Monday, August 31, 2015

✔ HitRSS - a story of my failed startup project from 2005

About a month ago I posted about one of my first big "startup project" ideas: QTbar - free Windows launcher. In that post I explained how that project influenced me and taught me a lesson or two about entrepreneurship. And indirectly helped me launch Nozbe and make it a success. Today I want to talk about my other, more recent project, called HitRSS which I launched in 2005. How I was very bullish about this project... but it wasn't my passion so when I launched Nozbe in 2007 I started gradually giving up on HitRSS and left it unmaintained for the next few years... and eventually I shut it down. Here's the story:


When I started HitRSS I wanted it to be something between FeedBurner and Blogger... and I was very excited about it and wanted it to be big.

How HitRSS "forced me" to start Nozbe...

In order to be successful with HitRSS and have more time to develop it, I decided to get better organized. I read a book by David Allen called "Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity". I started researching productivity blogs and productivity apps... I even started using Microsoft Outlook as my task manager... but in the end I didn't find a tool that would help me get organized so I built my own and I called it Nozbe. While developing Nozbe I got so well organized that I had time to work on both apps, Nozbe and HitRSS. Nozbe was launched in February of 2007 and I thought I'd keep developing both apps. It didn't work out. Here's why:

Monday, August 3, 2015

✔ QTbar - my first small global "success" - a launcher toolbar app for Windows 98/Me/XP

This is a story of a small Windows application I made back in college (in 2000-2002). Back then I was a Windows user and I wrote this application to help me launch programs/files/bookmarks faster on my computer. I gave it away for free and I reached a total of around 100,000 downloads of the app, I think. It was my first “major” and “global” success. It wasn’t a business success, but I learned a lot building and distributing it. In this post I’d like to share QTbar’s story. You’ll also find links to download the app, if you dare want to try it. Here goes:


QTbar = Quick Tool bar

I didn’t like it, that in Windows getting to files, links and apps was so difficult. Unless you dumped everything on the desktop. That’s why I built this app. So I could quickly visit my favorite web sites, open files on my hard drive and launch my most-used programs. At that time I was really happy with Borland Delphi programming environment. I was using Turbo Pascal which I knew from high school and was applying visual objects from Windows on top of it. It was like building LEGO in a computer. And I love Lego.

As my application was really a tool bar, I called it Quick Tool bar and got the domain. I didn’t know if anyone would use the software, so I decided to give it away for free (freeware) and this is how my adventure started. In this post you’ll learn all about it from the beginning to the end: