Hey Dirk – thanks for using Pool Doctor, Pool Cloud, and now asking about pooldash. I just looked through my old emails and I see your support requests from over the years – sorry for not responding!
I really, really hope that pooldash will be better. I’ve used a different business model, better tech, and a forum for customer support… here’s why I think each will help:
1) Subscriptions: apps require ongoing support & development, so free apps (and 1-time-purchases) aren’t very sustainable. I hope that I can grow my subscriber base (currently at 13 people) to a point where it justifies a significant part of my time, or (ideally) becomes my full-time job.
I’m also trying to be brutally honest with my messaging about pooldash. I used to be unrealistic (or, more charitably, aspirational) when describing my software. I wanted VC funding, and I assumed that I should sugar-coat things, over-promise, and try new business models that depended on unsustainable future growth to stay alive. Now, I firmly reject that culture – I want to build a business that I enjoy bootstrapping.
Rather than trying to “move fast and break things,” I’m going to “move slow & preserve things.” I explicitly state on the homepage that pooldash isn’t for everybody (yet). I’m more interested in building a great product for my current users than in getting X users by a particular date.
2) Engineering: I was clever but inexperienced when I made Pool Doctor, and I was only slightly better when I made Pool Cloud. It was difficult or impossible to actually support the features everyone asked for, and some things just failed outright (for instance, the hosting service I used for the backend was shut down in 2017).
Since then, I spent a few years learning under an incredible engineering manager, and later working on a few other software engineering teams.
Specifically, pooldash is more sustainable due to the dynamic recipe system (I can support all types of pool chemistry), the usage of typescript + react-native on the frontend (it works on iOS and Android), and the custom, scalable backend. I’m also just a better engineer than I used to be, and I’m more careful & slow to release big features like online-backup.
3) Community: I hope this forum helps my customers support each other, but even if that takes a while, it still helps me scale myself by directing similar questions to a single forum post.
From 2010 -> 2015, I responded to almost all of my customer support emails. However, as my career & family obligations grew, I chose to stop. I could have done this more gracefully, but I was overwhelmed, and there was no “light at the end of the tunnel” with my flawed business model.
So… 3rd time’s the charm, right? As a test, maybe you can email me in 2 years & see if I respond.