Monday, November 14, 2022

Sunsetting Mighty

Suhail Doshi (Hacker News):

I decided to stop working on Mighty after 3.5 years 😓.


Much of the web is bound by single core performance of JS. The headwinds of the semi conductor industry are too strong to succeed at providing enough benefit for users. We could improve things by 2x but not 5-10x. Ok business, not mass market changing.

On the Mac side, at least, the performance benefit is likely much smaller vs. a local browser on an M1 or M2 Mac. And if you’re using an Intel Mac, would you rather spend $30/month on a browser or save up for a new Mac that will be faster and more efficient in every way? It seems like it was amazing technology, but solving the wrong problem, or at least at the wrong time.


Update (2022-12-01): Chase Lambert (via Hacker News):

Mighty’s short term goal was to make people more productive with their browser. Our longer term goal was to build a new type of computer, but for this post I’ll be discussing our shorter term goals. The core goal was to make a faster web browser. By faster, I mean the time difference between a user taking some action and that action happening, like loading a webpage, clicking on a link, closing a tab, etc. The first users of Mighty were those that explicitly found Chrome slow. Figma, Google Drive, hundreds of tabs, slow internal tools, competing non-browser apps, and old laptops were common examples of this.


Besides these direct hardware benefits, we could also use the extra hardware in other creative ways:

  • Pre-loading websites in the URL bar before a user presses enter.
  • Saving recently used websites as background tabs, so that they load instantly.
  • Making a local CDN
  • Increasing cache sizes wherever is beneficial


Many users didn’t continue paying for the product for a variety of reasons. Some of the top ones were networking stutters, stability issues, and missing features (like webcam support). We also ironically struggled with a sluggishness issue. There were some specific cases where if you pushed Mighty hard enough, it would end up performing worse than Chrome for some reason that we’re still not entirely sure of.

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Still don’t see the value proposition.

If you’re an individual, $30/mo is a ton of money for an app that really just serves as a glorified VNC client to a browser (and the browser itself is free).

And if you’re a business, those $30/mo will be on top of the $40/mo you’re spending to lease your employee a mid-range laptop. If that’s an M1 Air or newer, you already have a local web browser that’s plenty fast. That’s on top of major security and privacy concerns of routing all your browsing usage through a third party. How does IT even audit that?

This made Creative Cloud look like a bargain in comparison, as at least you’re getting a fair number of comprehensive apps.

I give £17.90/*year* to NextDNS, and while I can't put a figure on how much it has sped up my day-to-day browsing, the difference is *very* noticeable on my 2017 iMac! (Sadly, browser-level ad-blocking and tracker-blocking are still necessary, though that's a reflection of how embedded Facebook, Google, et al. are in large swathes of the web today.)

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