Category : Start-up

2012 October 31

Selene 1.0 Released!

It's alive! My iPhone app Selene is available on the App Store right now! People have downloaded it! People in Australia have downloaded it!


So it's time to ask for some help.

What it is: Selene is an iPhone app to help you chart your cycles simply, powerfully and beautifully. Know when you ovulate to help you conceive or avoid conception naturally!

Selene supports the Fertility Awareness method of identifying ovulation by tracking basal body temperature and cervical fluid.

How to get it: Download from the iPhone App Store.

More information:

There are two ways you could be really helpful to Sara and me right now:

  1. If you have an iPhone, download the app and give us a 5-star review on the App Store. There's no better way to promote the app in the store than by getting lots of good reviews!
  2. Rebroadcast this message! Especially if you have friends who are trying to conceive, or who avoid hormonal birth control for any reason. But the more people who give us a look right now, the better.
Either way, I'll be super grateful.

If you do end up downloading Selene as a result of this message, and want to keep using it, please let me know at and I'll send you a free activation code. Consider it a Grand Opening special.

Thanks, everyone! I've spent six months on this project so far, and now the rubber meets the road. If people actually start buying, then I might have a real business on my hands. It's a little frightening, like that moment when you're hanging in space at the top of the first hill on a roller coaster.

2003 September 24

That loathing feeling

I remember this feeling. This is the feeling of writhing frustration I felt in August when I decided it couldn't be worth dealing with the INS.

2003 September 10

No piece of the universe more fit for princes and kings

Monday night Bill got on my case again, like usual, about why I'm not moving back to Halifax. Only this time, I realized I no longer have a good answer. I could move back to Halifax, if I wanted to, now that I'm moving anyway. I'd need a different business plan than the one I've been working to, but then, that plan was designed when I thought I was carrying it out in Boston, and it needs to be revisited anyway.

I could move back to Halifax, if I wanted to. But I find myself strangely reluctant.

Don't get me wrong: I love Halifax. It's a great place, lots of life, beautiful setting, big enough to have culture but small enough to have affordable housing -- about the only real strike against it is the godawful sorry excuse for a Nova Scotia spring. My parents and one of my grandmothers live here, so they'd love to have me back in town, and I think I've had enough independence now that I could even handle that.

I've spent the past couple days trying to work out why I'm still hesitating, and I think the reason is this: I've changed a lot since I last lived in Halifax. I think I've grown; I've certainly become more confident, comfortable with risks, and I think also more big-city aggressive. I am half afraid that I've outgrown this city.

But then, my impression of the city is based on the people I knew when I lived here, and I was a different person then. It's entirely possible that, returning as an adult, I could build myself a very different social circle. It's not as if there's any lack of life in this town -- I was downtown this afternoon, and Spring Garden Rd was buzzing as much as Davis Square ever does, if not more.

So I don't know. I think I would like Toronto, but I have no particular attachment to the place, and it worries me to move somewhere where I don't know anyone. Even when I went to California I knew Dave and Dan but still had trouble making a social life; I'm not looking forward to starting again from scratch. On the other hand, do I really want to learn that I've outgrown my home town? I figure I have about a week at the most to make up my mind, because I've got to move out of my apartment in Somerville by the end of the month.

My title line, for those who don't recognize it (and I think this will be all the non-Maritimers) is from the folk tune "Song for the Mira":

Out on the Mira one warm afternoon
Old men go fishing with black line and spoon
And if they catch nothing they never complain
I wish I was with them again

Can you imagine a piece of the universe
More fit for princes and kings?
I'll give you ten of your cities
For Marion Bridge and the pleasure it brings
This would no doubt be the anthem of Nova Scotia, if "Farewell to Nova Scotia" didn't already hold that (unofficial) honour. Of course, given the subject of this entry, I'd probably be better off with a reference to "Barrett's Privateers", but I don't see a good line in there to grab.

The weather, meanwhile, has been absolutely gorgeous here: warm, sunny, and mostly dry. I've been out on the water most days, either in the little rowboat doing a lap end-to-end in the cove (about half a mile) or with my father in his new powerboat out in the harbour. Yesterday we went into the Northwest Arm past the Squadron, almost to the Dingle, and we've also been out to Portuguese Cove and across to the McNab's lighthouse. The views have stunningly beautiful -- the water a warm blue-almost-green you don't usually get in Nova Scotia, the sky clear turquoise, and in between bands of brown seaweed, beige granite, and deep green fir trees. When the weather cooperates, the scenery here can hold its own with any in the world, except possibly the fjords of Norway.

2003 September 5


Well, I am sad to annouce that I've given notice to my landlord in Boston, and will be moving to Toronto. I'm still not entirely sure this is the right decision, but I guess it's the one I'm going with.

The situation is:

  • To get a visa to start my business in the States, the INS requires me to show I've got a 'real and operating' enterprise, which is nearly impossible for me to prove. Usually for a startup they'll take things like signed leases and orders for inventory, but I don't actually have any of those things, and won't until January at least. (This is me getting bit by the flip side of having a business plan with low start-up costs.)
  • They require me to take all my available funds and put them into my company up front (well, what they really require is enough to show a substantial investment in the United States, but in my case that's all my available funds), which (a) creates an unnecessary taxable event, and (b) leaves me with nothing to live on, so I'd have to pay myself a salary out of the company, which I then have to pay income tax on. That is, I'd have to pay tax again on money that already belongs to me. That could amount to $500 a month, fairly easily.
  • And the E-2 application is generally a complete pain in the ass. I'm looking at at least forty or fifty pages of supporting documents.
If I had applied it would still have been October at least before I got a decision, and there's no way to be certain I'd have been approved even if I do all of the above. I seem to have one of those borderline visa-officer's-discretion cases, and I don't feel confident that the INS is giving anybody the benefit of the doubt these days. And I really don't want to hang around for another month or month and a half only to be told I have to leave anyway.

I feel like having come this far, there's no way I can let myself not carry through with the start-up plan, so moving back to Canada it is.

I'm returning to Boston next Thursday to pack up my things and so on, and then I'll take a U-haul to Toronto on the 29th. I'm bummed to have to leave -- there are a lot of you guys I'm going to miss. This is an 'indefinite' departure, but not for good if I can help it. Sooner or later either my business will be successful enough that I can expand into the American market, or it'll fail and I'll get a normal job again, or something. Feel free to vote for any candidates who advocate looser immigration rules.

I'm tentatively scheduling a house-cooling party for Saturday the 20th.

Happier news on how the whole project is coming along next time I post.

2003 August 7

Business-like activity

I'm plugging along with business stuff, though not with stunning productivity -- I'm at a point where most of my energy is going into figuring out what direction to charge off in more than actually doing any charging. Serendipity has taken a bit of a hand: I ran across an ad yesterday for an absolutely fabulous-sounding roommate deal in Toronto, completely unlooked for, and that has frankly got me thinking more seriously about that possibility. I'd love to work here, but the visa path honestly risks leaving me in limbo all autumn arguing with the INS, and that would be hell. Not having to worry about it would also mean I could structure my finances a bit more sensibly than I would have to if the INS were inspecting me. It's starting to look like a real option.

Meanwhile, I've been having some business meetings. Yesterday I talked with a graphic designer about doing some logo work for me -- I'm psyched by the idea of having a tangible look and feel for this operation, even if it's nothing more than samples and business cards. Just having a card that says "Eden Dinner Club" on it will go a long way to making this all seem real. We talked about a stylish Casablanca-esque motif, but we'll see how it goes.

Today I spent an hour and a half with a tax accountant, talking about ways to structure my corporate finances, filing requirements, deductible expenses, and games that can be played with payroll. Then I spent half an hour walking through Staples just looking at the insane array of filing devices, trays, organizers, fancy printer papers, shredders, boxes, and shelving. Didn't buy anything, but it's all cool.

Apart from the visa thing, I'm having a blast.


Older Start-up