A little less than two weeks ago I made a goal to launch Feistie in two weeks. The deadline nearly upon me and I just might pull it off! I wrote about the minimum viable product (MVP) in my last post and that has been greatly minimized since then. I’ll tell you what the new MVP is and why and also write a bit about the next steps after launch.
This may sound crazy but I am completely removing events from the initial launch. Event listing is still at the core of where I plan on taking Feistie but managing them at this point adds a great deal of complexity which will further delay release. Also, the effectiveness of a user-driven, event listing site will only come once a certain critical mass of users is present. In my last post I talked about the critical mass problem (chicken or the egg) specifically how the videos, images and artist profile aspects of Feistie should be what propels the site past the chicken or egg problem with users. Removing events initially is really just focusing on that aspect of the site and trying to do it really well. Because of this change I will show a “recent activity” feed on each user’s profile and also put a “follow” button on every piece of content that a user added to the site when you see it in the various “pinterest-like” feed views. It is possible I will add the ability to comment on videos, images and artist profiles before launch but not if it will delay me for more than one day.
The MVP is now users and artists. Users can upload images and add videos to artist pages and they have the ability to follow each other. Anything a user adds to the site will be shown on a main site feed displaying the recent activity on Feistie. Users will be able to filter the “pinterest-style” feeds for artists or videos and some sub-categories of those items. Artists and videos will be searchable via a persistant search field in the navigation bar.
Once the site is launched I will begin to add features one by one as I complete them. During this process though I will also be looking at what users are actually doing on the site as well as reading all the feedback I get. Hopefully I’ll be able to retool features on the fly and really capture the moment. One early feature I’d like to add is the ability for users to create “playlists” which contain songs with different themes. They can make multiple playlists and they could be themes like “study music” or “workout music” for example. I also want people to be able to make various lists of favorite artists, again they can have any title they want as simple as “hip-hop” or “my favorite country singers” but I bet the users will get much more creative.
The other focus will be on securing funding. I had a conversation with my friend Craig this evening about funding as well as all this MVP business. It really was a really great conversation too, now I’m very very focused and confident I’m on the path to a solid launch. Craig and I spoke a lot about what I was looking for with funding and my vision for Feistie. As far as funding, he broke things down into simple chunks which helped me see a way to build up to an amount of money to seek. Craig suggested that I ask for enough money to keep Feistie operational for a year.
I roughly calculated the amount of money I need to make each month to stay afloat. Nothing exorbitant but I also don’t want to be going into debt personally anymore than my current status. I also want to add another developer, whom I can pay about the same amount of monthly “salary” as myself. After that I’m looking to raise a little more money for other expenses like office space, travel, outsourcing some work like graphic design, server/hosting costs etc. I haven’t calculated this exactly but let’s just say it comes to $150,000.
Next I must decide on a valuation for my company. This part is very hazy and there seems to be no rule that can be laid down. Obviously if I make the valuation low, people will be more likely to invest and if I make it high less people will likely be interested and I will be giving up a percentage of ownership in relation to the valuation. I have to think long and hard about the valuation and this could really change depending on the initial success of Feistie. It seems that most accelerator programs value new internet companies at around $1,000,000. I’ll just leave it there because I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to do.
For this example, let’s say I am looking to raise $150,000 at a $1,000,000 pre-money valuation. Basically, I have a million shares and I want to sell 150,000 of them at $1/share. Craig explained that I can look for a number of investors and just set a minimum “buy in” at something like $10,000. He also mentioned that there are some rules regarding the number of “non-accredited” investors and that could put limits on the number of people or who exactly I raise the money from.
At least temporarily, Craig is gonna team up with me on this. He runs his own business and has a lot of experience in the areas I’m clueless about. I really felt energized after learning all this tonight. It seems like a much more manageable problem. I don’t need to find someone to write me a check for $150,000, I can find pieces of that. Even one $10,000 check allows me to stay working on Feistie full time for a couple months longer.
So here goes nothing, next post I write should be announcing the offical launch of Feistie.com!
Wish me luck,