Why I Open-Sourced My Calendar App After 2 Years

What’s The App

Compass Calendar is a weekly planner for minimalists. It helps you prioritize by forcing you to categorize tasks as weekly or monthly. You can only have 9 unscheduled tasks per week/month. Once you hit that limit, you’ll have to time-block or delay a task.

This forces you to get real about your schedule, while also having the flexibility to change it easily.

Layout of the calendar app

The main features include:

  • Drag & drop tasks onto calendar — easy rescheduling
  • 1-click to migrate tasks forward/back — easy rescheduling
  • Shortcuts — speed, accessibility
  • 3 tags: Self, Work, Relationships — visualize your priorities
  • Hide times, collapse sidebars — minimal view
  • 2-way sync with Google Calendar — compatible with your existing workflow

Why I Open-Sourced It

It wasn’t going to make enough revenue in the short term.

I initially planned on following the venture capital playbook:

  • ✅ Validate market through research and shipping a proof-of-concept
  • ✅ Launch a v1 to demonstrate value and competency
  • 🔳 Find a co-founder
  • 🔳 Raise seed money
  • 🔳 Find product-market-fit
  • 🔳 Scale

After learning more about that model, I decided it wasn’t right for me. Without the possibility of outside capital, I had to figure out how to grow the old-fashioned way: by generating revenue. I had trouble attracting enough consumer users to counteract their price sensitivity. So, I researched how to change the product into one that businesses would use. After lots of reading and conversation, I found three business models that I believed could generate adequate revenue quickly.

I picked one, made a roadmap, and checked it twice. It looked nice. Yay!

Then I remembered: I’m tired & lonely.

I had been talking to five potential co-founders. I was optimistic that I’d partner with at least one of them. But when I pitched them the idea of transitioning from a VC to a bootstrapped model, they lost interest.

With runway and morale sinking, I decided I didn’t want to keep grinding at this alone. Finding a job was an easier way to get revenue and teammates, so I accepted a six-month contract as a developer for a big company.

I tried to sell Compass, but couldn’t do so at a price that I felt good about.

I considered keeping the code private to give myself the option to incorporate it into future products or spin out the Google Calendar integration into one of its own.

Those would be long-term plays. I needed a short term win.

Open-sourcing would help me build goodwill and authority, which could lead to future clients and teammates. Knowing that someone could also use my code to kickstart their own app makes me feel good, too.

So, I open-sourced it:


PS. Open-sourcing the right way is more complicated that I expected. If you're considering open-sourcing a project, checkout my open-source launch checklist -- it'll save ya a lot of headaches.


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