Goblin: why I fear the Duolingo owl, build in public (honestly), and mad libs

Goblin: why I fear the Duolingo owl, build in public (honestly), and mad libs
preview of the new Mission Logs and Report feature

Hi friends!

I can't believe it's only been 8 days since the MVP went live for Founding Goblins. I've felt lots of things since then: panic, joy, appreciation, overwhelm, happiness, and everything in between.

There are a handful of people that have been using the app daily since it went live and sending me tons of feedback. The community (Goblin Cave) is starting to pick up some traction. I feel like I'm going in a good direction and my heart is full ❤️‍🔥.

Building in Public

I follow a lot of companies/indie hackers that build in public and it's hard not to compare my company to theirs. It's the classic problem with social media.

Founders often post their wins so you end up seeing post after post of hot new features and rapidly growing monthly recurring revenue. Remember, that's not the whole picture! All small business owners struggle. There are ups and downs.

Running a startup is a rollercoaster. Some days I feel like I've got it all figured out and I'm filled with hope. Other days, I'm stressed out that there are so many features I want to add and so little time in the day. Balancing work and life is a continuous struggle.

It's good to post about the struggles too! I appreciate Allison Byers on Twitter--she's very good at being vulnerable and sharing her difficulties. (Btw--her company Scroobious is super cool).

I'm so impressed with founders that are parents.

I'm trying to be more balanced with my updates too:

I honestly feel like I should get some sort of Girl Scout badge for this rite of passage

You need to assume you're seeing updates on the best times of the company's life, like a scrapbook or Instagram. You can fill in the blanks with your imagination--picture founders working late at night on the couch in their sweatpants while drinking coffee, struggling to prioritize work/life balance, or the nervous panic on their faces as they check their company bank account.

App Updates

I've pushed 4 updates since the MVP release on the first! There are photos and more in depth descriptions in the Changelog.

Recent changes:

  • Overhauled the layout and added new sidequest features (marking tasks not complete, deleting them, and converting existing tasks to drafts)
  • Added a Shopping List page where you can track things you want or need to purchase (starting to work on the "life admin platform" side of things--I want Goblin to eventually remember everything for me to reduce mental clutter).

Music to listen to while you're reading your Mission Logs

Mission Logs and Report (deployed today):

  1. Once you wrap up your 2 mission tasks and at least a week has gone by, you'll see a big orange button to "wrap up the mission".
  2. To wrap up the mission, you answer 3 quick questions. There's also a "Mad Libs" section that's prefilled for you--you can either keep the suggested words or add your own.
  3. Next, you see the Mission Logs and Report page. The Mission Report shows statistics about the sidequests you completed during the mission so you can start to notice patterns.
The Mission Logs are a wild mad-libs-style retelling of your mission with a Dungeons and Dragons inspired storytelling vibe.

Photos here if you're interested. I didn't want to spoil it for those that want to be surprised by their first mission log.

To do lists, Jerry Seinfeld, and Esperanto

I used to Duolingo for learning Esperanto (< this is such a bizarrely interesting rabbit hole btw). I used it for close to a year. Duolingo is big into "streaks", much like Jerry Seinfeld calendar strategy, where you try to do something every single day to avoid breaking the streak.

It's a fun little mental trick. I think this works great for some people. For me, it doesn't work at all. The day I messed up my Duolingo streak I was devastated (which is crazy, why is this language app so intense) and I stopped using it forever.

so many people get anxiety from Duolingo that there's hundreds of memes about it

If I'm trying to write more, it would be GREAT if I wrote 7 days in a row. Fantastic. That's not going to happen though. It would be mentally exhausting for me to write every day. I need to use some free time to draw, watch movies, walk outside, etc, and recharge.

In the past, I would say that I was going to run 4x in a week and if I ran 3x in the week I would feel like a failure. Why though?? Running 3x in a week is fantastic and should be celebrated.

If streaks (or whatever productivity hack you use) works for you, that's fantastic! Keep using it. If it doesn't, let go of the guilt and anxiety that comes with it and try something new.

If you want to do X more, try to look at it as a long term pattern and use the streak as one source of data. If you set a goal of writing 4x a week and you write 2x a week, celebrate that! That's still progress. Don't feel guilty for not meeting your ambitious goals.

The best productivity hack is the one that works for you and keeps your interest--if a strategy is disastrous for you, let it go. If an app is giving you more anxiety than joy, let it go. Duolingo and Asana weren't right for me because they made me feel guilty and anxious (this is partially why I'm building Goblin--good vibes only).


Thank you so much! Your support means the world to me.

-Molly, Vision and Decision Goblin

I was obsessed with this album in middle school and it still holds up. Brass Monkey is sooo good.