Guess who’s back, Back again!

Guess who’s back, Back again!

June 14th, 2021

Hi. Have you missed me?

The last update, I was exhausted, stressed and trying to buy my first home. So of course it was the perfect time to start doing 70 hour weeks for work!

Well, that’s all over now. No more overtime, I had a week off to get my head straight and I got the keys on Friday!

As many of you know, work has been where most of my energy and time has gone since Christmas and generally this hasn’t left me in a good mental space so a few things are changing from now on.

1. I’ll be taking more regular time off

Until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t taken any significant time off since my Prague trip in Feb 2020.

With overtime during December and January I accrued almost 3 weeks holiday (in addition to my normal holiday). 

The year is chugging on and so I need to start taking time off. I’ve currently got whole weeks off for July, September, October and December

2. One James One Role

At work, i’ve been doing a bit of everything. Front end, Back end, Mobile, Infrastructure, client discussions, managing the tech team, sprint management, crying etc.

My week away gave my team the space they needed to thrive and so from last week I stepped away from production and focused more on a supportive role for my team.

This will give me much more headspace and time, allowing me to do my job properly but also giving me the time I want to work on SoSa.

3. Design first

One of the biggest challenges for me building SoSa with a bunch of ideas in my head and no visuals is that I get lost and struggle to set targets for what I should be working on.

So moving forward the designer will be working with me to build out screens before I work on them

4. Update Frequency

Starting next week, i’m going to move updates to every 3 weeks instead of every 2 weeks. 

Most sprints I spend a lot of time writing this update post, doing videos and other admin in the first week of the previous sprint.

Moving to every 3 weeks should give me more time to actually work on features and give a much better update at the end of it. It also gives me space to recover if something goes wrong during the sprint taking away that guilt of not delivering.

On to the updates!


Storybook is a toolkit that allows you to work on components (things like buttons, screens, inputs etc) in isolation. 

This can save a lot of time getting the component to work and look right in isolation before actually implementing it into the app.

In the first two screenshots you can see the Profile header and Date components individually, on the right you can see them both in situ on their final resting place (the edit profile screen)

Taking the designs and translating them this way was so much easier than the way I was working before and it meant I could focus on making really useful dumb components instead of the integrated monsters I was building before.

React Hook Forms

As I was working on the profiles, I found I was building a lot of custom handlers for each field and it got a bit messy, my natural instinct here was to build a generic handler that could be passed an input ref as a prop.

The thing with this is, it’s reinventing the wheel and frankly React hook forms does a great job of it already with minimal re-renders.

This is currently used in Profiles, Registration, Login and Forgotten password, I’ll also get it added to Meetups to clear up a lot of code there.

Moving Client into the App

My original plan was to build a separate client that would allow me to build once and use everywhere, but also so other people could integrate with API’s in their own tools. This included our bot framework.

This actually caused a lot of headaches trying to do changes and updates in the library because of the way React Native works with external dependencies.

So during this sprint I moved the client library in to the app


Now I have a designer designing each of the screens I have stuff to work from. So here you have the profile screens in all their glory! connected up with React hook forms and looking smexy!


LinkedIn grew from 897 to 915
Our Beta List grew from 414 to 419

This sprint our Average position has gone down from 19.8 to 21.8!

Impressions are up from 4.44k to 1.94k and Click through is up from 1.9% to 2.2%

Domain authority has stuck at 29, but that’s ok as much effort has been put into our domain authority!

Game night

Our next SoSa game night is WitchIt

Sunday 4th July 1900-2100 GMT / 1200-1400 PT / 1500-1700 ET

It’s time once again for Boob and belly physics and we delve into the world of WitchIt!

The game recently had an update and we had so much fun playing last time around figured it was time to play again!

Grab a ticket!