Why I Built WakaTime

Every week, residents of the Hacker House gather around a backyard fire-pit while chatting about startups. It was a mind meld of professional programmers, designers, and entrepreneurs. On May 3rd 2013 at one of these backyard fire-pit events I came up with the idea for WakaTime.

Two residents, Kirubakaran and Robert, were experienced consultants and accustomed to tracking their hours. I was a salary-man new to contract programming. Sometimes, I would forget to start my timer or log time to the wrong project. The possibility for human error left a feeling of uncertainty lingering, not to mention it was a pain in the butt to start & stop a timer all the time.

“Why can't this be automatic?” I asked my fellow hackers as we sat around the fire that night. A plugin for my text-editor would know exactly how long I was programming and a web interface would make it easy to graph and visualize the logged time. I could still manually track my time, but I would always have a source of truth in case I forgot to start or stop the timer.

I always liked how the Swahili language sounds, and Google Translate said the Swahili word “wakati” means “time”. Thanks to my friend Jumana, for confirming the Swahili translation, I decided to call my new project WakaTime. That same night I registered the domain wakati.me and started building the automatic time tracker WakaTime.


About WakaTime

dashboard screen shot

WakaTime measures coding time for programmers using open source plugins for your text editor. You automatically get insights about your programming. Try it out, it's free!


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