Shutting down Reviewbunny

July 18, 2022

I decided to temporarily shut down Reviewbunny.

It was a SaaS I built to send daily email digests of pull requests for your team to review. They were split into categories like "Low-hanging fruit" or "Waiting for a long time", to make the review process more efficient.

I thought this idea had potential and I actually still do, but not the way I solved it.

Issue #1. Complicated onboarding

Reviewbunny was tailored for teams, but it required all of the team members to sign up individually to start receiving their personalized digests.

I tested it out at work where we still have a problem of hanging pull requests, but only two people signed up. Despite the fact that team was onboard to try my product out.

If a CTO or engineering manager would be able to sign up in a few clicks and then the entire team would start receiving reminders, it'd be a different product.

I learned that no matter how cool I think my app is, complicated onboarding will block its adoption.

Issue #2. Built-in reminders on GitHub

GitHub offers Slack reminders for pull request reviews in organizations. I knew about this, but I didn't worry about it, because there are several issues with it:

  1. Organization admin must configure and set it up.
  2. Reminders for all pull requests are sent to Slack channels, they're not individual to each team mate.
  3. Those reminders are not prioritized by evaluating the size of pull requests, how active the comment thread is, and so on (which Reviewbunny did).

However, the difference between a paid Reviewbunny service and a free out-of-the-box solution is not that apparent to users coming by my website. Even those who did set up Reviewbunny didn't stick around after a free trial.

Issue #3. Money and focus

Reviewbunny eats almost a hundred dollars out of my bank account every month. I never had any revenue from it, so I spent $600 up to this point.

Given that I stopped working on it after the war started and moved on to Rosefinch and other ideas, it doesn't make sense to let it run.

But, I can't say that I wasted time.

  • I learned Ruby on Rails more and built my first production app with it.
  • I saw the light and changed how I want to approach web development. A blog post about it went viral and stayed on top of Hacker News for several hours. Quite an achievement!
  • I came up with a ton of ideas for other projects, while building Reviewbunny.

However, it's time to say goodbye to Reviewbunny for now. I've learned a lot and I hope to relaunch it someday, but in a much better shape and more benefits.

If you were using Reviewbunny, don't worry, I deleted the database, all data is wiped clean.

I want to preserve my "Don't make me think, or why I switched to Rails from JavaScript SPAs" blog post, so I moved it to this blog.