Retrospective: Mar 2023

Written on 03 April 2023, 5 min read.

The key decision I made mid-March was to commit to pursuing ventilation monitoring as my primary product development focus.

Prior to that decision, I hoped to use my writing plan to drive a breadth-first survey of the opportunities for each of my product ideas before deciding which had the best business potential to focus on first. Two factors changed my mind:

  1. As noted last month, I’m finding the writing process much slower and harder than I expected – the survey across all the ideas may not complete until mid-year or later!
  2. I’ve realised that having begun building last year, to stop work on the project at this point would leave me feeling that I had not done justice to developing the product and testing the market - seeing it to a conclusion is important to me.

This decision is an explicit choice to prioritize seeing a project through to a conclusion (successful, or otherwise) regardless of whether or not it has the highest potential of the various ideas I could invest time into. I’m comfortable making that trade-off in this instance, but I am going to bound my time investment to two months. I’ll evaluate at the end of May whether I’m seeing sufficient traction and potential to justify continuing further with the idea.

I had only one fully uninterrupted work week in March due to a combination of days out due to school trips, two LandSAR call outs and various farm maintenance tasks. April will be similarly disrupted given school holidays and a planned family trip to Brisbane. Sharpening my focus feels particularly necessary given this reality to ensure I’m not spread overly thin.

Goal Scoring

See last month’s retrospective for a refresher on my scoring methodology.

Consulting - 4/10

Goal: Execute a series of successful consulting engagements, building a reputation for myself and leaving happy customers willing to provide testimonials that support a pipeline of future opportunities.

Consulting hours were down from February, hitting only 31% of target this month as the client didn’t make use of all the hours I had allocated for them. I didn’t invest any time in advertising my services or developing new clients or projects over the month, which will now become a priority for April.

Product Development - 4/10

Goal: Grow my product development skill set by taking several ideas to MVP stage with customer feedback received, and launch at least one product which generates revenue and has growth potential.

With the new focus entirely on, I spent a lot of time re-working and developing my thinking around how I want to take this forward, specifically trying to analyse where I saw an opportunity in the market. After attending a workshop on finding product market fit using quantifiable metrics at the Southern SaaS conference this month, I’ve realised that much of the time I spent on this analysis is too insular and focused on my own observations - I need to get out and talk to a lot more people and get more feedback on their needs and understanding of the space instead. Seems obvious in retrospect!

I also spent a few days beginning to build another batch of prototype CO2 monitors so I have some units to use for experimentation and testing with potential customers as I get out and have those conversations. I can probably build one or two more batches of prototype monitors before needing to look at PCB assembly in earnest.

Professional Network Development - 8/10

Goal: To build a professional relationship with at least 30 new people this year.

This goal continues to be my highlight with 8 new contacts added this month and catch-ups with 4 existing people I had not spoken to for a while. I joined the KiwiSaaS central community and attended the SouthernSaas conference this month as well, which has been time well spent given the workshop learnings discussed above.

Writing - 3/10

Goal: To publish a high-quality piece of writing on this site at least once a week.

I published a single post, the first half of my updated ventilation monitoring business plan. I continue to find the writing process much harder and slower than I hoped or expected and remain well below my target publishing rate, but one post is better than zero!

I tested working with an editor I contracted via UpWork who provided some very useful feedback on the structure of my writing which helped to unblock some of my progress. I plan to continue doing this for at least a few more posts.

Community - 5/10

Goal: To support the growth of my local technical community by volunteering my experience and knowledge with others through activities such as mentoring, conference talks and similar.


As always, I’d love to hear from you if you have thoughts or feedback triggered by anything I’ve written above.

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