Why not to do a start up

There are many articles like it, but this is the longest (ha!).

Many good points were raised in this article, by seasoned entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, on why and why not start a start up. Many of these points are just simple facts which, in the delusional mind of a start-up founder, can often neglect. Many are experiences that have also crossed my path.

I guess the best way to deal with all of this is to simply – soldier on.

Panic Coda Experience

I have been using Panic Coda for almost two months now. Here is my 2 cents worth of experience that I would like to share.

Like many people, I don’t usually pay for software (unless I have to). But, after 2 weeks of trial usage, I voluntarily paid the full price for Coda, and I am glad I did. It is a very sweetly written piece of software. At its first generation, it has many features that, in my many years of Dreamweaver usage, I didn’t know I would wish for.

Coda is responsive, much more so than Dreamweaver, on my mac. I like its execution of the file browser (it’s closely integrated with Finder), its tabbing features, the FTP and Terminal (which I haven’t used that much). The CSS editing is nicely done, although I still like CSSEdit’s grouping features. A really neato features in Coda is the web page preview, with integration with WebKit. It’s just like a browser built into Coda, and is very convenient for testing. Coda also handles line-endings and international text very well.

Coda is a nicely written piece of software, and it has many features that some software developers could really learn from. I wish I had known you sooner, Coda.

I still have a wish list though:

  • Site-wide text search and replace.
  • Movable tabs.
  • Insertion of frequently used codes (e.g. table, anchors) with user friendly configuration UI.
  • Option not to connect to remote server on launch.
  • Version control.
  • CSS items grouping into folders like CSSEdits

How to launch a web 2.0 business with peanuts

I have slaved over Yabbyland.com, the purchasing platform, for over 3 years now. Today, I read an article by serial entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki. He started his business Truemors with only $12,107.09 USD.

It’s quite an inspiration, to know that things can be done with little cost nowadays. I realized some time ago that I should have outsourced my programming, both to hasten the production, to allow me to focus on business aspects of things, and to allow a team of people to know the code from the start. After developing the software in-house and by myself, I now face the problem of getting someone to maintain it and to improve upon it, once we launch. Guy spent $4,500 USD (or almost $150,000 NTD) on web development. That’s quite some money for us at the start, but now considering the opportunity cost, I think it would probably have been a money well spent. After all, it only took him 7.5 weeks to go live!!!

However, there are a few intriguing items in those $12,107.09 that Guy spent. Is it necessary to spend $1,115.05 registering 55 (!) domains? Well, I guess “Truemors” is kind of hard to spell…. Secondly, I wonder what $4,824.14 in legal fees was spent on… I also wonder if we actually need that…

Lastly, I attribute the rather successful launch of this site somewhat to Guy’s celebrity status on the internet. People wonder what he’s up to, and thus the power of collective curiously drove the public’s awareness towards his launch. I don’t know if an online no-body like me could use the same tactics as he did. Perhaps I will need to spend some money doing marketing.

P.S. Yabbyland is almost ready, I now need a developer to maintain the code and a marketing guru to help launch it…

CODA by Panic

I am not easily impressed by pieces of software. It’s just too easy to write user-unfriendly software such that they are more abundant than they should be. My most recent excitements include Google Earth, which satisfies your inner desire to peek into other people’s backyard, and Parallels, which lets you emulate hell in heaven (no I mean run windows on Mac).

My latest infatuation is Coda by Panic, a long time Mac development company. Coda is a beefed-up text editor that lets you develop your software (mainly web site software) in style. Its interface is incredibly smoothly delicious, and about 10 times better than the industrial standard of Dreamweaver. I am seriously considering switching over. Oh, let’s not forget the price of Coda is $79 USD! Man, I hope the Dreamweaver developers are peeing in their pants, because they need to pick up their act soon.

There are a few features that I would love to see in Coda though. Panic, please add in a “collapse lines” feature that could be found in Dreamweaver 8. The same goes for CSS editing. Being able to collapse a few CSS items into folders and groups is a very neat way or organising them. You may pick up a few clues from CSSEdit from MacRabbit, which is another delicious app. Oh, speak of delicious, readers, you should check out Delicious Library by Delicious Monster for another totally sweeet app (yes, that’s 3 e’s).

Employing vs Outsourcing

Recently I have been seriously thinking about getting a real programmer to complete the coding for Yabbyland. This is harder than it seems. There are relatively few PHP programmers in Taiwan, and those that do are not very experienced. Outsourcing my programming to someone in Taiwan seems quite difficult.

I had contemplated outsourcing to someone on the net, maybe on RentACoder or eLance. However, I hope to have a long term relationship with this programmer, and long distance relationship is difficult.

An alternative is to hire an internal employer, a programming staff. Here is an article on this issue.