building an independent business · undo ink · Saskia Freeke’s playful ways to grow · two-handed card carry · artisan axes
Hello thoughtful builders,
The Muse team has spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of company we want to be.
In my career, I’ve been part of fast-growth, venture-backed startups that thrive on tech-press hype and Silicon Valley prestige, where the unstated goal is successively larger funding valuations rather than happy customers and a sustainable business.
I’ve also done the bootstrapper hustle: work a job or consulting gigs to pay the bills, squeeze in work on your product and business on evenings and weekends, burning the candle at both ends for years to get your business off the ground.
For Muse we’re trying a third path. We’ve taken a small amount of seed funding from the lovely Harrison Metal and a few supportive angels. It’s our intention this will be the only funding we ever take, and to use it to reach break-even revenue as soon as we can.
Ultimately this matters to you, a potential customer of Muse, because a sustainable business not dependent on funding outside of customer revenue means you can count on Muse existing, continuing to improve, and being focused on your needs for many years to come.
At last: you can undo inking and erasing.
This was a huge engineering effort, because it required switching the ink rendering from raster to vector. It paves the way for other benefits like ink that scales smoothly between device sizes.
Speaking of engineering: we’re hiring.
Multi-disciplinary creator Saskia Freeke lectures at universities, creates freestanding physical art pieces, and freelances in interaction design. But what grabbed my attention is her approach to generative art: a new piece every day.
One of our values at Muse is lifelong learning and personal growth. Saskia uses a unique approach for this: challenging herself to make a small new experiment every day for two years. She explains:
Phone use has trained us that touchscreens are normally used with only one hand at a time. One of Muse’s design goals is to make use of both hands for a more expressive gesture space.
One example of this that I personally use daily is the ”carry a card“ approach.
Start dragging one (or more) cards with a finger on one hand; then use the other hand to pinch in/out or scroll to navigate where you want the card.
Beautifully-written article about a totally real phenomenon: Our Lives in the Time of Extremely Fancy Axes.
American Felling Axe by Peter Buchanan-Smith