The last product I built, Sqoot, had a lot of moving parts. We had three databases, a search server, an API, website, and a deal importing system. It’s a marvel that it worked at all! The truth is that it went down pretty frequently. Sadly, our customers were often the first to find out even though we went to great lengths to monitor our apps.

After Sqoot, I briefly worked at TaskRabbit. Because we had an operations team I didn’t have to think about whether or not our code was running. But I did still have to worry about the code itself: thousands of lines scattered across a bunch of apps. We wrote lots of tests to prevent bugs. The slowest tests were our integration tests. These tests actually boot up a server and clicked around the site in a browser like a customer would. These tests were so frustratingly slow that Rob Robbins and I dreamt up Specford. And still anytime someone on my team wanted to push a change, we’d wait 15-20 minutes for the tests to run. Our test suite was the biggest adversary to our speed.

Paradoxically, our code still broke in production. If you want to know with 100% confidence that things are “up,” you just need to check production. There are a few services that will do this kind of monitoring for you but they’re either hard to use, expensive, or both. I want a service that’s affordable and well designed. So I’m building it.

Canary is an uptime monitoring service. Canary tells you when things go wrong before anyone else does. Currently Canary will monitor a URL and send an alert if the URL doesn’t respond or responds unsuccessfully. There are no usage limits or tiered subscriptions; $5/mo gets you everything.

I’ve teamed up with my friend and previous co-founder, Brandon. We’ve built great things in the past and are really excited to build out all the ideas we have for Canary.

Try out Canary free for 14 days. I’d love hear your early feedback.

Thanks for reading! I'm Avand.

I’ve been working on the web for over a decade and am passionate about building great products.

My last job was with Airbnb, where I focused on internal products that helped teams measure the quality of the software they were building. I also built internal tools for employees to stay more connected, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, I was lead engineer at Mystery Science, the #1 way in which science is taught in U.S. elementary school classroms. For a while, I also taught with General Assembly, teaching aspiring developers the basics of front-end web development.

I was born in Boston, grew up in Salt Lake City, and spent many years living in Chicago. Now, I call San Francisco my home and Mariposa my home away from home.

I enjoy the great outdoors and absolutely love music and dance. Cars have been an lifelong obsession of mine, especially vintage BMWs and Volkswagens. I’m the proud owner of a 2002 E-250 Sportsmobile van, and he and I have enjoyed many trips to beautiful and remote parts of the West Coast to create good vibes.

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