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The Fast Approach to: Side Projects (Tangerine)

We have many Fastronauts that work on amazing projects outside of building the fastest one-click checkout experience: writing books, teaching, producing music, creating apps, and more.

Today we highlight our Lead Designer (Internal Group), Pedro Marques, co-creator of the iOS app Tangerine. Launched in 2020, Tangerine is a self-care app for forming better habits, mood tracking, and journaling – all in one place. Apple has ranked it as a Developer Spotlight, App of the day, Best of the month, and New apps we love. It was showcased at Apple's WWDC 2021, and TechCrunch and Buzzfeed have also sung their praises.

How did you come up with Tangerine?

In June 2019, I realized my habits had a strong impact on how I felt. For instance, if I went to the gym three to four times a week, I'd feel more energized. If I meditated, I'd feel calmer, more focused, and happier. But despite many habit tracking apps available, none allowed me to track my mood on top of my habits. I saw an opportunity to track the correlations between my routines and my moods.

I reached out to a friend, Raphael Cruzeiro, who's an iOS engineer. We chatted about the concept and quickly decided to build it together.

What went into making Tangerine?

Side projects are hard. You'll never have enough time, so you need to be laser-focused and hyper-productive. In the beginning, we were working quite a lot – evenings and weekends – but we loved and firmly believed in what we were building.

Although we were ultimately building it for ourselves, we did talk with a few people about the concept. These conversations weren't necessarily about validating it, but understanding people's habits: how/if they tracked them, how they felt after doing something (e.g., going to the gym, meditating), etc.

The moment we decided to build it, we reached out to Apple. They said they loved the concept, and they'd be interested in supporting us as we implemented it. We had monthly check-ins with them to share progress, get feedback, and talk about exploring different APIs and technologies (e.g., Siri, Apple Watch support).

When we launched Tangerine, Apple immediately featured it in over 100 countries (and they keep featuring it to this day). It went semi-viral on Reddit, it was one of the top products of the day on Product Hunt, TechCrunch and other sites wrote articles about it, Google reached out asking if we had plans to build an Android was just way, way more attention than we expected.

We're incredibly proud of what we managed to build, especially given the constraints, but if there's one thing that makes all the effort worth it, it’s when we read App Store reviews or get emails from people saying Tangerine saved their lives. I could've never imagined that our side project would have such a positive impact on people's lives and I'm extremely humbled by this.

How long did it take to put Tangerine together?

About six months. We started building it in June 2019, launched our first beta in October (more than 500 people joined it), and officially launched in January 2020.

What inspires you creatively?

The work of the late Oscar Niemeyer, a Brazilian architect. I've always admired and felt inspired by his ideas and modern approach to design. The city I currently live in – Brasilia, the capital of Brazil – was actually designed by him in the late 1950s.

Where can we find Tangerine?

App Store / Twitter / Website

Pedro Marques is a Lead Designer at Fast, driving Design Systems, Design Ops, the Fast Site, and Admin. Formerly leading design at Kyte, he’s been building web and mobile products for over 10 years and is passionate about simple, elegant solutions. He holds a M.A. in Digital Experience Design from Hyper Island (Manchester, UK) and is currently based in Brasilia, Brazil.

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