art mobile Programming

Launching: Show & Hide

I launched a thing.

You can buy it for your iThing.

Please upvote it on ProductHunt.

What is the thing? It’s an image processing app. It allows you to make cool, partially colored images. It’s called Show & Hide.

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The longer and more personal story is: this has been a long term side project for me, and has been part of my life for the last ~2.5 years. It started as wanting to visualize a photo series, and as part of that I wrote an algorithm to detect the dominant color in an image. I started experimenting with making these partially colored images, wrote a book chapter on it (out soon) and finally… an iOS app where I optimized my algorithm for space and time. (Android is in an early Beta, holla if you want to test).

The story of how I left the tech industry – of how I built up my confidence enough to walk away – involves this project. The story of how I came back, how I reconnected with who I am as an engineer, how I convinced myself that I was capable… involves this project. It is the intersection of my love of photography, my fascination with art and color, and my need to make things. When I panic about what it means to release it, how I even explain it to the world, I call it my everything project. This, by the way, does not help.

I did some work with a branding person on it, and she coined the phrase “life is a process, not a filter”. Which is fitting, because the app itself is an image processing app, not a filtering app. But also because if I believe in anything, it’s the mindful application of process.

I have broken all the rules of how you decide what to build and how you launch something. But the process is the thing. The process was me building the most personal thing I could, and in that doing the most meaningful engineering work of my career.

A source of inspiration to me are those people who are building the kind of things, or companies, that only they could build. Where they combine the intersection of things that they are great at, the things they find fascinating, to create something exceptional.

If I want to do that, launching this is maybe step 3/1000. It’s terrifying. But it’s more than time.

I hope you like it, too.

Mega thanks and love to Show & Hide designer, my collaborator and friend Jakub.

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