A retrospective on Multi

by Kofi Gumbs ·

Perhaps my favorite phase of any project is when I get to call it done. Multi has come a long way since its initial announcement. It was neat to have built a tool that (1) had become part of my daily workflow and (2) have so many interesting opportunities for extension. Neither of those points are true for me today, so I decided to make Multi free for new users.

Selling

Multi earned around $1500. In total, that’s a pretty impressive number to me: coming out to ~$100/month. The catch is that only 1/3 of those earnings came from sales. The rest came from an API extension I made to support another developer’s use case–contract work, essentially. I don’t have issues with contract work generally, but I don’t have capacity for any right now. Deducting that one-off, Multi maybe sells one or two licenses in a normal month, and that’s not enough to offset the support effort. I always suspected Multi would sell a bit more if I put in any amount of effort towards marketing, but I never gathered the enthusiasm for that. Marketing is the opposite of hacking.

Not proficient and not excited

For the most part, I’ve been able to resolve user issues as they come up. There are a couple bugs though that I can’t figure out. I’ve spent several hours looking into these issues, and ultimately those sessions leave me intimately aware of my unfamiliarity with macOS development. Reflecting on those experiences, I realized that I need at least one of the following conditions in order to stay motivated:

  1. I am in a professional setting: “I am being paid to solve this bug.”
  2. I am aiming for proficiency: “This bug is something I need to understand.”
  3. I am genuinely interested in the problem space: “What a fun bug!”

The previous section explains how Multi doesn’t fall under motivation #1. Since I no longer use Multi myself and am not aiming for proficiency in AppKit, Multi work has never fit into #2 and has gradually slipped out of #3. Thinking through that list helped me realize that I’m ready to move on to other projects.


Multi 2.1.4 is the first version that removes the license key checks. I will continue supporting Multi 2.1.3 installations until their license keys expire. I also plan to clean up the GitHub issues to make the project more amenable to outside contributions. If Multi stirs any of your core motivations, I hope you stop by!