Ending 2014 on a high note with Hone

Dec 14, 2014

I haven’t posted much about work in the past few years. I’ve posted specific things about iOS, web and Mac engineering, but not really about the products that I’m working on.

Now, I can talk about work again. We launched not one, but two things in the past few weeks. For the world at large, mostly the first one matters. For me, both are huge.

First, there’s Wire. I was Wire’s first engineer. We’ve been working on it for a while and it feels immensely gratifying to finally ship a new product. I don’t have much to add to all the press and buzz, except to say that I’m privileged to work with a fantastic team on this, especially Priidu and others on the design side of the house, and it’s been an incredible learning and growth experience for me.

If you’ve worked with me, you know that I’m never entirely happy. There’s always more and better work to be done. This is true also for Wire, it was to be expected, and indeed we keep working on it. There are many aspects of the product that we need to improve, the team is looking at the qualitative feedback as well as numbers and stats, and continues to burn long nights and weekends to release new versions.

You’ll notice that the title of this post is not about Wire, though. Now that it’s out, I’m dialing back my personal involvement in it to focus on another project I’ve developed on the side, Hone. It’s in a much earlier stage, and it’s not yet launched in the sense of being publicly available. Rather, what we’re doing is inviting more people to join our closed beta. (If you’re a designer or engineer working on iOS or Mac apps, and Hone sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to sign up immediately. The response has been great and we’ll close the first round of signups very soon. We’ll probably have more rounds at some point in the future too.)

Hone is a very different product from Wire. It is a niche tool for designers and developers, people making things rather than consuming—but these days, “making” is a growing target, as software continues to eat the world. You can read more about Hone in my previous post and on the project blog.

I’ll continue to help the Wire team where I can, but I’ll mostly spend my time with Hone now. That involves two things: working tightly with the closed beta members to see how Hone can help them best, and adjusting the software and components based on the reactions that we get. I’ll need to balance between the vision of the product, and the results of that vision colliding with realities of other people and teams. Hone is based on many years of experience of myself and others, but we’ll need to test it with more people and teams before it’s ready.

So, thank you, 2014. You were a great year. You brought me lots of pain and misery as I was grinding my teeth on many hard problems while making Wire and Hone, but nothing beats the joy and satisfaction of great progress with both of them. 2015 will be great.