July 2021 update

Hello 'ello 'ello :blush:

We have a few things to cover since the last update, let’s go.

The last year

It’s been strange, to say the absolute and trite minimum. And to be honest there’ve been times I’ve really struggled; that’s reflected in the rate of updates for Zevvle and the service quality — for that I’m sorry. Things are happening in the background that I’m excited to share, and we’ll get to that in a minute.

Something I’d like to mention is that Tim — my brother and co-founder — moved on to another adventure involving lots of bikes. His help was indispensable and we had a wonderful time working together. I didn’t mention it at the time because I was worried what it would look like — “Co-founder flees company with unpronounceable name” — but that was silly in hindsight; it was nothing of the sort.

On the bright side and a personal note, I moved onto a boat last July and, besides some wintery cold mornings, it’s been absolutely wonderful and great for my own health. I enjoy running a network from a boat; 10/10 would recommend.

The present

Although things have been a little quiet recently, I’m working on something in the background that I’m irrationally excited about. After a lull of feeling lost, I’m back to lying sleepless at night thinking about what I get to work on in the morning.

Building for the web, revised

When I started work on a new version of Zevvle for the web, the intentions were pure — build an app you can access from anywhere, without the gatekept app stores. But the way I went about it was less than ideal. For one it left the API hanging — one of my favourite parts of Zevvle — and not being critical to the app would inevitably leave it longing for love.

That is changing, and this new version I’m working on will completely dogfood the API, just like the original apps, yet much better. And fully accessible with dark mode available from the beginning! That sounds trivial, but it’s so nice. I missed The Darkness. There’ll also be some other new things to make it worth the wait…

I’m really happy with the progress so far, and I look forward to sharing it with you. Shitty apps and websites grind my gears, especially as many of them don’t give a thought to performance. My 5 year-old laptop weeps under the pressure which is absurd — rendering a screen with text, some buttons and a few colours shouldn’t require the stars to align (this talk by Jonathan Blow on modern software quality is great).

The web is wonderful, but there’s a lot of junk and I don’t want Zevvle to contribute to it. I also can’t wait to delete thousands of lines of code. Tim often reminded me of this, which is fitting:

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

Aspirations for the future

When starting Zevvle I reasoned by analogy — the happenings at Monzo HQ looked phenomenal, and I thought “that’s what I’m going to do in telecoms.” But honestly that’s not what I want to do; it’s not where my heart’s at.

I have no interest in creating an all-consuming behemoth or ascribing to the startup stereotype of “changing the world.” No, I simply want to enjoy myself and create a reliable service that customers love and that I’m proud of.

That lifts a weight and frees me to build Zevvle, not “the X of telecoms.” Everything doesn’t have to be Serious Business™, and I want Zevvle to be unique in a way that other companies might struggle with. Right now I’m working on making the core service amazing, but then…?

On being a bottleneck

Part of making Zevvle a reliable service is me getting out of the way. When the new app is live, I’m going to work on greasing the gears to make myself as useless as possible. Clearer designs, better FAQs, and more power to you.

Thank you for reading, and again I’m sorry about the lack of updates — I sometimes shy away from posting and focus on coding, which isn’t ideal. But no, I’m still here and working on it; thank you for being here. :slight_smile:


- Nick

Although it’s just me, for now(!), I’ll continue using ‘we’ and ‘our’ when referring to Zevvle!


Thanks @nick for the detailed update.

Isla bikes have an amazing reputation. Some day I’ll either buy one, or be able to hire them through The Bike Club for my kids.

There’s lots of companies where one of the co-founders goes off to do something else, so nothing really wrong there.

Moving into boats to live seems to be a common trend. I’ve come across a few people I know who have done it. Not sure it’s one for me though at this stage in my life.

I’m really liking the fact you’re making sure the API is needed, as it ensures that it gets the love that it really needs.

Wonderful to hear. The constant bloat and throwing more hardware at things isn’t necessarily the right way to go about things.

This reminds me of someone who made some cheese, and was happy making a fairly small manageable amount, and had no interest in going to mass production, who then got featured in Wallace and Grommit. It’s nice to have small companies who concentrate on having a wonderful product or service.

It’s also a good way to allow Zevvle to scale up and be able to keep costs down.

Looking forward to the further updates and new things coming to Zevvle.


Thank you, Shaun :slight_smile: I think you’ll like what I’ve been working on the last few days…


Living on a boat sounds amazing :open_mouth:


Are you planning to hire a backfill for your co-founder? It makes sense to have some redundancy capability considering that mobile phones are quite important in modern life.

Your initial worries were not totally unwarranted


Understood :pray:

Yes, although not immediately.

That’s why I wanted to emphasise a focus on reliability going forward, simplifying how Zevvle works on the business side. Comprehensive FAQs, automated alerts for network status, etc.

It won’t happen right away, but it’s what I’m working on at the moment. :slight_smile:

I’d love to aim for “5 nines” reliability (99.999% uptime, or a max of 5.26 minutes of downtime per year), and although possible from Zevvle’s API and app perspective, I’m not sure it’d make much sense given that we don’t control how our supplier or EE is run…