Andy Trattner

December 30, 2023

What's it about?

I'm surrounded by other writers typing away at Ada's Books & Cafe in Seattle. They're a friendly bunch, and the table asks as I sit down what I'm going to be working on this afternoon. "Oh, you have a blog, open to the public... wow... that's so brave!! What's it about?"

My superficial answers—just random thoughts, only handful of friends subscribe, travel in Ecuador, substitute for social media, professional reflections—don't really get to the essence of my religious awakening. Starting from the first post nearly 5 years ago, the essence of this blog is my voice-finding path to creative self-actualization.

The blog was born in a post-college time period, when I didn't know what to focus on. I vaguely told myself I would "get a PhD in life" instead of doing grad school. I didn't think deeply about career beyond the industry vs academia tradeoff. I just knew I couldn't specialize enough for grad school. But after a year in my new chosen "field of study", I was trying and already failing at my 3rd attempt to take root and make progress in the working world:
  1. San Diego - e3 Civic High, Data Officer + Teacher
  2. Seattle - private tutor
  3. St. Louis - chess instructor, Mathnasium, Uber driver

Blogging set me on the right track to align my daily actions with my muddled innermost thoughts. I articulated and aimed at longer-term, more practical goals. A year later, I had formed my professional identity enough (in San Francisco) to get a handle on my "thesis".

When I decided to level up from personal projects and launch my first startup two years ago, I fixated heavily on monthly investor updates. To me, these updates were the key focal points of company progress, the mechanism by which strategic planning occurred. Now that the company has (finally) been wound down, I've compiled the complete updates here for public consumption:

Senseg Monthly Investor Updates PDF

My blog has slowed down over time: first as I worked at Scale AI and ReadMe, then as I traveled fun-employed, and ultimately as I became a founder with Senseg. Perhaps this journey, as chronicled in my writing, represents the "PhD" shift from learning coursework and replicating known results (blog, tech jobs) to novel research contribution (investor updates, founding). I am proud to have followed the "scientific process" to the best of my ability and experience level, publishing regardless of the disappointing conclusion to my thesis and owning the results.

There have been many side projects throughout, but my newest big paper (as a "professor") is going well; Shuffle Dating has made significant progress in the months since I joined. I was hoping we'd get to $10k monthly revenue by end of year as a minimum goal. There have been more ups and downs than this chart indicates, and we are still below our ideal growth rate, but I'm happy overall with what we've accomplished so far.


We're not sure how much to share publicly yet (in our current form as a small lifestyle business), so this may be the first and last chart I publish. If you want to follow along with our monthly investor update, email me.

Working with my cofounder, Austin, as a fellow PI is one of the most delightful things about Shuffle. It's a miracle he remembered me from the Oregon high school State Chess Championships (2013, 2014 - below) and reached out just as I was pivoting Senseg, looking for the right software contract to pay my team of engineers.


Maybe it's not such a coincidence, though. Even aside from chess, we fit together remarkably well. For example, part of Austin's motivation to reach out to me was reading my blog. Later, after we had already become cofounders, I discovered that he had a strikingly similar (secret) blog!

Here is a sample of his early posts:

Versus a handful of mine:

At this point, my blog is very back-burner (and the same goes for Austin). We're currently focused on action more than reflection, putting our blogs' idea-web into practice: building the company, supporting our team, creating the culture, serving customers well, etc!

Although this was initially going to be a new year reflections post, it has turned into a meta-meditation on writing instead. Seems a good ending point. We'll see if I get to the reflections in another post... but I guess I'm not very concerned about it anymore.

About Andy Trattner