Martin Rue


The Yakk Blog
Learn languages. Speak from day one.

The Story of Yakk, Part 2

It was 34 weeks ago I wrote The Story of Yakk. 34 weeks ago that I said I’d be giving you progress updates every 2-3 weeks. So what the hell has been keeping me so busy?

Let me start by reiterating that everything I said in that post is still true, and in fact I’m more excited about Yakk now than I was back in February. Yakk is very much alive, contrary to what one might think from this blog.

A few weeks after writing the post, I was well into the swing of building the Yakk iOS app. I’d chosen to use Cordova, allowing me to avoid Objective-C and use HTML and JavaScript instead. I had also made a good start on the content production system for creating and managing learning content.

As February came to an end, I had been making some progress, but not nearly enough. Then March came and the same thing happened. Some difficult setbacks (throwing away Cordova in favour of a better native experience, learning Objective-C, battling with authentication approaches, etc.) and before I knew it the month was over once again.

By the end of March, two things were becoming very apparent. First: there was still a lot of work to do. Second: despite being such an advocate of bootstrapping, it was pretty clear that I wasn’t finding enough time to build the product I wanted to build.

So I sat down and really thought about what mattered to me. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. My problem was simply that I didn’t have enough time. The cause of that problem was that I spent a huge amount of it working for somebody else to pay for an expensive city centre apartment and my current lifestyle.

What did I want more? To continue enjoying my current lifestyle, or to give myself the best chance of building a great product by getting back all of my time? Easy! Goodbye apartment. Goodbye money.

Unfortunately I still had 2 months left on my apartment contract, and I’d need a subsequent 4 months of saving to be in a position where I could afford not to work.

It was frustrating having to wait for that time to come, doing as much as I could in-between, but the good news is that I’m writing this post from an awesome co-working space in Berlin, having spent the first week full-time on Yakk.

During the last 6 months I’ve made progress on the most important pieces of the system (content production, API and iOS app), but I’m now finally able to throw all my time at Yakk and push hard to get an initial version into the hands of language learners as soon as possible.

On the subject of progress updates, I’ve just made Yakk’s internal Trello board open for everyone to see what’s going on. If you’re interested in following progress, you can do it from there much more effectively than waiting another 34 weeks for me to blog again :-)

To all the people who’ve offered their advice, encouragement and supported Yakk even whilst nothing has materialised: thank you so much, you’ve kept me going.

– Worte sind gut, wenn Werke folgen.