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Life gets in the way – a BodyWise update

Edit Aug 27 – I’ve made some minor edits to the post. Upon reflection it didn’t tell the story as it was intended and came across harsher on our developer than I meant or felt.

At the end of the day, I haven’t led us to funding or significant-enough traction to pay him what he needs or deserves.

A team consisting of a product designer, personal trainer and a developer release an app.

App launches.

Developer’s personal circumstances change at about the same time. Suddenly, priorities change, things slow down, users find bugs and we find ourselves stuck.

Occasionally life throws things at you that completely change plans. The kind of things that aren’t anyones fault. Sometimes they’re the kind of things that are wonderful, yet counterproductive to your goals.

Here’s some notes on the past few months working building BodyWise


The last thirty days at BodyWise have been the toughest by a mile. As a guy that can design, make web things, has plenty of ideas and studied entrepreneurship, I’ve felt that my best ability was the ability to ship. I could come up with an idea and have always found a way of making it happen.

That skill-set has seen us launch a big app like BodyWise for less than $30k.


The lead up to launch

Our developer was on board for a mix of sweet sweet cash and a bit of equity. The equity was more to signify that we welcomed him to our team as one of us and a key cog in building out our vision. With a wife, mortgage and joining us a few months in, he didn’t have the same burning passion as us and was understandably always more motivated by the cash than Dave and myself who had the usual bills but no major commitments.

For the most part, he was fantastic and we got a hell of a lot done on a small budget. The project blew out from his initial estimation. Our penciled-in launch day came and passed. I told people the new date. That came and passed. Rinse and repeat.

Two months after the initial launch day I sent the email that I thought needed to be sent. “Fuck it. We need to launch” it said, or something along those lines.

He was nervous but I said I was OK with some bugs. I knew it was under-tested. I hadn’t even tested the FitBit/Jawbone integration that was so key to the user experience and that made getting data into the app easy.

So, we launched. The 14 days waiting in review with Apple were the longest 14 days of my life. A little nervous but mostly excited, ‘Your app is processing’ popped up on my screen. An hour later and it was on the phones of people in five continents.

Life gets in the way

We launched. As expected, there were bugs. Unfortunately, the bugs were pretty major. Facebook sign-up didn’t work for a lot of people (we pushed that as the preferred sign-up option) and syncing your FitBit or Jawbone didn’t work at all.

Being that we went out saying that BodyWise will make your Fitbit or Jawbone more interesting and useful, this wasn’t good.

About then I found out that our developer and his wife just learnt that they were expecting their first child.

His goalposts changed.

Suddenly, he seemed pissed off how much unpaid work he was doing. We started to talk about working as a freelancer so he could get paid.

I was OK with that. He had a family to look after and being involved with a start-up undoubtably effects your personal life. We needed a way to make both work.

Two weeks passed and we had no particular resolution. He was becoming harder to reach with his time spent on other paying projects. The bugs remained and took a long time to work through. Nothing seemed to be getting done on the back of a busy scheduled and time lost with the app in review with Apple. I was getting agitated.

I demanded a quote so we could put something in place and start working on the three parts of the app that we knew needed improvement, not to mention the two major bugs. The quote came back. “Fuck me mate, we can’t do that” I said to Dave. There was a sinking feeling that we had a major problem on our hands.

The quote had no discount. We were a self-funded start-up with limited cash. We’d sold businesses, put our income on the line and spent our house savings. We couldn’t afford the full-fee rates of a good developer after everything we’d invested. That wasn’t his fault, but it was the situation we were in.

We started to realize that his heart wasn’t in it as much as we wanted it to be. His circumstances had changed and as angry as I was, I knew he was doing the right thing by him and his family. If I was him, I don’t know if I’d be able to offer a discount or take on a project that was going to mean a little more stress on my wife, or having a few grand less in the bank to spend on my child.

At one point we even tried to pay him what he initially quoted, but by that point it was clear he wanted longer-term projects with more financial certainty.

Where the hell does that leave us?

The month or two since launch have seen bugger all happen on the development front. I’ve been scared, stressed and under-rested, wondering what is going to happen. For the first real time in my entrepreneurial life, I feel like things are out of my hands.

In a tech startup, all the best product design and management skills in the world don’t count for shit if you can’t get code written.

We needed a new developer but finding one proved 100x harder than I though it would. Not that I was experienced enough to realize it at the time but the decisions that I made earlier in development increased our risk and tied us closer to him. The more specialized your technology is, the narrower talent pool you have to pick from and with a single techie within a tech business, you have enormous risk.

What didn’t dawn on me that the iOS app & the backend server required separate skill-sets and that finding someone who is a gun at both and can pick up and understand the algorithms that we’ve built (but not yet released) would be incredibly hard in a place like Melbourne, especially without funding. Finding another talented Python developer with top notch Objective-C skills who isn’t snapped up by an agency or software company seemed impossible.

It would be easy enough finding a freelance iOS dev & a freelance Python dev but thats two sets of fees and potentially a dev-ops nightmare without a highly technical person left in the founding team.

Buying time

BodyWise can and I hope will be incredible. If we get it right, we will make tens of millions of people healthier and happier and make plenty of money for us and our investors in doing so. We can use the data from your iWatch, phone, FitBit, Jawbone or away-from-tech life to train you with more relevance, context and overall effectiveness than anything out there in the world.

Our product pathway is incredibly strong, we’ve got significant interest within healthcare, over 40,000 users and a decent position in a booming market at the heart of a major technology shift.

But, we’re on the ropes, spending our last dollars before going back to our personal assets and working out whats left to contribute.

We’ve got a developer on board for the short-term, building the three things that we feel the product desperately needs. Our old developer has been good and just about fixed the sign-up bug and sort of fixed the FitBit & Jawbone bug. Things are happening.

There’s no build it, learn, iterate, learn, iterate again approach for us with our resources right now though. We have to make some big calls on the product and hope to God we get them right.



I don’t know what will happen.

If you know a quality technical person wanting to take on the fitness training industry, FitBit, MyFitnessPal and the Jenny Craigs of the world, let me know.

Launch Day: BodyWise App

Well here I am again. Nearly a year to the day since I last threw myself into the madness of launching a product I find myself guzzling down coffee and hitting refresh on account dashboards and App Store rankings.

Today, my co-founder and I launch BodyWise – the simplest way to track your health & fitness. It’s for the analytical and number-driven. In short its for the ever-growing community of self quantifiers that want to use data to know more about themselves and ultimately, use that data to improve their health and fitness.


I started off seeing BodyWise as an app that I wanted to build for myself. I figured if we wanted to use it and there was nothing out there like it, we’d find a group of people that loved it. In the 3 months since the idea was born, the quantified self movement has really kicked on and wearable tech like Fitbit and Jawbone UP’s are on every tenth wrist.

It’s turned from something I saw as a cool app to something I see as a start-up with huge potential

Quite simply BodyWise lets you track your health & fitness metrics like no other app. The future for us will be building cool things around your health & fitness data. That might mean a new bread of portable trainer based on your data (imagine going for a run, falling short of last weeks performance and being told that you were 0.7L short of your necessary water intake or didn’t fuel your body with enough carbs) or it may mean training plans based on your goals that keep you accountable to the figures that you need to hit.

Download on the App Store or visit the BodyWise website

Is health & fitness data an area that you’re interested in? Get in touch with me as we’re open to working with investors and partners to help us not only track health & fitness data, but blow the market away with how we interpret it for you

BodyWise – Coming this August

I’ve always been a numbers man when it comes to my health and fitness. Whether it was marking down how many Red Bull’s I was having each week or asking my soccer coaches to time me each week in pre-season so that I could see how I was improving on my 2km time trials. Being able to see and analyse my progress kept me motivated and accountable.

When I returned from Canada I caught up with my mate Dave and started to talk business ideas. He’s a personal trainer and I noted to him the huge rise in wearable technology. He’d already heard of the FitBit Flex wristband that helped to measure sleep, distance moved and calories burned.

From there, the idea of an app that measured and tracked your health & fitness was born.

World, meet BodyWise


BodyWise (Check out our website or Facebook) is to become the ultimate body & health tracker iPhone app. Since the idea was conceived 2 months ago the health & fitness app market has become even more crowded. For mine, it doesn’t all click. Most health trackers only track fitness and ignore the rest of your health such as sleep, water intake, diet, etc., or they’re just too difficult to use.

If you’ve read the 4 hour body you’ll know that good health and fitness only starts with your physical activity. BodyWise builds on that philosophy and lets you monitor over 40 areas of your health and fitness.

BodyWise is:

  • For the curious and the analytical
  • A free download with in-app purchases to unlock extra things to monitor
  • A clean, uncluttered and iOS7 inspired (but improved) flat user interface
  • As easy to use for your Mum as your 20 year old next door neighbour
  • One-touch access to graph your latest results or enter your latest performance

BodyWise will become:

This is Version1. We love it but it’s only early days. We’re iterating every week and have a product roadmap of where we think this is going to go. Ultimately our users will decide but we’re planning integration with your favourite wearable tech (think Nike Fuelband, Fitbit Flex, Pebble and UP by Jawbone), something really cool with social integration (but BodyWise will never be socially driven) and a greater emphasis on the picture that your data paints.

For now, we’re just happy blowing everyone away with brilliant simplicity and a far wider range of health &amp fitness metrics to track.

Sign up here to be one of the first to know when it launches on the App Store