Not sure I can call this a project, it never launched. But I learned so many leasons from this.
This was "that" project we were going to work on that would allow us to eventually stop doing client work and focus on the development of a product. You see, Basecamp had just launched and I quickly realized that that tool was amazing tool it was also going to open up the freelance market, having a larger freelance market was going to be a problem for billing, at least it was for us at our company (30 Second Rule).
So what was Recall? It was Freshbooks, or atleast what I had hoped it would become.
What went wrong? While I would love to say it was the developers fault, I'd have to really step back and look at what we were dealing with at the time. We had the prototype done, every single page built out in an HTML/CSS format and I must admit, it was looking AMAZNIG. Having build a few small software solutions before I thought I could manage this one from afar. that was admittly my first of many errors.
WE brought on a new partner, someone with an ownership piece of the company, we were hoping to bootstrap this until we proved it out. Our developer was vetted, he was smart (very smart), and he was more than capabile. He evaluated the templates, understood where we wanted to go and we began. Where the challenges come it, the developer was so good that doing the right thing in terms of development was boring, nope, we had to rethink every aspect of this software. We came up with clever new ways to do things, instead of writing to Database it wrote to txt file then would do dumps into database depeneding on when it was need but the txt file was local to the users computer. Crazy weird stuff that even to this day, I don't why we thought this was a cool idea.
We had over 100 (maybe over 200) people registered to use software. That was huge back then, there was not facebook or twitter. It was much harder to get the traction we were looking for, but we managed to do that. We just dropped the ball on getting a product out the door.
I certainly did not know how to manage someone that smart, it was my first official company and we were having fun. I think if that team was together today, launching that software would be no problem. The lack of focus, the lack of understanding what it really took to launch something that complex for a team of 3 people was more than I could handle at the time. The great lesson is really me being able to spend my time afterwards to study and understand what it really good to launching a good piece of software.
Projected lasted about 12-16 months
- Lesson: Stick with boring to get the job done, we made all kinds of assumptions about use case scenerios but never launched to even know it they would work. Sad really.
More to come