NOTE This is an unedited archive post. Links, images and opinions may be broken.

Are You Happy? Illuum 7 Years Later


Seven years ago I created an app to track moods. It's still being used today. Time for a status update.

Many many moon pies ago, I created a website to track various things about my life. Before we were wearing watches that could count our steps or bras that measured our heart rate, I wanted the answer to a simple question: was I happy?

I made the site based on the premise of giving each day a rating from 1-10. What would the result be, I wondered. The site collected the data and did a little math for you and spit out some basic analytics on your moods. Neat.

That wasn’t quite enough though.

I also added customizable questions you could answer each day along with your rating. The site would then correlate your answers with your moods. You could use that feature to find out, for example, if you only wanted to break up with your partner when you were having a bad day. (Or more co-dependently, a good one.)

I wrapped it all up in a nice package with help from some friends and called it Illuum.

(The name was short for “illuminate”, just with an extra ‘u’ to be cool and tech-startup-y. Time back, I would have called it “Angus’ Fantastic Mood Machine” or something.)

30,000 people signed up that first year. 1M+ data points were logged not much long afterwards.

I got many many emails from around the world thanking us for creating it.

“I smiled for the first time in months,” one wrote.

And then Crew happened and I had no time left for what had become my pet project. Besides not having time, I had no ability to focus on the goals or vision of what I was trying to create with Illuum. All of my “thinking time” went to creating Crew. New companies need megawatts of attention.

(I assume attention is measured in watts, ‘cause every time someone loses attention they seem to ask for watts. “Watt??”)

I did use Illuum as a technology guinea pig over the years to evaluate certain tech before using it with Crew, so it did see a few upgrades. I also re-colored it one weekend and renamed it Nine Today, because people were finding it hard to pronounce.

Maybe Angus’ House of Happiness was the better name.

Anyway, it’s been living at for the last few years. Signups were turned off though. As were all of the marketing pages and initiatives. It slowly decayed. Once the Illuum domain expired, it lost all the SEO links in as well. I never took the time to build up the Nine Today domain.

So it was invisible as far as the web was concerned.

And yet people still used it and continue to use it now. Every day. It is a journal some people have been writing in each day for years and years.

I thought about shutting it down so I could turn my focus to something new, but it seemed like the wrong thing to do. My goal was to keep it running as long as it was technically feasible and at least one person was still using it regularly.

The answer then was to take better care of it. So I upgraded some of the tech. Then I stripped the Nine Today colour and branding from it, and put the old name back. I’m also bringing it back under my domain where it started as a test app all those years ago. I wanted it to be somewhere that always has my attention.

One site is easier than two.

I don’t intend to put massive amounts of time into it. I have a completely different vision for what makes people happy than I did 7 years ago, so if anything it would require a massive rebuild and rethink. Which isn't in my plans.

I did open up signups again though. You can create an account and see what it was all about. Who knows, maybe it’ll change the way you view your life. Maybe it already did.

Regardless, I hope you've found some happiness in the past 7 years. I certainly have.

You can find it here:

Banner photo was the "Spring" header background of an early version of the Illuum website. It would rotate with the season.