link to instead of the App Store listing you'd have more control over the initial user experience which would allow you to include testimonials, etc.

The app itself

  • The typeface looks kinda childish to me
  • I don't know which level I need to select as a complete novice (I guess the app isn't meant for me)
  • The "Save" label on the button when choosing a level is rather uninspiring. Could be something more exciting like "Let's start learning…"
  • That said, the the select down menu doesn't make sense here anyway as there's only 3 options and you have plenty of real estate to work with. Why not show 3 buttons for each level, rather than a dropdown + save button?
  • It's not clear how easy it is to go back and try a different level. Maybe add something like "Don't worry. You can always change to a different level later'
  • On iPhone XS the notch cuts down into the top of the screen so "Panda HSK" isn't completely visible.
  • I immediately get greeted with an upsell (Subscribe now). Not a good first experience. Better to wait until I've received some value from the app
  • When starting to learn, I see some Chinese characters and a bunch of words to choose from. Having never learned Chinese, I have absolutely zero idea what the right answer is. So I'm guessing this not the right app for my level. Therefore I won't comment further on the learning functionality of the app.
  • The "Next" button becoming tappable once an answer is correct feels like a lazy UX solution. I think you could just hide the button at first. Then when the correct answer is chosen, prominently (big, centered, etc) show that button so it's more easy to move forwards.

That's all I have for now. I imagine someone who's actually in your target audience could provide more feedback on the learning experience.

Thanks for the feedback, below, I'm answering some of the questions:

I don't know what HSK means. - Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì, or Chinese Proficiency Test, it's an official test for Chinese learners. The app has all of the HSK vocabulary for a given level.

The letter L in "learn Chinese" should be capitalised. - cheers, I added it to the backlog and will fix in the next update

It's not clear either to who this is targeted at. Completed novices like me? Or people that already know the basics? - people who know what HSK stands for :p Eventually, I want to target it at general Chinese learners, but the app will need a lot of work before I get there.

Why is it better/different than Duolingo etc? - it's targeted specifically at people reviewing for the HSK exam, do you think I should make that more clear in the description?

The panda in the app icon looks kinda sad to me - Bummer, I drew it myself and that's the height of my artistic abilities :(

A tagline like "Learn to speak basic Chinese in 30 days" would grab my attention - that would be a lie, I've been learning for 6 years and only starting to get conversational now, it's a super hard language. I actually think it's impossible to learn using only an app, that's why this app is target more at people who are already studying with a teacher, as a revision tool, the rest is doomed. That said, I'm toying with "Learn HSK 1-3 vocabulary by practising just 5 minutes a day", what do you think?

The typeface looks kinda childish to me - valid point, I'm still trying to nail down the design, I don't have as much design experience as I would have liked

I don't know which level I need to select as a complete novice (I guess the app isn't meant for me) - I'll add a note saying 'if you don't know where to start, start at 1', good idea.

The "Save" label on the button when choosing a level is rather uninspiring. Could be something more exciting like "Let's start learning…" - good idea, will do that in the next update

That said, the the select down menu doesn't make sense here anyway as there's only 3 options and you have plenty of real estate to work with. Why not show 3 buttons for each level, rather than a dropdown + save button? - I'm quite fond of that dropdown, I think it's a rather clean solution

It's not clear how easy it is to go back and try a different level. Maybe add something like "Don't worry. You can always change to a different level later' - added to the backlog, will implement in the next update, switching between levels is painless.

On iPhone XS the notch cuts down into the top of the screen so "Panda HSK" isn't completely visible. - I'm not gonna lie, it's going to be a while before I fix that, focusing on other more pressing issues for now, but thanks for letting me know.

I immediately get greeted with an upsell (Subscribe now). Not a good first experience. Better to wait until I've received some value from the app - very good idea. I'll hide the upsell until the user has made progress in at least N words


Advice for a job interview as a Jr Developer?

I have zero interviewing experience as an applicant, but I've hired some freelance developers before. So take my feedback with some grain of salt.

I imagine they will try to understand the following things:

  • Do you have the relevant technical skills? Whether you coded your own thing or within a business doesn't matter for this part. Expect them to ask about your decision making. Why this framework over another. What trade-offs did you make and why. Etc.
  • Are you able to pick up new technologies and ways of working? What are some of the recent things you've learned?
  • Do you work well with others? You mentioned not having coded "professionally", but only your own products. Have you worked with other people in another capacity? Can you share some examples and possibly any conflicts and how you resolved them?
  • Related to the above: Are you able to clearly communicate technical stuff? What about talking to non-technical people?

I also suggest reading up on the company, which technologies they use, and maybe check some of the LinkedIn profiles of employees to see how they describe their roles within the company. That might give you some more things to research.

Thanks Marc. I passed my first interview today.

Tomorrow I will have the final interview. 🙈


How to monetize our first project

The site ( https://jobboards.co ) doesn't load for me.

As for the revenue model: do you have any users/customers yet? They tend to be your best source for revenue model ideas.

Website is not ready yet - before launch we was planning first to identify any revenue/monetization model.

Manuel Frigerio

What the best way to set up an email address to receive and send emails for a new project?

Sidemail was made specifically for this purpose. It's powered by Mailgun which I use myself.

I tried to use it and it actually crashed a few times so I gave up :)

Hey Manuel! Jon from Sidemail here, if you need help getting setup let me know, I'm working on improving the DNS setup flow and showing specific information depending on the domain provider.

Marc Köhlbrugge

What are your favorite Black Friday deals (2018)?

GoRails has a lifetime 35% discount on their annual plans. Normally $199/year, now $144/year. (that's $12/mo). You keep the discount when renewing.

Do you use this?

Yes. I just signed up.

Me too. Best thing I've bought this year :)

Ang J

How do I start on building a newsletter on Rails?

As discussed in the chat, the easiest way seems to use a hosted newsletter service such as MailChimp and just embed their signup form. No need to custom build something for Rails, unless you need deeper integration.

Also, WIP now has a prototype available for signup forms for your products. For example:


It's not possible to embed it on your own site, or host it on your own domain. But let me know what you'd like and I might add it.

Amrith Shanbhag

what's the best desktop browser ever? 🤔

I prefer Safari.

I used Chrome back in the day, but I found Safari to be quite a bit faster and more energy efficient. It doesn't have all the browser extensions Chrome has, but I have come to distrust those anyway as even popular ones seem to include spyware.

I specifically use Safari Technology Preview (available in Mac App Store) which is Safari's experimental version with all the cutting edge features.

Avi Aryan

Any way to forward SMS while visiting another country (where SIM won't work)?

I don’t know of any services that can forward your SMS messages, but I’m surprised your provider is unable to deliver them abroad. Could you switch to a different one that does support this?

With eSIM in the latest iPhones you’d be able to have a local SIM card while traveling as well. So you’d use that one for data, calling, etc and still receive OTP messages on your ‘home’ number.

The provider does have International Roaming but it is quite costly and TBH I don't know how reliable it is. But I should try asking them. Also, eSIMs aren't available in India yet. :( Thanks for your input, Marc.

Ang J

How do you secure stuff like .env secrets.yml that have important keys and token away from contractors who are working for you?

There needs to be a level of trust when working with contractors. Apart from that you can create separate keys for contractors or set up the app in such a way that it still works without having all the keys in place. (Automatically disable functionality reliant on keys.)

Or generate new keys after the contract ends.

Brahma Reddy Chilakala

How to store images in the database?

You could store an image in your database as a blob, but that's generally not a good idea as most databases aren't optimized for storing binaries such as images.

Considering Heroku has an ephemeral file system (i.e. you cannot persist uploaded files on the disk) your best approach is to upload the files to some online storage such as Amazon S3. (I think that's what you meant with CDN, but it's not exactly the same thing.)

The way it would work is the user uploads the file to your server (Heroku), and then your app uploads the file to your S3 bucket. Whenever you want to show the image you use the S3 URL.

Alternatively you could configure your S3 bucket such that the user can upload directly to S3 without the file ever touching your server. This generally provides a better user experience, but technically is a lot harder to achieve in a secure fashion. So my advice is not to bother with that until upload performance becomes a real issue.

Finally, the last option would be to use a SaaS that provides you with an upload widget, and takes care of uploading/processing/hosting files for you. Cloudinary has this feature.. This might be the easiest option, but probably the least flexible and most expensive.

How does Cloudinary compare to Imgix?

I haven’t used Cloudinary so I’m not sure. I believe they offer some extra features like the upload widget. I haven’t needed any of that though so I’m happy with imgix.

Thanks Marc for the detailed answer. I would go with Amazon S3 option for now. BTW, How are you dealing with the images for WIP?

Uploads go to Heroku server which are then uploaded to S3 in a background job. We use imgix as a CDN in front of S3, so images are loaded faster and we can perform resizing/etc on-the-fly without having to generate them in advance. (Not as cost effective, but makes development a lot quicker.)