One year of Job Garden weeknotes, with links
10.42, Wednesday 5 Jun 2019 Link to this post
I missed the anniversary: it’s now week 61 of Job Garden. I write weeknotes on the Job Garden blog and they’re invisible here, so to rectify that: here are links to all the posts to date. Expect a combination of feature releases and rambling tangents about the old days of the internet.
This is more for me than you, so I’ll point out any particular post which I think is worth a read.
- Hello, World! (Week 1) – launched with 26 open jobs at 8 startups
- The time and the place (Week 2) – includes the old school “NEW” badge
- A new Suggested Tweet button (Week 3)
- Getting the word out, automation, and a request for ideas (Week 4)
- Compound interest (Week 5) – I talk a lot about compound interest when I’m advising startups, and it gets a brief mention here
- More informative tweets (Week 6)
- In which the sync code is tediously yet necessarily rewritten for little gain (Week 7)– there’s a stat in week 7. The number of applicant tracking systems that JG can talk to is: 4. Today that number is (checks code) 20.
- A look behind the scenes at the new settings screens (Week 8)
- All products should have a demo mode (Week 9) – all products should have a demo mode!
- Making the job board more useful by focusing it on a single city, in this case London (Week 10)
- Hear about new jobs by email, with watchlists (Week 11)
Until this point, Job Garden was personal: just a place for me to share jobs at companies I’m connected with in some way (i.e. that I’ve invested in either personally or more likely via R/GA Ventures, or ones I advise, or they’re run by mates).
Now, as an experiment, since a few others had asked if they could also use Job Garden, I started opening it up a bit.
But still very much a hobby. That’s one of the things I like about Job Garden: it’s well within my comfort zone to build and design, so as a hobby it’s perfect because it’s about craft and doing things “properly”… and whether that means “100% working” or “opinionated” I’ll leave open.
- The number of job boards has doubled! Meaning, there are now two of us (Week 12)
- New homepage (Week 13)
- So it’s been three months since launch (Week 14) – it’s worth reading this because (a) it has a small retrospective in which I decide to carry on building the thing; and, (b) it has some thoughts about scaling including
Quantity has a quality all its ownwhich is a quote you really shouldn’t use because it’s from Joseph Stalin
- Closed this week (Week 15) - one of many references to the ancient internet, this one is about Newspaper Club’s summer holidays
Here’s a post in its own section because it still gets a bunch of traffic. So maybe you would like to read it too?
These next few months feel like their own chapter… adding a few more friends to garden their own job boards, and the general data and design improvements required in consequence:
- Invisible work (Week 17) - on the various types of invisible work
- Argh admin tools (Week 18) - on how to learn to juggle
- Some nerdy screenshots to prove that, yes, I’m actually building the admin stuff and not just farting around (Week 19) - on model railways
- A quick update because it’s time for dinner (Week 20)
- Connect Ventures’ entire portfolio is now on Job Garden, plus what I’ll work on next (Week 21) - on gradualism and, a favourite principle, how to
cross the river by feeling the stones
- No-op (Week 22)
- It’s amazing it’s taken so long: pagination (Week 23) - huh, there’s a line:
A small improvement, but big improvements are made out of small improvements a thousand times.I’m pretty obsessed with this compound interest thing it turns out
- A new job board, and dealing with maintenance (Week 24)
- Welcome C4 Ventures (Week 25)
- Welcome Downing Ventures! (Week 26)
- Moderate progress on adding location search, and how to approach insurmountable tasks (Week 27) - on various ways to do impossible things. Also, trust your boots
- Continued progress on location search, and some technical bits and bobs (Week 28) -
The material will tell you what it wants to do.
- New: find jobs by country and city (Week 29)
- More useful email alerts, and a survey (Week 30)
- A new font, removing a feature, and thoughts on achieving design clarity (Week 31) - on three ways to achieve clarity
- New arrivals (Week 33)
Ah, and at this point Stella was born. So everything stopped until week 50.
That 17 week period - four and a bit months - was interesting (baby aside, which of course is interesting and joyful and awesome and all kinds of superlatives, but I’m talking about JG here) because it gave me room to think about Job Garden. And remember it’s still a hobby at this point!
Coming into 2019, a handful of my users got in touch and asked for additional features. So I looked at what I’d built and I thought: it’s rare that you make something that does a valuable thing and also people want to use it enough that they’re requesting features. Then I thought: I should take this more seriously.
So the chapter that follows is the chapter of: work on Job Garden enough that I can tell whether or not to take it seriously.
I’m not on JG full time. I’m working on other things too. I get up at 6 and work on Job Garden then, and I work at night after the family have gone to bed. During the day I often work on JG but I also have other gigs, and I’m a parent too, and the parent bit gets priority.
Perhaps there’s something commercial in Job Garden that doesn’t compromise the value it provides to the startups I care about (that’s one of our overriding principles. We’ve got 12.). Perhaps not, and if there’s not then the worst thing that will happen is that we’ve built something good.
The goal for this year is to figure out whether there is something commercial and uncompromising there. If that’s the case, I’ll take JG seriously at that point.
So the rest of the weeknotes (till now, I guess) are in that chapter.
They are also less frequent, and seem to be more about feature releases although of course with regular tangents. Here:
- Back in the saddle, what’s been going on, and… hire #1 (Week 50) - big moment this, beginning to work with Phil Gyford
- Work in progress: showing background data on companies to help job seekers. Also, owls (Week 51)- some good infographics and a glorious owl-based pun in this one
- Colourful profile images, company descriptions, and more ways to keep an eye on jobs, all launching today for our first birthday (Week 53)
- New today: watchlists just for your city and old-school RSS too, plus a thought about kaizen (Week 55) - on kaizen, and building systems which are amenable to kaizen
- Here’s the new design that will see us through the rest of 2019 (Week 59) - includes a nice GIF showing design evolution since week 1. This is why you should screenshot your site periodically
- Using statistical inference to let you find jobs in design, engineering, sales, and more: autotagging is now live (Week 60) - on writing for the web
That brings us up to date.
Reading all these weeknotes back, just now, it also feels like the end of a chapter, or at least a subchapter: having shipped autotags and the new design, Job Garden basically represents what was in my head pre week 1. Sure there needs to be more data on which to pivot, and more ways to receive alerts about new jobs, etc, and there is a ton to do around that, but that’s all just a matter of colouring between the lines.
I feel like now everything’s on the table; the basic Lego bricks have been made; the frame has been created. So it’s time to figure out what to do with those pieces, and the motivations for what to prioritise from the roadmap (which is big believe me) will be different from what they’ve been so far.
Which means year 2 will feel different. Exactly how I’ll have to see in next year’s retrospective.