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by Jacob O'Bryant

Big release for Biff

See The main improvements are:

  • Streamlined project setup. Just run bash `<(curl -s` to get started. There are templates for single-page and multi-page apps.

  • Streamlined deployment (via Terraform). I'm aiming for a firebase/heroku-like experience but without being tied to a particular platform.

I also did a lot of cleanup/smaller improvements, like simplifying the code structure, moving from Immutant to Jetty, etc. I've kept all the documentation up-to-date as well. Check out the new Overview section.

To help Biff grow, I'm considering giving free one-on-one mentoring to people who want to learn web dev in Clojure (with Biff), as my schedule allows. I made a quick survey to gauge interest.

I am extremely interested to see where Biff goes from here. With community support, I think it could help a lot of people make web apps faster (both in the short-term and long-term!).


I did a Show HN for Findka Essays a week-and-a-half ago. Since then we’ve been maintaining 20+ DAU:

Qualitatively, I think the product is pretty good now. I have my settings at 5 links every 1 day. Each morning I click on the most interesting link and read it if it looks good. Here are some articles I enjoyed:

Axiology, Morality, Law (

The Ideology Is Not The Movement (

Goals vs. Systems (

I’d heard of people talk about this but hadn’t read the original post yet. It’s really good (and short), and I think it’s exactly what I was trying to get at when I wrote The trade-offs of being a startup founder:

My problem with goals is that they are limiting. Granted, if you focus on one particular goal, your odds of achieving it are better than if you have no goal. But you also miss out on opportunities that might have been far better than your goal. Systems, however, simply move you from a game with low odds to a game with better odds. With a system you are less likely to miss one opportunity because you were too focused on another. With a system, you are always scanning for any opportunity.

My First Year as a Freelance AI Engineer (

Well-written. Freelancing/consulting is my backup plan for working on Findka full-time. Findka could still have one of three trajectories, and I don’t know which it’ll take:

  1. VC funded, take over the world etc

  2. Bootstrapped, make enough money to support myself. Maybe I work on it full-time, or maybe I spend most my time on OSS (like Biff) and hobbies (like music).

  3. Side project. I continue to run it but don’t make significant money from it. Ideally, stay independent as a freelancer and perhaps do another startup in a few years.

So I enjoy reading about others’ experiences with freelancing. I have a background mental process that thinks about ways I might get my first clients (beyond reaching out to my network). Maybe Biff would come in handy.

The Arc of Collaboration (

Now that I’ve finished this Biff release, I’m going to dig into the Findka usage data we’ve accumulated and see what I can do to improve recommendations.

Published 9 Nov 2020

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