I Am Making Progress

documenting a new internet venture from day one

Green Banana

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I briefly worked for a software company that didn’t have a very extensive testing stage for the software we released. Our CFO referred to that as “putting out some green bananas.” That always made me laugh. My site has been live for 6 days and one thing I can say is that it is a green banana. The last 6 days have been seriously stressful, separated by brief moments of excitement.

There have been a large number of bugs throughout the site. In the first couple days, several times I had to manually delete records that were causing pages to crash (basically having nil values in places where they shouldn’t and not having any check for that). It was a bit like wack-a-mole dealing with it.  (NON-TECHNICAL READERS SKIP THIS SECTION) One of my biggest problems was the way I was handling the “Latest” news feed. When a new piece of content was created, I also added an entry which referenced it in my “Latest” table. The problem was that if the new content was not saved properly the entry would still be created in the Latest table. So this new Latest entry would be referencing some content that didn’t exist and the page would go CRASH. I’ve patched that up, but I had much more difficult problems as well. Users of iOS and Safari would often times get “403 Forbidden” errors when they would try and login. I dug around and found a workaround for that issue but now it is causing problems in the way I’m escaping the user inputted data when displaying it on a page. There is some conflict in the Rack library. (NON-TECHNICAL READERS CONTINUE FROM HERE) Needless to say, I’ve been super stressed out, but still glad to have a working prototype running. The last week reminded me that even though I’m very smart and creative allowing me to figure out complex things, I am still a noob when it comes to web development.

Here’s the stats for the first 6 days:

  • 61 user accounts
  • 263 artist profiles
  • 277 artist images
  • 470 artist videos
  • 596 total visitors
  • 7081 pageviews
  • 39.34% bounce rate
  • 9:11 average time on site

Good? Bad? In the middle? Although these statistics aren’t overwhelming, they obliterate even the best day of usage of my first project – www.HearTheScene.com. Still, there too few people to say much about “success” at this point. I can do some analysis and try to iterate and improve the traction.

Although there aren’t a ton of users, the few that are there tend to get pretty engaged with the site. By just manual observation, I also see that contributing new content to Feistie almost always comes in spurts. Once a user starts adding stuff they tend to add several pieces of content in one sitting. Hmmm…I haven’t thought a ton about that yet, but if I could get users to add that first piece of content more easily, I suspect I’d see a large increase in the site usage. It is a good theory at least.  What has been slow has been the addition of new users. I had about 40 of the 60 users in the first 2 days, so the site isn’t getting naturally spread around at this point. There have been signup, login and content addition bugs galore – so that is another obvious thing to fix to improve all aspects of site usage.

Since the launch I’ve pushed a ton of changes to the code. Most of them were real emergency type commits to just stop some catastrophic error from reoccurring. Other than that, I’ve tried to keep the real conscious feature additions and updates to once a day and late at night. The main updates so far have been an improved search feature, a favorite button for videos and infinite scrolling. My friend Craig who I mentioned in a previous post set us up on lighthouseapp.com to help me try and keep track of the issues and progress. It has helped me with organization and prioritizing my time. My next set of goals on the technical side all concern ironing out bugs with the initial feature set and the new additions.

Funding, funding, funding! Of utmost importance at this point is getting funding. My unemployment runs out in a little over one month, so I’m really against the wall with this. It is causing me a lot of stress, but sadly I seem to produce the best results under these circumstances. Craig is working on a business plan and term sheet. I would like to solidify the site and remove as many of the bugs as possible in the next few days and hopefully at that point I’ll have a workable terms sheet and business plan from Craig. I’ll finalize a pitch deck of sorts and then spread the word to all who will listen. I have some connections from my recent networking efforts in Philadelphia as well as some older connections I made during my time in Atlanta and Cambridge. I hope to not make this just a “friends and family” round but if that is what it takes than so be it. Oh also, I applied to demo at the April Philly Tech Meetup. That would be great, it is the largest monthly gathering for the tech industry in the city. It would be great exposure.

Here’s to smashing bugs and getting investors!

-pat

 

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