Before I get into downloadable, a little bit of context how I ended up with this project..., followed by what downloadable is all about.
I was growing up in the building industry biased to become an architect. I worked in all areas from technician to super vision and project management for more than 20 years, but was always more passionate about everything involving computers rather than architecture itself. It started in college when my class was the first to use AutoCAD for their graduation and continued with the development of various AutoLISP programs to generate doors and windows for small to large scale AutoCAD projects in the years to come. I used AutoCAD from the early days in school, assisted our teacher(s) in CAD classes and taught my own classes after school to architects and engineers in adult education programs.
I started to program during college and despite me working for over 20 years as architect I was most of the time also a freelance programmer for various clients including McDonalds. At the time I wasn't actually present to the fact that I could (or should) have gone full time as programmer instead of being an architect. But you never know what it was good for...
That all changed when I moved to the UK in 2008, where I still continued to work as an architect but started to actually question my day to day work and what I was really passionate about.
Back in Austria I was working in an architectural practice with up to 30 staff, but when I moved to the UK I started out on my own, which required me to rethink my strategy of getting work done, and as a result I switched from AutoCAD to Revit, which helped me to get more output with less resources.
Once I got the hang of Revit I started to build various families (those are 3D components like windows, doors, etc.) to help me working even more efficient besides keeping a consistent style, which was quite challenging with families I found online. After building a few of the essentials like windows, doors, and some interior, I got approached by other architects asking if I would create families for them.
I already did the work of creating high quality families, so besides improving on various feature requests I thought it would be helpful if I would create a way for architects to purchase my families and provide them with updates so they could benefit from improvements that I would do over time. It turned out that this would be really helpful for many architects and other businesses using Revit for their design work which is how I got into running an e-commerce site for digital content. Revit Content, an online store for professional Revit families was born.
Downloadable, e-commerce for digital content
There is basically no shortage when it comes to services for running an online shop, however there is less choice for stores specialized in digital content than for selling physical goods.
Over the last 9 years of running Revit Content, I have probably tried every single e-commerce service as well as countless email marketing services, but haven't really found the one that does everything the way I would like it to work.
Various services offer a wide range of integrated features for content management, integration of checkout into the store (website), payment processing, content delivery, etc. and others offer integrations to handle those features through various other services. I might have high expectations when it comes to flexibility with digital content, no matter if that's in the area of bundles, free and paid updates, or how I do support for my customers. Simple things like invoicing (satisfying formal EU requirements), how to easily access purchased content, get reliable and flexible communication about updates, new releases, etc. those things sound like everyone should have thought those through by now, but no, I haven't found the whole package yet.
This is why I started a while ago to develop downloadable, which I want to be a fully featured service that's specialized on digital content, beautiful and simple to use.
My intention is to develop downloadable initially for my own use with Revit Content, but offer it as a paid service to others once it's proven to work, which I mean not just in a technical sense, but in actually helping to sustainably grow Revit Content as business.
During this journey I want to share as much as possible on progress, insights, results, etc. via this product diary. If you are in the digital content business and you aren't 100% happy with the service you are currently using, follow along and if you would like to help me to get it really right (not just for me, but also for you), get in touch with me.
That's it for today, an introduction on why I'm developing another e-commerce service specialized in digital content. Next time I will get more into where I'm so far and what's my plan for the first version to be actually used with Revit Content.
Yesterday evening we celebrated my first Book launch for Blind Spot Vol.2 which gave me the opportunity to write a chapter about my life, growing up as an architect before discovering my real passion for software development and the creation of digital products.
Before the event, I met our good friend Tracy J. Reid, who is best selling Author, and a very inspiring Lifestyle & Business coach, and she asked me "what I got out of writing my chapter in the book?" and "what's next for me after the book?".
I hesitated for some time and answered "I love writing, but so far I wrote mostly for myself, without publishing. I would actually love to write more...", which turned into a promise to her, that I would write my first post the next day and here we are...
Once that was said, we went then into clarity and consistency of writing, audience and other topics that I haven't really payed any attention to so far, as I haven't seen myself as a writer, but having written my story in Blind Spot Vol.2 and being part of this amazing and inspiring group of writers, I am actually a published writer.
My story published in the book was titled Do what you love & Love what you do, which tells my story of growing up in a profession that was my fathers dream, rather than mine, and how I discovered my own passion, moved abroad and started all over to build my own life from scratch. Part of this journey is my beloved wife who has been a key for me in discovering what's important in life.
One of those important areas was of course loving what I do, but another area that she helped me to discover recently was my health and well-being, which was for me all but important. I heavily abused my body for the majority of my life with unhealthy food, stress, little, or at best inconsistent sleep and no physical activity. Eating was for me a necessity and the importance was the brief moment of enjoyment while eating rather than the long term effect of how I would feel afterwards. As a result of this lifestyle I have been the majority of my life (about the last 40 years or so) obese, which effects me of course more and more the older I get.
About 5 month ago, I felt so tired and exhausted, that I asked my wife for help. As long as I know her, she was the absolute opposite from me with regards to eating, she was always focusing on how the food would impact her afterwards rather than just the pure enjoyment of the meal itself. Don't get me wrong, she knows how to enjoy a good and tasty meal, however she has that internal responsibility for her body & health that I have been missing for my entire life.
The goal was to not do any short lived diet or program, but just change my lifestyle in a long lasting, sustainable and joyful way. Long story short, as you can see in the following chart, my weight started to consistently drop from the day I made the conscious decision that my well being is really important to me.
I achieved that result by simply drinking more water, sleeping more, eating more vegetables and less sugar. I quit the gym and replaced it with regular walks through nature and don't cut out any particular food, but reduce portion sizes so that I still enjoy the moment but know that I still feel good afterwards.
We started from day one a daily journal, writing down everything we ate and the weight in the morning and evening, which helped us quite quickly to learn what food works and what we better avoid. This became invaluable in learning about our body and how we react to certain food.
I don't really have a clear end goal in mind as I don't do a diet, but I believe that my body will level out at a certain weight which is probably the one that is healthy and natural, so for now I believe that will be around 70kg, but I will see. However the quality of my life has dramatically improved, it's easier to focus, outdoor activities become more enjoyable and so far there is not a single downside or anything that I would miss.
This new lifestyle has become the new norm, which proves that it has been a lasting lifestyle change rather than a short lived diet. I'm by far just scratching the surface of discovering what I can do for my body & mind in order to be healthy & happy, however it's the crucial foundation that allows me to focus on the next area that I want to transform, the creation of a healthy and sustainable business ...
I was a cynical and cocky know-it-all. Some of my older posts are genuinely cringeworthy to read now: poorly written, cluelessly privileged, and even mean spirited. I’m ashamed to have written some of them.
But had I not written all those posts, good and bad, I wouldn’t be who I am today, which, hopefully, is a somewhat wiser person vectoring towards a better version of himself.
I had a personal realization recently: kottke.org isn’t so much a thing I’m making but a process I’m going through. A journey. A journey towards knowledge, discovery, empathy, connection, and a better way of seeing the world. Along the way, I’ve found myself and all of you.
I feel like I'm getting more cynical the older I get, or maybe it's just being more critical seeing what's going on in the world these days.
Thank you Jason Kottke for those empowering words. A journey worth taking...
Context for iOS was released at the end of 2017, it was bare bones and a starting point to build on. It lacked many features that you would expect from a productivity app these days. Based on our own use of Context, as well as various feature request from our early adopters, we began 2018 with a clear mission to catch up on the most important features as quick as possible.
Without further ado, here’s everything changed in Context for iOS during the first month of 2018...
Today marks another milestone in our journey to build a productivity service that focuses on getting things done as we officially release Context iOS to the App Store.
We released our first iOS beta mid-2016 and kept releasing feature after feature during this closed beta until we decided to completely start over earlier this August to focus on fundamentals first, and release to the App Store early and update often...
Last week I wrote about our decision to re-write Context from scratch. We made this decision around the beginning of August and now are just days away from publicly releasing Context for Web. As mentioned in my previous post, we decided to go with web first, as that allows us to build faster, experiment and update more often than we would do on iOS...
That’s the question we asked ourselves more than 3 years into working on Context.
I started this Medium publication to share the process behind the making of Context. That was our intention (inspired by Jonnie Hallman’s Journal How it’s made), however, so far I wrote mainly about beta updates and features rather than the actual making. With this post, I want to start changing that, and I hope you find the look behind the scenes interesting...
Today we add one of the most requested features, the Today Widget.
We haven’t been using iOS’s today widgets ourselves that much before, but that has dramatically changed since we have now our very own one :) Here are a few scenarios showing how our new Today Widget is super handy...
We use Context ourselves every single day and therefore we are one of the users that appreaciate not just complex features, but the little things that make a huge difference in the daily experience of using the app. This release is all about those little but very helpful things...
This beta was supposed to be bug fixes only, however we got lots of feedback from our beta testers, so we got straight to it and redesigned the entire app navigation, added proper iPad support and an all new Composer...