About the makers


#1

Hey @erica and @shida!

I thought it would be nice if you guys told us a bit about yourselves and the behind the scenes of Dynalist:) Since you guys are always so friendly and in touch with the all the users, I really feel part of this journey.

So I was wondering, how much time do you guys put into Dynalist on a weekly basis, and when you’re not working on this, what do you do?


Dynalist Podcast?
#2

Thanks for the question! We wanted to talk about Dynalist here in this forum, but I guess we’re part of Dynalist too… oh well. :slight_smile:

@Shida seems a little busy at the moment, so I’ll go first. We started Dynalist (“Omniflow” back then) around March 2015, originally like a fun side project. We’ve done this kind of projects several times, and Omniflow was no different. We were still attending school at that time. (Our about page covered why we started Omniflow)

About two months later, we got a rough prototype and we started using it ourselves. It was pretty satisfying and so we wanted to put it out there so more people can use it. In May, we went down to San Francisco for internships, and we almost forgot about Omniflow. One day we thought to ourselves, if we continue to not work on Omniflow, it would just get nowhere like our previous side projects, so we tried submitting to Hacker News and got on the front page (link) briefly. The only thing that didn’t go well is that we told a friend to come check it out (who actually was using Omniflow at that time), and he left a good “review”, probably because he hasn’t used HN. That left a bad taste for some people…

After that, someone submitted Omniflow to Product Hunt and we got on Top 10 (I remember we were exactly No. 10, lucky!). That was back when PH wasn’t so crowded like it is today. We got a bunch of users from these two sources, which verified that there actually exist people who would want to use Omniflow!

So we worked on it some more during that summer internship, adding LaTeX and a bunch of polishes. Around July, we changed our name from Omniflow to Dynalist, due to potential legal reasons (“the Omni Group”). Starting from there, we kept working on Dynalist more and more, until it becomes what it is today. Up till now, we threw in around 6 months of full time and the rest are all part-time as students.

It’s hard to say how much time, since we never clocked the time we put in. I’d say around 30 hours a week when full time. When we have classes, it really depends on the schedule of assignments due and midterms :wink: .

When I’m not working… just like any other 23 year old I guess. I watch Game of Thrones and now Westworld. I read Hacker News and reddit everyday. Oh and we try to get enough sleep! :slight_smile:

That’s about it! Excited to see what @Shida has to say (I might have stolen most of his lines :wink: ).

Bonus (some screenshots from early Omniflow/Dynalist):

Evolution of our landing page:

It was indeed a fun journey! :blush:


#3

Oh, and I do need to spend a few hours on either admin or engineering stuff. So excuse me when I sometimes disappear from the forum for a few hours! :slight_smile:


#4

This is awesome.

I didn’t realise you guys were still students! How long have you got left on your course?


#5

I graduated back in August, @Shida is still an undergrad. :slight_smile:


#6

Have you been working Dynalist only since then? What do you think is next for you?

Surely you mean is a fun journey… :laughing:


#7

No we’ve been working on Dynalist since March 2015, except maybe for 2 months before we posted on Hacker News, plus a month where I was in hospital.

As for what’s next, I’m currently working on this full-time, and that’s the plan for the next year or so. It’s really hard to say what happens after a year as everything changes all the time.

Oops, my bad! :sweat_smile:


#8

Ah my bad, I meant full time since then (since graduating). Okay thanks!! Sorry to hear about your being in hospital…


#9

Haha don’t worry it’s all good now.

And yes, I’ve been working on Dynalist full time since graduation.


#10

Sorry for being SOOOOOO late! I’ve been pretty busy wrapping up Dynalist for Mac and Linux for our upcoming private beta.

I think @Erica summed it up pretty well. We’re based in Ontario, Canada, and we both attended the University of Waterloo. While we were attending school, we had the opportunity to go on an internship every other 4 months starting from first year, all thanks to the co-op program offered by the university. I think it’s safe to say that Erica had gotten plenty of experience working in smaller teams, such as MappedIn and Quizlet, while I’ve gotten a chance to work at larger companies like LinkedIn and Dropbox.

Our work is pretty evenly divided. I’m mostly in charge of the hardcore engineering part of Dynalist, from the sync algorithm powering Dynalist all the way back to keeping the servers running. In between, we collaboratively work on Dynalist’s interface. Finally, Erica leads our design efforts as well as most of our user-facing work, such replying to support emails, taking care of the forum, writing our blog posts, etc.

As @Erica said, we’re both working full time on Dynalist. Well, almost. I have one more term of school to attend before I graduate, but if the past is of any indication, that stuff doesn’t need much of my attention.

Out side of Dynalist, I’d like to mention that we’re both foodies. We love cooking, and @Erica makes great Chinese food.


#11

You’re Canadian…you’re foodies…and you write great software…! You got it going on…:slight_smile:

My wife is a Toronto native…what a great city!


#12

You two are the friendliest developers of any program I’ve ever used. It’s great to get to know you more! I am an undergraduate too, by the way, graduating in May! :slight_smile:

This is a very nice little community here. I use lists for everything so I keep finding myself coming back. We should have an off-topic section to talk about Game of Thrones!

Could you elaborate on this? What’s wrong with a good review?


#13

It’s so good that it’s easily considered fake. Here’s the link to the review: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9672090

Haha, thanks! Feel free to @ us if anything needs our attention :slight_smile:


#14

To chime in on the well-wishes - yeah, what everyone else said + it’s immensely satisfying seeing DL take the form it is, shaped by an active community, keep on keeping on you guys! :ok_hand: