Carl Mueller
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Guest Post - Sunsetting Shoppy Bot

This is a post from my former partner in crime (Dylan La Com).

We started Lightning in a Bot Inc., together. Alas, ShoppyBot (and for the most part LIAB) has been set out to pasture. I share many of his sentiments below.

Sunsetting Shoppy Bot

Last Friday I made the decision to shut down Shoppy Bot, a software product I had been operating since 2016. It’s a decision I’d been contemplating vaguely for over a year, and more seriously within the last couple months. And while it’s sad to turn the lights off on a product I’ve poured so much effort into keeping the lights on, there is a certain peace that comes with accepting that it is time to move on.

Ultimately, I came to understand that I was not going to be able to build Shoppy Bot into what I envisioned for it with the time and resources I have. And I can no longer continue supporting it in it’s current, free version.

Here are a few of my favorite memories or highlights from Shoppy Bot:

  • Driving up to Carl’s house in Santa Barbara with Matt and Ian in May of 2016 to sign the incorporation paperwork. Talk about a Dream Team.
  • Launching Shoppy Bot on the Shopify app store and getting featured on their homepage.
  • Seeing Carl develop his machine learning skillset to create our Natural Language Processing technology.
  • Meeting many, many amazing business owners, like Ashley running Pour This, Kenny and Nick running The Social Life, and David running Great Lakes. It was truly inspiring to be working with these and other incredible humans all doing really cool things.
  • Of course, the many interesting technologies we worked on, including chat bots, language processing, reporting and analytics.

In many ways, Shoppy Bot is a major reason I am where I am today. It was an incredible period of growth and learning for me. And, from a career standpoint, it helped me leapfrog into job positions and opportunities that I don’t think I would have otherwise gotten.

So what’s next for me?

I want to get back in touch with my sense of curiousity, and let myself go down some rabbit holes. One skill I’d like to improve is my writing, hence I’m dusting off this website you’re reading right now. I also want to spend time thinking about other projects. Some old––things I’ve wanted to do for a while––and some new. And I’m starting with one very specific question…

What are the most important problems in my field, and why am I not working on them?

This question can be traced back to Bell Labs and a speech by Turing Award winner Richard Hamming given in 1986. It comes up ever so often in the writing of other inspiring figures, including Paul Graham in his 2005 essay “Good and Bad Procrastination”. More recently, Sam Altman of Y Combinator and OpenAI wrote, “In general, no one reflects on this question enough, but the best people do it the most”.

One thing I’ve learned about myself is I’m drawn to the “mission”. I want to apply my energy to big hairy problems that have the potential to help hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of people. There’s still so much left to do.

I want to thank all the amazing people that have worked on Shoppy Bot or helped in one way or another over the years. Whether it was a simple conversation or an introduction you made, it means the world to me, thank you! If life is like a dance, you joined my dance, if only momentarily, and gave it a little twist, a zig, a zag, but forever left your mark on an immutable composition.

And so with that, farewell Shoppy Bot, and thanks for the good times.


About the Cover

Sunset overlooking Los Angeles. Shot on an iPhone 8. June 2020.

© 2020 Carl Mueller

This is a static website built with React and Gatsby JS. It is hosted on GitHub pages.