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Gift to My Girlfriend and Now to You

My girlfriend recently had ankle surgery.

The actual procedure was not terrible (as surgeries go), but the recovery process was, shall we say, not super fun. She was required to stay off her feet for 3ish weeks. During that time she was restrictued to sitting on the couch, day in and day out.

I tried to help take her mind off of things when I could and her friends sent her a lot of very thoughtful presents. (Thanks again, by the way!) However, I did have to go to work and couldn’t be around all the time.

Inspiration

A night or two into it, I had a thought: What if I could bring her a little happiness throughout the day even when I’m not around. An idea rushed into my brain. I ran over to my desk, cracked open my laptop, and begin furiously coding. 2 hours later, Hourly Puppy was up and running.

Version 1.0

The core concept was every hour, on the hour, show her a cute puppy. Deliver a little happiness every sixty minutes, even when I’m not around. She loved it. I’d get emails from her showing me her favorite of the day. (Her favorite of all time is this one.) Other times I’d be in the other room and hear a burst of laughter and joy when the hour flipped. I was thrilled.

Now For Everyone

A few weeks later I was chatting with a friend of mine and mentioned the idea. He (yes, he) loved it too. So I decided to polish it up so everyone could enjoy it.

Why?

I’ve had a few people ask why I’ve dedicated time to such a silly project. My response is why not?. Development work doesn’t always have to be about making money or building a business. I work on plenty of those types of projects through my consulting company.

One of my favorite recent quotes is from Twitter creator and Square CEO Jack Dorsey where he urges you to bake in some fun and whimsy into your projects. While HourlyPuppy might take this to an extreme, building and managing it has been immensely rewarding:

  • I made my girlfriend’s recovery easier, even if just a little
  • Each morning, I get to wake up and look at puppies as I load up the day’s queue
  • Random people send me really excited emails and pictures of their puppies
  • I learned a lot working on the site’s design and backend (especially the queuing system, which I’ll cover in a future post)

HourlyPuppy started out as a small gift to my girlfriend as a way to help her get through a difficult time. I hope it can bring a little happiness to your day as well, one hour at a time.

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