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I wandered off and built an IDE (querystorm.com)
1053 points by anakic on April 6, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 256 comments

This article is not a repeat. You're being unnecessarily dismissive of what is actually a pretty entertaining read.

Congratulations anakic, I hope it takes off.

Yeah, it pretty easy to see it in my history, congrats. I posted about the project multiple times while I was working on it over the last four years. I also mention posting on HackerNews in the article.

Looks like this attempt is the winner!

Absolutely!:) I didn't expect this at all. I had to write 5 articles as part of my last milestone for HugeThing (accelerator) and share them somewhere. I wrote four technical ones in a day and a half. I then struggled with this one for three days. Had no idea where I'd share it or if I was going to use it at all. Finished it up this morning, and figured what the heck, I'll post it on HN. Probably no one's going to read it. Holy moly, was I wrong. Immediately posted on Reddit too, where it went through the roof.

Doesnt it feel good to post about what interests you, on your own terms, without a care for if anyone even cares, and then it blows up?

Yes sir, it certainly does.

Is there a DMOZ meets Reddit out there?


That was an enjoyable read! I have also tried qutting my job as a developer, tried making money by working for myself (and focusing on developing features instead of actually making money, same as you), then returning to a "proper job" as an engineer. There were many recognizable moments in the blog post.

I once took a course in entrepreneurship, as a distraction from computer science, and the bottom line is that to make money you should first try to find someone willing to hand you their money, and then put the effort into making the product or service. But, as a developer, it's soul-wrenching and just feels wrong to try to sell something before something proper has even been made. But I've seen it work many times, you just need sales people that are not afraid of making up products while they go, with both the profit and stress that follows.

I'm glad you found a good opportunity with an accelerator, good luck with the next adventure!

Thanks for the thoughtful comment! This is my first try at entrepreneurship. I'd be lying if I said that I'm always sure it was worth it. Most of the time, though, I really think it is, regardless of if it's commercially a success or not. Probably sounds corny, but for a product to work commercially, it needs to have both passion from your end and usefulness on the other. I think if there's no passion, it's probably not going anywhere and even if it does it's not worth it.

Really cool stuff!

But, as a developer, it's soul-wrenching and just feels wrong to try to sell something before something proper has even been made.

This has been my biggest struggle.

In my experience, technical people latently believe the thing that people buy from you is a product. So if the product isn't done / ready / etc, then you are being misleading trying to "sell" them or engage with them. It feels wrong, like you're forced to misrepresent yourself.

You imagine the potential buyer as a hyper-critical power-user that will expect everything to be perfect.

But what if the above isn't true at all? What if the potential buyer is buying something more abstract? Like a solution to a problem; or even the chance at future resolution of a painful problem?

And what if they aren't power users? But just need basic help today that could grow into something better tomorrow?

Like, what if they just need a partner to help them solve a painful part of their work, and would be willing to put up with a lot of incomplete stuff to get that?

In that case, reaching out to them to "sell" them in the early days is basically saying "Hey, I'm starting to build XYZ that solves problem ABC. My goal is that it would help by doing DEF. Do you have that problem? I'm early on in the process, and looking for lots of feedback from potential users. Would you be interested in checking out my prototype / designs / thinking on this?"

That doesn't seem "soul-wrenching" or disingenuous or anything like that. It feels very authentic. You're making yourself somewhat vulnerable and portraying yourself as eager to learn and help.

IMO early stage entrepreneurship consists of finding a problem bad enough that non-trivial amount of people say "sure, let's talk" to that pitch and then working with those early users to build something useful.

This shift in perspective has been critical for me. Similarly, it is critical to ask “Whose problem am I solving?”

I am an engineer and tinkering with tech brings me pleasure from creating, I crave mental stimulation, and I get immense satisfaction from havingright things in right places”. Polishing the code is like polishing the car engine for a petrolhead.

But those are my problems and triggers. I am feeding _my_ needs, then implicitly expect other people to give me _their_ money for doing this. Because look how hard I toiled! Yet many people do not care how polished their car engine is. And I have never seen clean code that was generating revenue.

The critical shift was to accept that people and have needs I don’t have, and they are desperate to solve them. And their professional lives are often painful - I get frustrated when I spend a day with almost any professional outside of tech. “This is the shit you have to put up with to get anything done??!” I haven’t had that problem since teens, if ever, and I can fix it. Automatically, empathy takes over, and I want to rescue them from the daily dread. So I wire together a minimal app that will make them glow with delight for 6 months, and they’ll give me dollars in return. Today was a good day, because two strangers supported each other and did not focus entirely on themselves.

If it were up to me, everyone would get a juicy steak. But when going fishing it’s more effective to bring worms.

That really is some great insight into entrepreneurship. I have that same problem of wanting everything to be perfect before showing it to anyone.

This is a very clear articulation of my professional experience as well. I feel like I have to drop out of "aesthetic perfection" mode in order to just do what I can to help someone else; and and that is what they will actually pay for, since they don't care about the perfection of fine details.

IMO early stage entrepreneurship consists of finding a problem bad enough that non-trivial amount of people say "sure, let's talk" to that pitch and then working with those early users to build something useful.

This is hard for a certain class of problems, though- ones where people have to be convinced that the (1) there is a problem and (2) they should care about doing something about it. The first (modern) electric cars and the first home computers come to mind.

But that's really just a nitpick. I believe your point overall is correct- you're selling a solution or a dream.

This has been my perspective. It surprises me how many people (including non-technical people) have a problem with simply going “hey I’m working on solving this problem. Would you be interested in giving me some feedback?”. Or even the less forthcoming and more morally ambiguous pretend that the product exists/is being built. don’t build anything yet. seek idea feedback from potential users. maybe even grow the community first. only actually build the product once you have enough data to show that people actually want it. invite the most vocal people to use it first. when ready to launch, launch with actual users on day one

I’ve worked with “seasoned” business experts, MBA’s who run multimillion dollar companies themselves, etc, who had a problem with this just out of principal. I once put up a website for a personal startup project with a “give us your email and we’ll send you the white paper” form — and the white paper didn’t exist (although the raw data that would be used to produce the paper did). When one of my mentors who was examining the website wanted to see the white paper, and I said “it doesn’t exist (yet), I just want people to show me that they are interested in it, otherwise this project is not really solving a big enough problem. So far nobody has requested to see it.”... they were LIVID. They could never trust me again after that, even after I tried to explain the reasoning.

So what if the first person asks for it and it takes a day or two to arrive? If only one person ever asks for it, it’s not a big enough problem anyway. But the mentor was seeing it from the perspective of how it would look if they did that in their multi-million-dollar company with their fortune 100 clients. But their rules did not apply for my situation. My situation was that I don’t even have a profitable company with customers. That I want to build things that people want, and the sooner I can figure out it’s not worth pursuing, the sooner I can move on to other ventures. So if during this journey I create a white-paper request button, and nobody ever clicks it, did it even exist?

Builder's sell houses before they build them. I think developers often are intimidated because they might not be certain they can deliver. Nobody with a minimum of experience would hesitate to take 1000 for a quick gig, because it's obviously going to work out. So we need to prove ourselves to ourselves first, and then we will have the confidence to take on larger, more lucrative contracts.

Sometimes. Most builders work both ways: They one's I've worked with closely seem to be about 3/4ths build to order, 1/4th build for sale after. The spec houses are carefully designed to be cheap to build (without sacrificing quality) and look great on the market so they will sell/close fast. Builders want a good looking spec house to show potential custom buyers.

Even when they build spec houses (sometimes crap), they are paid first / at milestones by a bank or investor group. They don't hesitate to take on the job because they are confident in their capacities, which is my main point.

Building a house is very different from building a product. For example, timeline estimates for building a house can be reasonably ascertained; not so for software.

It's the distinction between building something you've built before and architecting a new bridge or building. The latter is a creative effort with lots of variables that are extraordinarily hard to pin down into estimates that would be acceptable in spec house construction.

So, your spec house is the yet-another-crud-webapp, where the spec is clear and the tech mature... Engineers do those too, but they aren't so much entrepreneurs as jobbing contractors or agencies

It's fine to move the analogy, but the point remains the same: The more confident you are in your own capacities, the easier it is to bid on a project. And to be confident in your capacities without it being simple hubris, you need to do difficult things that demonstrate to yourself what you are capable of accomplishing.

Yeah, I think most developers struggle with this one.

I have a friend that is like he's born for being in sales. He loves money and have almost no moral qualms when it comes to selling (but paradoxically have a heart of gold when it comes to charity and being nice to people).

Some people actually enjoy making lofty promises for money. I guess that's part of why being in a team is a good idea.

This. Absolutely agree with both points. Going it alone is hard, and developers have issues with self promotion. Sales seems like dirty word to us. The thing is, when I'm the customer, I don't mind being sold to. As long as it's not a flat out lie, I actually find I appreciate the stuff I buy more if the sales person made me feel good about it.

I think it's worth pointing out that in order to "sell" to investors (as opposed to customers), having the product (and the customers!) ready actually is very important.

So the proper sequence is:

    1. Sell.
    2. Build.
    3. Pitch to investors.
    4. Repeat with more resources.
Inexperienced non-technical founders sometimes get the steps 1-3 backwards.

reconciling creativity with the market is a really longstanding problem in lots of areas. so I'm really interested in discussion that leads to any insight.

I'm curious about 1 before 2. Any attempt I've made in the past to understand market interest without having something that people can actually touch has always been really squishy. People aren't that interested to talk, when you do they always say something like 'well, sure, I guess that sounds interesting'. People that seem really interested usually don't have enough bandwidth for a beta product evaluation, even though they will say they are really excited and want to help. Often, product uptake comes from an unexpected direction/vertical, just by accident.

So while in principle getting customer-based design information up front is ideal, in practice it seems like you don't get that much no matter how much you try.

Maybe you're suggesting iterating on 1 and 2 until you feel like you have a solid case for 3?

Yeah I tried this too and you're right: people will say they will buy stuff, but when it's time to pull out their wallet it's often a different story.

I think that is why point 1 is "Sell," not "Interview" or "Imaginary sell." For example, some people put up a web page, run some ads, and have a complete signup process that once the CC is entered they get a "thanks for your interest- we'll be in touch when we get it built and by the way we didn't really charge your CC."

We've had discussions before on this board about whether or not that's ethical, IIRC.

> 'well, sure, I guess that sounds interesting'

I think the question boils down to: would you be willing to spend the next few years of your life on a 'well, sure, I guess that sounds interesting'?

There are all kinds of people. Early adopters are usually who a startup would want to start off with. If you can’t find even a few people who are excited about the value that your nonexistent product would add to their life (not even yourself as a user?), should you be excited about building it?

Money talks. You want people who are excited enough about what you’re building to give you money for a nonexistent product/service. Via Preorders, kickstarters, etc. Words can be cheap, but once they’ve bought in you can value their feedback.

IMO, once you reach a certain level of comfortability as a developer it doesn't feel wrong at all to try to sell something before it's made.

I know I could solve whatever problem it is by leveraging a lot of my existing patterns and code. Once you know enough about a domain the coding and configuration becomes an afterthought.

Here is how I have rectified this for myself (though I am not the hardcore developed of some on HN, I've hacked a lot of stuff together for fun and profit).

Developers rarely know what users really want in advance. Hell, even users don't know what users really want. Re-writes are time consuming (and, to me, boring), it is easier to do the minimal amount of work first, demo that, take feedback, and then build it out.

However, going into this you need to have faith in yourself that you can deliver something good, and on time. If you have that confidence in yourself that you can deliver the functionality expected in a reasonable time frame, you can possibly be more comfortable selling ahead of your delivery schedule.

I think that there's a rising "Maker" culture that focuses on building first and launching fast.

For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6reLWfFNer0

@levelsio also published a book on the subject recently.

Do you happen to know the title of the book?


It's pretty good so far

That is very interesting, thank you!

I would argue the you go the lesson slightly wrong. As a technical person you start with your great idea and get it working (not working is not the same as polished!). Then you HIRE someone who is great at marketing to help you figure out where it needs to be polished to sell it. The great marketing person will then do the work go get sales.

Note, if you were a marketing person your lesson would be correct: you find the idea that someone will pay for and build it, then you HIRE the technical people who can build it. Marketing people are great at figuring this out.

The above are two very different, but successful approaches to creating a business, with different results. The technical first approach asks "what can technology do" and creates the next revolution. The marketing first approach ask what will people pay for, and creates the next evolution. Both are very valid approaches that can lead to riches. It is very common - even in business schools that should know better - it not recognize that a technical approach can work.

Having built some very cool things that in the end nobody bought, I strongly disagree that one should just build the thing and then try to sell it. I also disagree that these two approaches lead to evolution vs revolution.

Even if you have a revolutionary idea, and even if you can build it, it's still a waste of time if nobody will buy it. No matter how revolutionary your idea, you can try marketing it. If you are eventually going to sell it via a website, just build that website. If you're eventually going to sell it in person, just sell it in person. If you need a video demo, just make the demo. Then see what people do.

There are two reasons for this. The obvious reason is that you can save years of your life building something that nobody will pay for. But the subtle reason is that finding out what people actually want will usefully inform what you build. You can spend those years building the revolutionary product that people will buy, rather than the not-on-target product that they won't.

The techniques for this are not hard, and the Lean Startup literature has plenty to get people started. E.g., the Alvarez book on Lean Customer Development: https://www.amazon.com/Lean-Customer-Development-Building-Cu...

(And this is not to say that people shouldn't obsessively build things that interest them. I like doing that. It's a great way to learn and explore. But they shouldn't pretend that's a good way to start a business, any more than amateur musical noodling in one's basement is likely to produce the next #1 pop hit.)

So I entirely believed this advice, completely and absolutely. And then I started my current project.

I'm working on a thing now which no one believes is possible in the AI space (and to be honest I didn't either).

So I built a tech demo which proved to myself that it really does work.

Now I do the "I'm doing XXXX", get the cynical "yeah right" look, but the idea is interesting enough that people are prepared to see the 30 second demo.

The demo is pretty cool.

After the demo I've had people ask if they can invest, without me asking, and I think every person I've demoed to thinks they would either buy it or know someone who would.

So I'd caution that not all advice is correct in every situation.

I'm not sure what you say is contradictory. You didn't go build a product. You especially didn't spend 4 years (and 1 relationship) building a product.

From what you say, you did some technical exploration (which again, I'm all for). Then you didn't make a full product, ujust a 30-second demo. Next you went and tested the "people want this" hypothesis. That sounds very much in line with Lean Startup advice.

I think a tech demo is in line with this thinking - selling it first doesn't mean there can't be anything of substance. It means you didn't invest a year of your life taking the tech demo and making a full-blown product out of it before showing it to people. I think many products have substance that people would buy but the execution is way off and it makes it unappealing.

Sounds like you need to re-read what was written because your approach falls in the same line of thinking. Creating a demo is part of sales, even if you had to develop something in order to create that demo. You’re not asking people to integrate your finished product into their life, you’re asking them to view a 30 second demo. And then they’re reaching out to you and asking if you would take some of their money off their hands. Great!

What I wrote is in no way contradictory to your experience.

Great tech MUST be sold, once you have the proof of concept you must get someone great at marketing on board to help you sell it. There are plenty of great marketers who can help you with this (for a price...).

My only point is as a great technical person you start with getting it working before trying to sell it. Once it is working great marketing people will come on board and help you sell it - that is partially a matter of finding customers and partially a matter of making you admit those hard rough edges need to be fixed.

I believe what you say is directly contradictory. I'm suggesting you definitely not get it working before you try to sell it.

For most product ideas, the key question isn't, "Is this possible to build?" It's, "Will enough people buy it to make a sustainable business?"

That is to say, the greater risk of failure comes from lack of demand, not lack of technical competence. The greater risk should generally be addressed first.

This is compounded by the fact that it's usually much easier to test the "people will buy X" hypothesis than the "I can build X" hypothesis. Or, put differently, the cost of reducing market risk is usually lower than reducing technical risk.

Furthermore, even if we're in the rare case of working on something where technical risk is significant, we generally don't need to get a real, working product to reduce that risk sufficiently. Some technical experiments are generally sufficient to put us back in the realm of, "Yes, we can make that product."

Slow down. We are both right and both wrong. Figuring out how the reasons apply to you is half the battle.

As a technical person you are better at getting it working so spending a couple weeks getting a working prototype is worth the effort, it might be ugly but it builds trust that it can work. If the idea is radical your potential investors/customers won't believe it is possible.

The real problem is until you have enough paying customers to pay everybody you are living on borrowed money. How you best borrow the money is the only question, and the answer if different for every situation. Some ideas are so obvious when seen that you can get millions from investors. Some ideas will get the "that ain't possible" reaction until you show them the finished product when they will beg you to take their money. Some ideas look cool but nobody is willing to actually pay for them. Some ideas are cool and will generate sales - but never enough to pay for all the people required to make the product. You have to figure out where you are.

> As a technical person you start with your great idea and get it working

This starts from the (potentially flawed) assumption that your great idea is actually saleable. If you build something and prove that there is at least some market then great. But you might build something and find that there is no market.

If instead you start with the market, then you are unlikely to be pointlessly building something.


The opposite approach has equal risks: you start with a saleable idea that just isn't possible (or is possible but the costs are more than the sales will ever cover).

Either way it is critical have points where you decide if further effort is worth the investment. You have to make some investment in time/effort/money to find that out, if the answer is the product isn't worth the investment all your efforts to this point are wasted.

There's been a few startups that forked off from my employer, but none of them started off as "here's a bag of money, go and make something" - they always started from one of our customers having a need, and being willing to invest and be a pilot / first user.

Ten years later, that first startup scored a 100M funding round.

Yeah, it's quite difficult to sell and quite easy to start wondering if what you're doing is valuable to anyone. If the need and the willingness to pay are already there, that's a perfect opportunity. Good on them!

Accurate. In understatementship it’s called “over-promise”. But inventing non existing products or features is the current industry standard in startups. Call it fraud, call it marketing, get used to it.

“You might be surprised to learn that in a developer’s life, there aren’t all that many chances to impress girls with your coding skills.”

Ha ha. When my wife and I were new she asked to use my laptop and was surprised that it “had no icons”. (No window system). So I started to show her how to avoid using a GUI. 12 years later she uses a terminal about half of her time as a stock administrator.

Heh, still, chances aren't many.

So far I've managed to seriously impress my SO with my computing skills just once. People from her old company asked if she'd like a side gig, involving backing up years worth of philosophical Facebook posts of their boss (he's quite a writer), into Word documents (one per post). It would be ridiculous to attempt it by hand, but by applying a small amount of Lisp and pandoc on Facebook data export dump, I was done in 3 hours.

These days I mostly help her when she needs bunch of photos mangled into a format that can be accepted by upstream contractors; it usually involves some ImageMagick one-liners.

It’s not always boys impressing girls though. Reason why I am in tech is a girl showed me how to delete a read only file from a terminal. I had never used a terminal before.

Impressed a girl once who's friend had a Mac Classic with important files that needed to be removed. The only removable storage option was a broken floppy drive. It did have a network card, but couldn't find any way to move files to my modern mac, linux, or windows machines over the network.

It did have an ancient version of Netscape, so I tried to upload the files, but the browser was just too old to handle Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other service I could think of. An obvious solution, then, would be an upload service built for ancient browsers.

So, in about 5 minutes flat I made a sinatra app that used the simplest HTML upload form possible and dumped uploaded files to a folder on my desktop machine.

Maybe there was an easier solution I missed, but she found mine quite impressive.

You must see the faces of everyone when using my computer (is more effective this way!) they discover it can move the mouse cursor between MONITORS!

(I have 2. A TV and Screen. Somehow not connect that both are monitors...)

The face of disbelieve is amazing. It impress the girls everytime. Is super-effective!


A better anecdote was when I was in an incubator years ago. I was located in front of the main big-glass entrance. My monitor face it, so everyone that get in see what I was doing.

And suddenly a dozen or more of kids get in in the exact moment when I was moving some screens around the monitors...


Everyone say!

My wife is the only non-dev, family or friend, male or female, who I ever convinced to switch to Linux from Windows/Mac and who actually loved it and stuck with it despite me being a major Linux evangelist for about 10 years. Coincidence? (Although sadly I've now caved and use Mac and she's on a Chromebook. Fucking kids have ruined us!)

One of my ex-girlfriends switched to Ubuntu on my suggestion. Hilariously, the guy she cheated on me with and left me for bonded with her over it originally!

Could I ask what she uses, what you showed her, what she loves about it? I haven't had any success myself and would love to hear more about yours

Textbased internet surfing must be awesome.

You would be quite surprised actually. Try it and see how often you decide to use it over a graphical browser.

What do you use? -- I've tried with lynx and its ilk but I find that too many websites these days are completely broken without javascript, and the layout often unreadable without CSS.

Lynx, plus I have made my own enhancements over the years for the way I like to browse.

I would just need a few bookmarks really. Although I do like to open dev tools and see what some people are doing sometimes.

It actually is. You could try it (lynx) and see for yourself. It considerably reduces distractions.

Replying from lynx; this is awesome. What kind of mods do people put on this?

I use Lynx as a "distraction free mode" when I'm learning a new language from a good web resource. I'll split the terminal (terminator) vertically in two, then split the right part horizontally. Left: web page. Right upper: playground (REPL or edit & compile). Right lower: Markdown notes in vim.

FYI, Google Sheets has limited SQL support via their =QUERY() function:


This has come in handy for me recently, but it's painful to try and edit even a simple SQL query in the cell edit field. However, it's super convenient to have this capability built into the spreadsheet.

Marketing idea for QueryStorm: guides that apply your tool for specific data analysis/workflow challenges. You might benefit from looking for the popular guides for Google Sheets that rely heavily on QUERY(). Then you can translate those for Excel/QueryStorm and suddenly you've got answers for "How to do XYZ in Excel" that promote your tool.

This is a fantastic idea. Several years ago I worked for a startup that sold a series of very niche services, and this technique produced probably about 80% of our web traffic.

This is exactly how I ended up at Digital Ocean (and some other paid services). Very effective!

+1, this has saved my butt a few times

I really like this guy's tenacity and clever use of excel. But from my experience you can use excel files as an ODBC database source (Windows).


Once you create your ODBC source from the excel files, you can run queries and use the language of your choice (Python,C# ....). I am pretty sure you can also insert/update rows and columns too.

Wondering how this differs from the approach I describe (which has existed for many years).

Good work!

Primarily, it's a lot more convenient. There's no setup involved, you just click and and the data is available through SQL or C#. There's no need to clean the data around the tables, it works on live data (file does not need to be saved), no connection strings to set up or boilerplate code to write.

There's more, e.g. the SQLite engine can interact with Excel and fiddle with formatting, but I think the major thing is convenience. As a dev, most times I just wouldn't bother with the ODBC approach unless I really had to. Convenient C# and SQL though, I'd use them at least 10x more often.

Are you ever worried about Microsoft a feature that acts similar in a future version of Excel? It's a problem that has bit others before (Firebug, Growl, tabbed-browsing extensions for IE).

I don't think Microsoft would be able to produce something that was just ready, without having to create a project or click through a wizard first.

Much of this functionality is available already, through ODBC, powershell, c# - but it's cumbersome to use. That's the selling point of this software, it seems to me.

You guys, Microsoft just acquires the already built project and our happy dev get his mansion.

yeah, but what color though?

Play your cards right and you get any color of your choice

I wouldn't be. The energy is in O365 at the moment, isn't it? VBA is the big programming environment at the moment and it's basically VB6 and hasn't been touched in a long time. There's also that JavaScript thing, which I think is still pretty half-baked.

The JavaScript office API looks like a good solution for integrating your UI within the app. It’s still quite limited in terms of heavier capabilities, eg data processing etc. That’s probably because right now MS is focused more on a shared plugin API for all office products than on deep integration of any one specific product.

Isn't it similar to PowerPivot?

See the Dropbox HN argument.


Infamous Dropbox comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9224

To be honest - dropbox is still burning investors money, right? AFAIK they are not profitable even today.

They’re about to IPO. Doesn’t mean they’re profitable, but it does mean their finances are healthy enough that they can be publicly traded.

They already IPO’d. :-)

Holy hell, that's Drew Houston!

Oh god. I was so confused by your comment because this guy is on a Polish accelerator and I was trying to figure out how that was relevant.

I noticed directly after posting, decided to keep it.

No pun in ten did get upvotes though.

It would be even better if BrandonM also commented here ;)

Not OP, but even today I still don't understand why is Dropbox different except for hype and media coverage - there were many similar services back then (including integrating as a virtual drive on Windows) and we have literally tons of these services now.

Dropbox's solution was significantly more streamlined than any of the others. You installed it and it just worked as the saying goes.

Was the web interface there from the start?

If it is the case, you did not even have to install it.

Dropbox did not only solve 'local file system'-mirroring, but (legal) file sharing in general.

> there were many similar services back then

Citations please.

I read a quote of Drew's a while back that stuck with me. Just googled and found it:

"When Dropbox was getting off the ground in 2007, there were hundreds of small storage companies. It was almost a cliche, the way that many people believe mobile photo sharing is a cliche now, he says. “The important thing was, I would keep asking people if they used any one of these hundred options, and they all said no. These are my favorite problems to solve. You can’t focus on what everyone else is doing — it has to be about what’s really broken and what you can do to fix it.”"


He should've said what he did differently - seamless integration (aka virtual drive in Windows) was a selling point, but again, other services also had this.


You can find when each of these companies were founded by following the links...

Don't remember the name, but I remember similar service even in late 90s, when dial-up was popular. You'd pay for some amount of storage hosted on their servers (no "cloud" term back then) and they had Windows client integrated as a drive. Not sure if they had "freemium", maybe dropbox differentiated with this business model.

Excellent shorthand.

That was a fantastic read. In a world of products and apps that seem to be a solution looking for a problem, it's nice to see a full story illustrating a common problem, and how a technical person came to provide a featured solution to that problem.

I think I already know the answer to this, but I assume that this IDE is Windows only? I couldn't see any information about platforms on the main product page, which might throw someone off if they use Excel on a Mac.

Glad you enjoyed it!

I think I know what you assume and I assume you assume correctly. Windows only so far, Excel for Mac doesn't have VSTO:(

There is https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dev/add-ins/excel/ex... if you wanted to port it to JavaScript! It’s a very weird and badly documented async API, but it is possible to lift out the data and, say, use https://github.com/kripken/sql.js . If you’ve got something good going in VSTO though, I wouldn’t waste time trying to port it. Most people doing corporate reporting are indeed doing it on Windows anyways, I’d imagine.

Yeah, I'd love a version for Mac. I like what I see, but I've got a Mac-only setup. I wonder if you could make use of VSCode with Excel somehow?

With .NET running everywhere now, I'm hoping VSTO for Mac Office isn't far behind. I really want to use the Grammarly plugin on my Mac also.

My usual approach when I reach the limit of my excel skills (and patience) is to save as csv, write a Python script to do the job, import back in excel for the graphs. This looks like it could nicely streamline the process, granted I learn a bit of C# (any excuse to pick up a new language I guess). Looking forward to try the tool the next time I battle a budget forecasting file. And kudos for the well-written and funny article.

This may sound weird but my go-to these days for text munging is actually PHP. Set it up as a shell script, do all your testing on the command line, and then if it's something you use a lot (or other people could use), throw it on a server somewhere with a web form at the front end to make it more accessible.

Not for anything serious, but great for those occasional quick-hack utilities to save you a bunch of cut-and-pasting or data reformatting.

If you're already exporting to CSV, why bring it back in for the graphing? There are plenty of decent python graphing libraries. Or if you hated all of those, you could always just use R, which will make basically any graph you could ever need (...and do the data analysis for you too).

Because excel files are the lingua Franca of the corporate world. Much easier to share an excel file with the numbers formatted to HR/finance/management expectations and a few graphs (which they can modify to their liking if necessary), than a word file with embedded graphics and tables (which they can’t change so they’ll ask you to redo the graphs in puce or whatever). Or god forbid a jupyter notebook... FWIW I worked once with a network graphing tool for a fairly involved HR topic (mapping out all possible career paths within an engineering department) and I spent half my time learning the tool, and the other half exporting images and importing them in PowerPoint.

Let me know if I can help with trying it out. I'm in the "do-things-that=don't-scale" mode, at least until I save up for my mansion, so please feel free to make use of it!

I guess it's time to add Python support to QueryStorm.

I think so too!

I thought this sounded pretty cool:

> It doesn't copy the data into it, it actually lets the SQLite engine use Excel tables as the data storage (I implemented something SQLite calls a virtual table - an adapter to let it work with custom data sources). This means you can run update/delete/insert statements directly on excel tables

(from the linked reddit post, I haven't finished the blog post)

I wonder if a similar sort of approach with FDW's could work with Postgres and Excel.

Yep, that's just what FDWs are for-- modular storage layer. Plenty of cool hacks :)

I like your humour, I like the joke about the mansion, I like how you casually assume that choosing the project over Anna was obvious as you move on. Nice article!

You should do an interview with IndieHackers!

I like the way you list things you like. Never heard of IndieHackers, but I'd love to be interview by them if they'll have me. I'll check em out. Cheers for the tip and the kind words.

Haha :) Here you go https://www.indiehackers.com/contribute

They used to be a lot more focused on interviews, but then Stripe bought them and they somewhat shifted focus a little, but the interviews are still there.

I guess the "right" thing to do now would be to add your product there? https://www.indiehackers.com/products

Either way, it should give you additional great exposure from a community you seem to belong to.

I hope Microsoft gives you a ton of money and hires you to make Excel like this. VBA is so crap. And this looks amazing.

I hope so too. I've used QueryStorm for a year or so. I try to avoid Excel as much as possible, but when I have to use it, I can spend 4 hour learning the Excel/VBA way to do something, or 1 minute and write it in SQL. It doesn't make sense how this isn't in Excel already.

Seriously. Try to do a join and some simple data manipulation/aggregation in Excel without this. Or try to emulate SQL minus/except. You'll Google for simple answers using the UI, and those probably don't even solve your exact problem, then dig until you find some that seem correct, try to implement them, and then realizes it doesn't work for some unknown reason. Then either give in and write VBA to do it (which also sucks), or pull it out of Excel and put in something that uses a good language.

Thanks for writing this!

Yea, reading his description of the Excel data problems his girlfriend had hit very close to home. A large swath of my current job responsibilities often involve automating these type of data aggregations so that non-technical users can do them. Often, this leads me to coding the entire task in VBA so that they can do it with the push of a button within the workbook they are using. At this point I have entire libraries that I have made which I routinely use to accomplish this, but it always feels so dirty and inefficient (see: VBA).

In my experience, non-technical users don't want an outside application. They don't want to set up a database. They just want to open Excel, the program they are comfortable with, hit a button, and have their data aggregated. This tool is really cool.

couldn‘t this tool be used to ‚compile‘ the SQL or C# processing into a button?

Yep, it certainly can. It supports embedding code into the workbook and running it on defined triggers such as user interactions.

lmao, I really appreciate the story telling here. Nearly started laughing at my desk when you switched to "ex-girlfriend" after the ultimatum.

There‘s obviously much more going on but just from reading OPs article I got angry at his ex-GF. Be a little supportive, geez...

This was hilarious and utterly relatable. I've also built a lot of one-off tools for my pharmacist girlfriend (now wife - she learned SQL with me ;)

Congrats on the launch and the joining accelerator, hope it gains traction! It looks fantastic!

You did better than the OP relationship-wise xD

Thanks and congrats to you too!:)

I have to say, without even looking at the actual product, seeing it use the FooStorm naming from jetbrains while being a paid product isn't inspiring much confidence.

Yeah, I do get that comment every now and then. It was originally called ThingieQuery, but then I got people saying that they liked it but couldn't ask a manager to buy something called ThingieQuery. I didn't consciously steal the JetBrains naming, but the first time someone pointed it out my reaction was d'oh...

I think you're fine on the name.

Jetbrains doesn't have dominance yet on <Foo>Storm (they only offer PhpStorm and WebStorm) and your website UI is also somewhat different from theirs.

You're good with the name. Don't overthink it now - it sounds business-y alright. If parent's logic were to prevail, no company name would end in 'soft' (since Microsoft) either. Doesn't hold.

What about "ExcQL" ?

Or, since the original motivation came from his (presumably) ex-girlfriend, perhaps just "ExQL"?

Love it, haha <3

Oof. Just imagine trying to telling someone about it. "It's pronounced this way but you spell it this way" rarely ends up well, and often ends up un-searchable.

Or just XQL? It could be branded as eXcel Query Language.


SXQL rolls of the tongue easier, but might not be acceptable to management for . . . other reasons.


P.S.: Referring to Excalibur for those that have never heard of it. It's the legendary sword used by King Arthur.

It was called ThingieQuery and HN had a bit of a fit.

Oh, also it's freemium. Most of the functionality is free, you just have a label saying it's "free for non-commercial use"

Having a page that describes the freemium vs pro features would be great. Maybe a simple table with checkboxes

This was a terrific read and it might just save my former girlfriend (and current wife) a ton of time at work each month!

Thanks and I hope you use of it, that would be fantastic! Let me know if you need any help, there's a contact email on the website. There's a sales and support address, but feel free to pick any one, they all go to me:)

"It took a few days to build the first version. It was butt-ugly and looked like it was designed according to whatever the opposite to Feng Shui is, but it worked nicely."

Made me laugh.

Your blog post should probably show a picture of the product

I felt like I should keep it about the story, but yeah, maybe a picture or two would be nice. I'll see about including a gif at the beginning.

Fast turnaround. That gif made a newcomer like me immediately appreciate your work.

The GIF totally makes it clear

This thing seems so obvious like it should already be a part of Excel - nice work!

I read the post and it's amazing you took the hard path. In regard to the product, first of all kudos, and second of all; you may want your users to be able to run analytical workflows. In which case embedding Firebird instead of SQLite might be cool. Just something I thought while reading the docs.

I've never used Firebird db so far. I have no idea how it differs. I will check it out, and possibly include it. QueryStorm already supports 6-7 different types of databases so one more won't be too difficult to add. Thanks for the tip!

Is it possible to run Window queries on SQLite? I think it's not! Firebird implements quite a few of these statements.

I integrated most commercial db vendors and we even ran queries on imported data in a HSQLDB database. Firebird is just way ahead of HSQLDB, and HSQLDB is similar to SQLite feature-wise.

I don't mean it would be cool to be able to export to Firebird. I mean that you might want to use Firebird as your underlying engine :)

What's a "Window queries"?

Interesting read about an equally interesting product (plugin). I can definitely see how it can help so many people.

Quick suggestion: If at any point you are looking to offer varying price points based on features, one possibility is to have three versions - Business (for people who know and work mostly on Excel every day), Developer (C#, LINQ etc.) , Complete (All features).

Because having worked with many people who work with Excel for whole day, at least 90% of the users will not understand or use this: "Additionally, imagine how much easier it would be to build prototypes and small applications if instead of VBA you could use C# (and LINQ) in Excel. You could write business logic in C#, load data from all sorts of APIs."

Not to say this will not be useful. This will be extremely useful for me (a developer). Just a thought.

Good luck with QueryStorm.

My girlfriend married me for showing her Ctrl-Z.

A former girlfriend asked me to marry her after I showed her ⌘⇧T in Firefox.

Wait till I show her Alt-PrtSc!


I have used excel as a data source using VBA before so one problem I had there that I'm curious how you approached was how to automatically determine data types? IIRC the ODBC engine in VBA scans a set amount of rows to guess. Are you doing anything different?

Hey! I scan the entire contents of the table. I have a cache layer in memory anyway so that works quickly. If you have multiple types in the same column, it just treats the type as "object". If you connect, and start entering various types into your columns, you'll notice in the object explorer that it updates the type information.

Nice. That's further than I would have gone. I would have written a script to export to CSV, import to SQLite, run the queries, export back to CSV then convert back to Excel. Maybe that's why I don't have my own company...

Excel can import/export CSVs already, so the only thing you'd need to do (assuming you already have Excel open) is hit save and then open it in/as SQLite. A script could possibly make it more difficult :)

This makes me wish I had to do more grunt work in Excel.

I thoroughly enjoyed read this, thanks for posting. Well done on making something for which there is an actual need and polishing it enough to charge money for. That isn’t easy in my experience.

Hey I am so glad this is working. I talked with you via reddit when you first started working on the project. It looks like it has grown dramatically over the years.

Well done!

Hey, I remember, same username and all!:) Thanks for saying hi, man!:)

No problem. I think you did a great job persisting with your project!

Great writing. Cool project. What it sounds like is there's going to be piles of use-cases in different companies for something like this that are all different. I suggest a model of selling companies custom solutions to those that all leverage your plug-in or tech. You might license the underlying tech itself, too. So, the start could be something like:

1. Surveys on places with lots of Excel users worded to figure out what jobs they have that take lots of manual steps with days of effort. This is your potential market.

2. Maybe immediately create proposals for the ones you could handle easily as a one-man shop. That's some revenue to get you started.

3. Look for any common patterns in them you can abstract into generic functions or generators. This becomes part of your tooling.

4. Also, look for any kinds of analysis that happen pretty often in certain industries. Then, you might create some basic functionality to as industry-specific solutions that your customization work builds on. If not that, it could just be a marketing tool illustrating the value your software provides to that segment.

Those are the ideas that came to mind as I read your article. Good luck.

There were many components mentioned here that sound like they would be marvelously useful to the open-source community without being too competitive (eg; various SQLite parsing tooling, SQLite/Excel interface, SQLite/other db interface, etc).

Might be worth open-sourcing? Perhaps even under a restrictive license (free for FOSS work, otherwise paid).

There's been quite a bit of open source work in this space. https://github.com/dinedal/textql runs queries against CSVs on the command line. http://sheetjs.com/sexql/ runs queries against excel files in the web browser.

I would love to, I just don't have the time to isolate this stuff into their own projects and popularize it.

We have a bunch of people that have to build and maintain VBA excel files for our clients. We'd really rather not maintain all this VBA crap. Can we replace that with this? Can it deploy files with all those horrible rules or is it more primitive than that and only functions as an IDE for personal Excel munging?

Hey! Absolutely you can! You can embed code into the workbook and automate stuff. If you're up for it, I'd love to discuss over Skype. It's the perfect use case! Send me an email, it's antonio at querystorm dot com.

Check out my EasyMorph (http://easymorph.com). It's pretty good for replacing VBA scripting in Excel files.

Congratulations on the project. It actually seems like something quite fun to build! I'd probably have kept it open source and just do it for fun, but good luck with the company nontheless!

Personally I did not immediatly think about Jetbrains when reading this name, probably because I mostly use IntelliJ IDEA rather than PHPStorm.

Yeah, it was really fun to built! The parser, editor features and C# support were amazing to work on. Some times I felt like I was wasting time, but when I compare what I was working on most days in a corp to what I get to work on with QueryStorm, I'm pretty happy I did what I did. As for open source, that might be a better way to go. The project needs a community and open sourcing would help a lot. It's something for me to consider.

Did you use Roslyn for the C# support?

He did, it is in the article.

Ouch, my mistake. I didn't read closely enough. I'm sure the Roslyn folks would be happy about this.

I love the pricing, $150/year.

Where are the other professional developer tools with subscription pricing? Not stuff company stuff like Atlasssian or web-SaaS, but, say, a really good local `git` GUI and merge tool.

In regards to your non-existent pricing page, I would suggest this read: https://stripe.com/atlas/guides/saas-pricing :) I think you could capture more B2B value if you display some amount of pricing for potential business customers and also make it more clear for non-commercial users that it is free.

Besides from that, product looks really nice!

Seconding this. Without upfront pricing, I always assume buying a copy means handing over my email or phone to The Sales Team.

I wouldn't guess that this was thrown-up since you made your comment:

- https://www.querystorm.com/buy.html

What a pleasant read. Not bad a way to start a Friday. Thanks for sharing. As someone who battles between having to use SQL and Excel quite often this is pretty neat.

Trial purchase page seems to be only place you describe the difference between free and Professional (https://www.querystorm.com/trial.html). Perhaps add to FAQ in docs or elsewhere to make clear the added functionality that comes from purchase, beyond the "non-commercial vs. commercial" use license requirement.

Otherwise, cool system!

Well done.

I think LibreOffice offers a python/javascript scripts/plugins? Anyone want to get an ultimatum from their girlfriend and build one for Linux?

Your story/writing is more amazing for me than IDE itself. Awesome man and sorry for your breakup.... Didn't feel good about it.

It would be helpful to have a link to pricing accessible on the front page of the site. Not seeing this on mobile at least. Businesses aren't afraid to spend $100/yr or $10/month for a useful tool. It cost more to have a meeting than to impulse buy. Not seeing pricing info on the site is kind of a turn off. Maybe that's just me?

I hopped on to my PC to actually try the plugin. It's because the buy button and the rest of the top menu are removed when screen width gets small enough.

Someone on this thread mentioned EasyMorph, a visual (low-code) tool for excel/db/etc data munging. I can't find that comment now but I thought it looked interesting.

Resubmitted here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16773686

Kudos on the IDE, kudos on helping your girlfriend, but it could have done without the "I'll solve all the problems with technology and then she'll see me as the hero I am" schtick. It made it kind of an uncomfortable read, even though you did clearly build something with a use case, which is always admirable.

That was auto-ironic, though:) I think that's the right phrase...

Awesome. Get people to make even more convoluted messes in Excel for me to detangle and make into a web application.

Maybe of note: I've always dreamed of building stuff in excel with c#. And I craved something that let me use linq inside excel.

I'm a consultant working for corporations and excel is part of my life. Your plug-in has a market. In fact, I'll advertise it inside my company - if I like it, of course.

There's no Install button when the (desktop) browser window is too small except at the end of the page in the footer.

Even if hiding it for mobile seems like a good idea (not the target), someone looking at the website on mobile would acknowledge they can easily download the software later on.

Fortunately, I don't use Excel at work, but this was a very entertaining read. Thanks @anakic!

Thanks! I touch on the project a little, but the point was to stick to the story and make it enjoyable to read. I'm glad it worked:)

How hard would it be to add support for calling Python scripts, so an advanced person could use one of the many internet articles on Pandas scraping/etl/mashups to pre-process some data before bringing in as an excel table?

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Have you considered turning this into a web based SaaS product? (upload excel -> do fancy stuff -> export or save the result on cloud)

Is there any specific reason for the current licensing/revenue model?

No plans for the cloud solution so far. I figured it needs a community, so a lot of it has to be free for non commercial use. For commercial use I figured the price isn't going to be an issue. Probably there's more tweaking to do there. I'd love to get some thoughts on it.

This is pretty awesome. Love the multi-pane interface. It's true there is a lot of data access tech for Excel data like OLE DB, but this works right inside Excel which has a huge user base. Good luck!

I also had to help my ex-girlfriend (preschool director) make google drive scripts to generate tables. I found small businesses have great need for this type of things. I explored this as a startup idea.

And was it successful?

No I have never done it, I just thought there is a great need for it. The reason is because I can't formalize my idea. I want to make this thing useful and simple at the same time, but it's hard.

google drive script, for example, is still too complex to use for non-tech, it doesn't have a ui builder.

but I can't imagine a simpler, drag-and-drop solution that can implement complex data processing logic.

This is great - I refuse to mess with VBA and I've been doing all my spreadsheet regex work using R/RStudio until now. The regex feature alone could save me tons of hours in my consulting job.

Fantastic! If you're up for it, I'd love to demo and discuss over screen share. If you'd be interested let me know via email, it's antonio at querystorm dot com.

I've spent the last month (yes - month) writing a custom CLI to run on CSV for a customer which have data scattered in a bunch of Excel files. This seem a bit too good to be true.

Only one way to find out:) If you need help setting it up, let me know, I'd be glad to help if I can

Yes, thank you. I see that my comment might be interpreted as sceptical. It looks great.

If I wanted to combine Excel and SQL, I would look at MS Access first. How does this compare? Also with the latest powerquery add ons Excel you can actually do joins in Excel itself

Sure. With Access you'd have to first get the data into it, process it there and get it back. With QueryStorm, you just click "connect" and you get a nice SQL editor, code completion and all. Anything that's marked as a table will show up as a database table. If you wanna connect to access or some other type of database you can do that as well, and the Excel tables will be visible to the database as temp tables.

As for PowerQuery, it's designed as an ETL tool to get data into the tabular model and process it, but isn't as expressive or as well known as SQL. It's a bit less technical, I guess. It's useful, but if you know both SQL and PowerQuery you can probably do much more with SQL.

It is possible to connect an Excel spreadsheet directly as an ODBC data source to Access. Then you can run SQL queries, views, reports on the data, without having to export or modify it in any way.

Hi - the tool looks great. Is there an e-mail address I can reach you at? Wanted to bring something to your attension, in private. Dont worry - I'm not selling anything :)

> You might be surprised to learn that in a developer’s life, there aren’t all that many chances to impress girls with your coding skills.


I am at zero for 35+ years so far...

I just took a look at QueryStorm. Very cool indeed.

Hmmm. Excel has supported SQL queries against itself for at least 20 years. This includes select, insert, update, delete

Via MS Query? ADO? OLAP cubes? Care to elaborate for the newbs?

Yes, MSQuery. Here is the first of many results returned by Google after searching "query Excel spreadsheet" (I didn't bother reading it) http://www.exceluser.com/formulas/msquery-excel-relational-d...

"As with many great endeavors of man, this one also started in order to impress a girl" Gotta love the man :)

Cool IDE, cool project.

At the same time, it can all be done in Power Pivot and Power Query as long as you know how to use them.

You can use C# and SQL in Power Pivot and Power Query? I couldn't figure out how to do so based on a cursory web search.

More generally, you can do all of this same 'stuff' in any language. This seems like a possibly better way to do the same things tho.

If you need to use C# in Excel, you're doing it wrong. There's very little programming that you should be doing with VBA, too.

Most of your programming should be DAX plus a bit of worksheet functions. Some SQL to filter your data before loading into Power Pivot.

SQL yes, of course. You run SQL queries to load data into Power Pivot through a native SQL Server driver or native drivers for your DB or worst case ODBC.

Then you do all the BI analytics in DAX and show results in pivot tables. DAX is a very fast, concise and very, very powerful language for analytics. This is the whole purpose of OLAP.

Check out this video when you have time :)


This looks great - nice work. If I get asked to do something complex in Excel again, I may give this a go :)

This is slick!What a great way to impress your girlfriend.I hope you succeeded in your mission:-)

If you're referring to the mission of impressing the girlfriend, success doesn't seem likely.

I loved that you used your technical skills to solve a real problem, besides regular stuff at corporate work :) Insipiring!

Sorry this could be a dumb question, but,does this plugin work with Spreadsheets in Google docs? If Yes, thats great, just from the perspective that it will add more customers for you. If not, are you planning to add support in google sheets as well?

But this is solving "regular stuff at corporate work," just at someone else's work instead of his own.

Not inside Google Sheets, there's nothing stopping you from moving your spreadsheets to Excell though.

Exactly. It just works in Excel, but if you have Excel then it makes spreadsheets easier and more useful.

"As with many great endeavors of man, this one also started in order to impress a girl"


An honest question, isn't this kind of what PowerBI is supposed to do?

“Careful calculations conclusively showed it wasn’t enough for a mansion”

The story is kind of goofy, but the product looks very cool indeed.

This looks awesome! Have you thought about joining https://wip.chat

Lots of fellow makers in there :)

Never heard of them. I'll check 'em out, thanks!:)

So, I'd have to pay just to get into some chat group?

Not the OP but... What's the upside of using wip.chat? It just seems to be a public to-do list system?

A community of people who get things done everyday. Seeing other people mark off their todos and launch their products all day and night is surprisingly insupiring.

The community is also very welcoming and helpful!

Ah OK, thank you! I couldn't see any actual 'chat' feature - is that because I wasn't logged in ?

Well written. Entertaining. Captivating.

Good read. Good Font too. Fast website.

So, what color is your mansion?

Great project by the way!

Saving up for a turquoise one:) Thanks!

Amazing work and story! Congratz!

Now that's pretty awesome.

Every place I have ever worked had that same kind of shitty Excel/Access pile of crap including the manual instructions. It's like people can't understand that if you can write down a procedure for someone to follow you can automate that procedure.

Are you a programmer? Have you ever had to support and maintain an 'automated procedure'?

I'd bet a lot of the people you're casually insulting do understand that it could be automated, but, unlike you perhaps, they're more cognizant of the costs of automating it (and ensuring it continues to work).

Processing even slightly messy data can turn out to be a basically unlimited amount of work, easily.

I was curious about your ex girlfriend and was hoping that you married here and that was the reason why she is your ex girlfriend now but apparently not :(.

I read this as IED (Improvised Explosive Device)... I was disappointed. And then impressed.

Poor Anna

I hope the ex-girlfriend was either unrelated or a joke, otherwise, i don't really consider OP a good person.. There's only so much time you should spend instead of doing something with your loved ones.. I know, I'd probably drop my project at some point in the evening to get back to my girlfriend or wife.

Hey, I think I should respond, as I agree with you that loved ones should not be tossed aside easily. Passion projects are pretty important too and should be fostered. It's important to please one's own being too. Anyway, it was indeed an exaggeration for comic effect. Anna (not her real name) is a lovely person. We did break up, but much later on and completely unrelated to the project. She was actually very quite happy with what I had built and had once made an angry remark about how much time I was spending on it. The majority of the article is true, but I did make up one or two twists just for the comic effect. I'm also not really interested in a mansion. So far.

I would be 100% behind my partner in a similar situation, if she were building something and putting so much time and energy into it. I would love to find someone like that, actually.

I would love to find someone to love, chemistry is a very hard thing.

Life is complicated; if all that is true and even related, you don't know enough context to judge OP yet.

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