New Web Service and Asset Type feature release

Posted by Pelle July 1st, 2005 edit

As promised I have now added a bunch of new features for web service use. The web service engine has been pretty much rewritten.

If you use a particular type of url a lot or you run your own web service, you can add Asset Types to set them up for future use with web services.

I still need to finish the gui where you can add support for your own XMLRPC style web services.

I have added support for E-Gold (An electronic currency) as well as for Pingomatic and Weblogs.com.

Next week I will document this a bit better, but feel free to play around with it.

I will be leaving shortly for Estonia, so I may not be too responsive to emails until Monday evening.

BAP #5 Believe you will succeed but don't let optimism blind you

Posted by Pelle June 30th, 2005 edit

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.� Jim Stockdale

While browsing around Joe Kraus blog after my last story about Great times for Entrepreneurs I stumbled upon this story about Startups and the Stockdale Paradox . It’s a story about optimism and realism, the story of Jim Stockdale who spent 8 years as prisoner in a Vietnam jail and was tortured regularly. He says the only reason he survived was that he was confident that he would survive, but realistic that it would take forever. He says the people who died first where the optimists.

Joe found the story in the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins which explains why this is important for startups in the chapter Brutal Facts

As I read this it hit me that this is probably one of our greatest errors as entrepreneurs. I know that my greatest fault in some of my prior ventures has been not changing strategy when I should have done so.

For example things mostly take time. Most of my articles here in this blog reflect this. You could save up $20,000, quit your job and start full time on your business. However I have learnt the hard way that if you do this, you have to be ready to support your business even if things don’t move quite as fast as you want. Maybe your business is fine, just growing slowly. Is it really a good idea to quit your dream just because there is no money for rent or food? Maybe it is, but it might be better to be realistic early and work out other alternative ways to carry out your dream. Thats why I’m Funding through a nine to five. If you keep going to the last possible point of survival you can easily get so disillusioned that you stop alltogether.

It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur

Posted by Pelle June 30th, 2005 edit

Joe Kraus says It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur

In this post he asks why it cost $3m to launch Excite and only $100k to launch JotSpot

His conclusion is that it boils down to the following 4 things:

  • Hardware is 100X cheaper
  • Infrastructure software is free
  • Access to Global Labor Markets
  • Search Engine Marketing changes everything

I agree with these, but would also like to add these to the equation:

  • Simpler services are more successful
  • Big is no longer cool
  • Better frameworks

Simpler services are more successful

Most new successful services are very simple in reality. Just look at Flickr, Del.icio.us and Backpack. They are all intentionally simple services that do one thing and do it well.

This allows you to focus your development and sales efforts and you need less focus on the foolishnes that I remember was rampant when I was at AltaVista during 1996.

Big is no longer cool

Burn rate used to be cool. Founders of startups used to blag about their monthly increase in staff size (read burn rate). There is no need for this and most people have got the gospel. Most people sucn has 37Signals are infact bragging about how much they can get done on a team of 4 people.

This wanting to be big is actually also one of my Bootstrapping Anti Patterns

Better frameworks

It is a lot easier and quicker now to bring a new service from concept to launch. One of the biggest things helping this is the emergence of new practical web frameworks like Ruby on Rails . This allows single person or tiny teams to incredible things in very short time.

Just look at the Real World Usage in Rails page to see what has happened in less than a year of Rails.

There are other similar frameworks where you could do similar things quickly, but really Rails is one of those economy changing tools that is and will cause a lot of turmoil in the world of web applications.

Conclusion

Joe says that there will be a lot more companies founded on $100k. This is true, but there will be even more self funded bootstrapping startups out there competing with their angel funded breathren.

Rules for survival by the founder of Go Daddy

Posted by Pelle June 29th, 2005 edit

Bob Parsons the founder of Go Daddy has given some good rules and advise for us Entrepreneurs

Go read the full back story at the above link as well as this later post When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think where he expands on rule 3.

For future reference here they are below:

Here are the 16 rules I try to live by:

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone. I hear people say, “But I’m concerned about security.” My response to that is simple: “Security is for cadavers.”

2. Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted. Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just means that it might not work the way you’re doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think. There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of “undefined consequences.” My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, “Well, Robert, if it doesn’t work, they can’t eat you.”

5. Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, “As you think, so shall you be.”

6. Take things a day at a time. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

8. Be quick to decide. Remember what the Union Civil War general, Tecumseh Sherman said: “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don’t know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven’t examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around. In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you’re doing as anyone else, provided that what you’re doing is legal.

13. Never expect life to be fair. Life isn’t fair. You make your own breaks. You’ll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems. You’ll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you’ll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: “You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others.” There’s also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: “A wise man keeps his own counsel.”

15. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There’s always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you’re really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time; we’re here for a good time.”

The above rules for survival are included with the permission of Bob Parsons (http://www.bobparsons.com) and is Copyright 2005 by Bob Parsons. All rights reserved.

Met up with Sean Treadway last night

Posted by Pelle June 29th, 2005 3 comments edit

It turns out that Sean Treadway lives a block or two away from me, so we met up for a couple of beers last night.

Great getting to know a fellow Rails coder and Entrepreneur .