tech, simplified.

Making a Racket, in 9 minutes or less

And then, there was another.

I joined Austin Petersmith and Mohammad Forouzani in mid-2019 to build Capiche, a software community where everyone could get their business software questions answered much like how developers get their code questions answered on StackOverflow. It grew, fast at times, slower at others, into a just-over-$1m acquisition by Vendr in early 2021.

Audio was the next thing. We'd considered building an online conference for Capiche in mid-2020, and those ideas morphed into launching Capiche FM as a pivot into live audio, first recorded over phone calls, later through a web app. It, too, had a core group of fans but hadn't quite caught fire, so over early 2021 we took some of the best ideas from Capiche FM and turned them into Racket. In its first version, Racket was aimed at shorter audio—9 minutes of audio recorded solo or with guests, then published as an almost audio take on Twitter or TikTok.

And it turned out shorter podcasts were what I'd wished podcasts had been all along. I've always struggled to find time to listen to hour+ long podcasts, but 9 minutes gave enough time for a meaningful conversation that anyone could find time to listen to. And it led to some great conversations I'll always be glad I had, from chats with authors including Elnathan John, Adam Davidson, Joshua Levy, Jason Crawford, and more, to talks with tech founders from Convertkit's Nathan Berry to Gumroad's Sahil Lavingia. I chatted with hundreds of creators in Racket DMs, and learned so much from community leaders including Rosie Sherry and others from the software testing community that embraced Racket early on. Perhaps the most fun was when Andrew Warner interviewed me on Racket about Racket.

After 3 apps in 3 years—a software community, then live audio shows, then short-form audio—it was finally time to give my own app idea, Reproof, a shot, something I'd wanted to do after gaining experience from being on the ground-zero of building Capiche. And today the rest of the Racket team is pushing ahead with an even shorter take on audio with Racket mobile and a 99 second time limit.

But some of those 9 minute chats were worth keeping around—and so, along with my Capiche FM recordings, here are some of my favorite Rackets from 2021:

(Coda: Racket shipped their mobile app, raised a pre-seed, and pivoted to being a podcast fund. In the end, though, it was shut down—it had its 9 minutes of fame, and taught us all something about short audio along the way. Here's to trying big, new things!)

The next big thing.

And then, there's the new startup I'm working on now—something that goes back to my roots in writing for the web. Sign up below to be among the first to know when the beta's live!

Thoughts? @reply me on Twitter.