Brian Casel
Brian Casel
Founder Designer Builder

2023 Wrapped

Brian Casel
December 29th, 2023

2023 is wrapped!

Here's my recap of my life at work, life not at work, and some goals for 2024. Let's go!

Work life in 2023

The main story of 2023 was Clarityflow's major transformation!

Also in late 2023, I made some hard decisions about my trajectory and general direction. The last few months of '23 were a very intense period of personal reflection, strategic planning, and clarity. That led to these additional things I published today:


The rebrand

2023 was the year that ZipMessage became Clarityflow. Rebranding was a massive effort. It wasn't just a name change. It was a lot more:

  • All new name and brand and domain
  • A new website
  • New pricing (ended freemium, raised prices)
  • Changed the domains of customers' accounts (complicated!)

Overall the new name has been well received. We saw almost zero push-back or confusion from customers throughout the transition. Now we're 10 months into being Clarityflow and most people only know us that and don't know or remember ZipMesssage. Feels good.

Tons of features!

Our product roadmap in 2023 was, kinda insane. Having done a ton of customer research in 2022 and decided to niche down to make our product the perfect platform for coaches, I set out on an ambitious roadmap to expand our product to meet that promise.

I thought it would take 6 months. It took 12. But last week, we finally shipped Clarityflow Commerce, marking the final big piece of that year-long roadmap.

Here's everything we shipped in 2023:

New video demo

A few weeks ago I created an all-new video demo, which walks through the product in full. It replaced the need to book live demo calls on my calendar, and actually works much better to educate and onboard new customers.

You can watch the videos here

Marketing experiments

While we hammered through our roadmap, I (with the help of my assistant and contractors) executed several marketing experiments. Some wins, some challenges. Here's what we spent a lot of time (and money) on in 2023 in the marketing department:

  • SEO content
  • Pay Per Click
  • Cold email outreach
  • Influencer sponsorships
  • Affiliate program
  • Our new podcast and YouTube series, Claritycast


Bootstrapped Web kept going for another year!

Open Threads returned in December!

Instrumental Products

In late 2023, I started planning and plotting a new direction that I'm taking in 2024: I'm starting a new media company and brand that I'm calling Instrumental Products.

I'll be relaunching that 👆 website in the coming weeks.

The general focus the content I'll be publishing there is helping founders become "full-stack" and gain the ability to design, code, ship and bootstrap their own products.

The roadmap for this business looks like this:

YouTube content

I'll begin publishing new content on my YouTube channel in January 2024.

But I've spent all of December rebuilding my office as a video studio, and learning my way around production and editing and writing YouTube content.

Coaching & advising

I've begun taking on limited coaching and advising engagements, helping founders and SaaS teams with product strategy.

An example engagement that I'm doing has me working closely with the product team on planning, scoping, and shaping a big new feature, then advising on design, architecture and UI/UX, while finding ways to ship it to customers quickly and efficiently.

I'm having fun and learning a lot about offering my advising in a way I haven't before.

Work travel

I traveled to these conferences in 2023:

  • Big Snow Tiny Conf, Vermont
  • Big Snow Tiny Conf, Colorado
  • Microconf, Denver
  • Spoke at Cabopress, Mexico

Non-work life in 2023

Overall a great year for the family and me, personally. With one sad note...

We said goodbye to Trey

Our black lab mix, Trey, had a long 13-year run. I'll especially miss him as my coworker when I'm working from home, alone in the house each day.

Best shape of my life

I'm thrilled to report that in 2023, I came into the best phsycal shape of my adult life.

In August 2023 I weighed 197 lbs. Today I weigh 175 lbs.

I finally took control of my diet, focusing on portion size, getting enough protein, and learning to enjoy ordering salads at restaurants.

And I got into daily exercise, and really took an interest in it. Now it's truly one of my favorite hobbies.

I get bored easily, so I rotate my exercise routines between these:

  • Strength training (a modified version of 5x5)
  • Bodyweight cardio circuit training
  • Walking and rucking
  • Yoga

I also played a bunch of tennis in 2023, but I lost interest in it due to arm pain and just not being very good 🤣

Family travel

It wouldn't be a great year without our family's favorite past time, vacations 😎

  • We roadtripped down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (with a stop in Washington, DC)
  • We spent 3 weeks in Asia: Philippines (Cebu and Boracay), Anchor Wat Cambadio, and an unexpected layover in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Several ski trips, including last week's stay in northern Vermont


I hoped to play and produce more music in 2023, but all of my creative energy went into my work on Clarityflow. But I still managed to pick up the guitars and keep the fingers in shape.

My daughter (9) has made incredible progress learning piano and guitar this year, and it's been super fun to be able to jam with her and teach her to play songs.

In December, I picked up a new amp and I hope to spend more time growing as a guitarist in 2024.

2024 Goals

Here's a quick rundown of my goals for 2024:


  • Calm steady growth at Clarityflow.
  • Grow my audience, primarily through my YouTube channel.
  • Get back to my roots as a creator, teacher, and builder.


  • Play more guitar
  • Snowboard as much as I can
  • Work less and be more present with my girls

See you in 2024!

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