Making Tucci: What Is It? And Why?

I made an app — it’s called Tucci, and I worked on it with Tiffany. Download it here, it’s a freebie.


What

Tucci finds openings at restaurants that usually don’t have reservations on short notice — you know, the fancy places that you usually have to call a few months in advance. Tiffany found out about a website called HackerTable, which surfaces last-minute availabilities from OpenTable, and we immediately thought there should be an app that does the same thing.

Under the hood, Tucci uses HackerTable’s data and presents it with some new filters (all kosher with HackerTable’s maintainer). More importantly, HackerTable links don’t deep-link to OpenTable correctly on mobile browsers, so Tucci fixes that.

Making Tucci also introduced me to the phenomenon of robots making reservations. Apparently there’s a whole ecosystem of automated ticket sales and reservations — concerts, movie tickets, restaurants, all of that. When Star Wars VII tickets become available in a few weeks, I like to imagine some will get snatched up by rudimentary C3P0s and R2D2s.

Why

We spent far too much time trying to get things done and not nearly enough time asking the key question, “Ought this thing to be done at all?” — Peopleware

Why build anything?

You know how the less time it takes to get to the gym, the more you go? Or the faster they make Google search results appear, the more people use Google? Well, I think the more often I attempt to ship new technology products, the faster I’ll become at shipping new ones in the future.

Put simply — practice making products, and I’ll get better with practice.

I help make a product at work, and we also think about improving how we work and our ability to quickly make the Right Thing, but I wanted to target different “muscles” on my own in the limited amount of time I have.

Why build Tucci?

So now that I’ve decided to ship something, the next step is to pick the thing to start. Tucci wasn’t my first shot — there were a bunch of false starts. Some projects seemed simple but grew intractably complicated; others turned out to be not quite sticky enough with my own use to justify more work. It sucks to spend time on things that don’t ship, but I kept learning along the way.

What stood out about Tucci was 1) there was nothing like it on the App Store 2) it was possible to leverage HackerTable to do the heavy lifting 3) I could see a path for it to evolve after a first version.

I started hacking on it over Labor Day, and got it submitted to the App Store a few weeks later after odd hours of tweaks and a burning desire to ship the damn thing. Tiffany finished most of the design in the first day, versus the several days of engineering it took to make it work end-to-end — so it goes, as always.

Next

That’s a brief intro to Tucci. I played with some neat engineering tools while making it, like React Native, Redux, and Parse. I’ll be writing about that aspect of Tucci soon — follow me on Medium or on Twitter @clayallsopp to know when that drops.

Download Tucci from the App Store, it’s a freebie.