Maker Neil Sardesai overcame the sunk cost trap — when his project made him unhappy, he started over. Now we have Battery Buddy.
's Battery Buddy
has tapped into a simple but tried and true principle — putting faces on inanimate objects brings joy. Early adopters loved his battery indicator that smiled when charged and frowned on empty. He received one of our February grants
as a result of his work.
But it didn’t start quite that simply.What was your inspiration behind Battery Buddy?
It just seemed like a fun idea! Like many people over the past year, I’ve spent a lot more time inside, sitting in front of my computer than I’d really like to, and it’s been kind of striking how dull and utilitarian most software is. If I’m going to be staring at a screen for 8+ hours a day, why not at least make it a bit fun?What was the first step you took in building Battery Buddy?
The first thing I did was find out what APIs were available since that would be the biggest limiting factor in what I could actually build. And it turned out that Apple provides a rich set of APIs to get a ton of information about the power sources connected to your Mac. And so I originally had a very ambitious plan to show a lot more information in Battery Buddy, and even let users customize everything they see. Here’s a screenshot of an early, unreleased version:
This was pretty cool at first, but after using it for a while I really didn’t like it. It turned out I didn’t actually care about most of that information, and I was starting to get a little obsessed with keeping the battery’s cycle count low. It was kind of stressing me out and making me unhappy — which was the exact opposite of what I wanted this app to do, so I ended up scrapping all of that and making the detail view much simpler. Looking back at it, I’d say this was definitely the right decision.
What has been your biggest challenge as a Maker?
The hardest thing for me is avoiding falling into the sunk cost trap. Like in the case of Battery Buddy, I had to scrap weeks’ worth of work, which wasn’t easy. But I think it ultimately made the app better.What has been your biggest reward?
It’s been great seeing all the positive feedback for Battery Buddy, and it’s incredibly rewarding being able to bring a bit of joy to so many people.What are your next steps for Battery Buddy?
One thing I would like to add to Battery Buddy is the “Using Significant Energy” section that the standard macOS battery indicator has. Other than that I’m looking into how to best address some of the feedback I’ve received from users and incorporate it into future updates.Words of wisdom you can share for Makers looking to get started?
I’d say make something you wish existed. It’s a lot easier to be motivated, and just generally more fun, when you’re building something with the intention of using it yourself.
Neil and Battery Buddy show makers that scrapping a project and starting from scratch can ultimately end in more happiness and a better product. Try it here