Been ages again hasn’t it. Maybe I should stop apologising and realise that updating this journal will probably only be now and again and not on the weekly basis I though I would… we’ll just go with the flow shall we.
Previously on Braqes, I was looking for an investor, I had been contacted by two potential Angels from an Angel site and was hoping to start looking into hiring a dedicated developer.
Nothing has come of that. But thats good, because we are at a whole new level now. Read more →
Its been a crazy few months.
Lets get you up to speed, We launched Braqes beta. One of the most nerve-racking things I’ve ever done in my life. Giving complete strangers access to something you have spent the last year building and convincing yourself its a great idea and will work, then encouraging them to give feedback. Their thoughts, improvements and possibly criticisms. Its expected yes, I mean it helps you earn and improve the product, but still – imagine after all the money and time someone mentions how shit this is and whats the point? It will hit home, the startup is your baby.
Braqes was supposed to launch in beta a month ago, yet bug after bug keeps popping up.
We moved all the files over to the new servers – which I think may need to upgrade as well, and now I’m discovering certain things can’t handle what the site is supposed to do. It’s doing my head in!
So…. we just moved braqes onto its new home.
The past few weeks have been a little stressful, but an education at the same time.
Just before moving we realised that the formulas were all wrong, working out AVE’s is a simple formula that pulls in data from the different API’s I have subscribed to. All a user has to do is click “generate’ and they are done. However, at no point did I test them properly, I was more worried about the tech behind the scenes…. was it loading as fast as it should, did it look good when displayed. None of that has any point iof the very data you are displaying is worked out wrong… so check everything… school boy error.
So where are we, according to back and forth emails we should be two weeks out from a soft launch. Although this launch has moved so many times I can’t keep up.
Mostly its because of me remembering things I need, or better ways things should run. This goes against everything the Lean Startup book said I should do – get it out there as soon as. I haven’t.
Having said that… we are making the final fixes and improvements, and are so close.
I’ve just finished typing up a copy spec for the various pages on braqes. Normally this is something a bootstrapped startup would probably do themselves in order to save money but I’ve called in a favour.
I developed a website for a friend a while back and have called on her to see if she wants to work on it. I think I just want to make sure I get the message right. That homepage needs to convert – as much as I may invest money and time into a social or online media strategy to find my users I need them to convert when they land on the page. This will hopefully help in making sure the message draws them in. Braqes is hopefully going to become a hero in the users lives – so I’ve been brainstorming the tone of voice, the attitude and then using that.
This diary of a starup thing is supposed to at least be weekly updates. So I’m attempting to get back into it.
It’s been sometime since I last updated this journal of the startup, and now that I’ve restarted my blog I thought I best kick off with a catchup.
Since my last posting I was offered investment on Braqes for a large chunk of equity. As much as I got on and valued the input from these investors I didn’t want to give that much away at this point. Having said that, the investment was more in all of my plans rather than just Braqes, and I didn’t want to give that away. I was offered a lot of advice, and all of it invaluable however it seemed Braqes was sort of being bastardised – how it would be sold, service levels, costings and how I would get signups. It was becoming something that I hadn’t thought of. Pretty much similar to all the other solutions out there. I was worried that as much as it would have been my own company, I would have hated working on it and ended up resenting it.
I was offered an office, advice, accountant, legal, budget for an employee to start off and a direct line to the investors advice. Amazing, yet I didn’t think I needed all that just yet. I was advised to quit my job as this is 100% dedication, which I understand as it is their money and they need it to work – I wasn’t ready to do that. I’m loving my current job right now and it is the perfect place to be due to where this tool is going to be used. I suppose its a unique place to be as a lot of startups are born out of frustration or unhappiness in working for someone, but I’m in a good place and I think I can manage Braqes for now. I have been transparent with my employee as well, they know I’m working on it. Rather than have them bite me in the ass later.
Don’t work on it during office hours though, if anything screws up at work they could blame it on your focus. Be careful.
So I took a step back, and revisited the quote I originally received. Yes quote…not the plural. In my excitement and desperation to get things going I went with the first quote I got and that set the benchmark for the fundraising I was seeking. After putting the idea out there, on various freelancing sites – something I was afraid to due due to my idea being stolen – I had over 12 quotes. (37signals book get real states at any given time there are probably 4 people with the same idea as you – get to it) Thorough, well d0cumented quotes. 23 Skype calls later, I had selected my dev team.
Who are now developing my app at 10% of the original quote. My first potential tech partner had completely over quoted me and had offered to subsidise that quote for a chunk of the company. (which still worked out more expensive) – imagine a year later whilst the company is doing well you suddenly realise your tech partner had taken the piss out of you and was now a partner in the company.
So here I am, I have so far self funded this venture. Every penny I can spare goes into Braqes now. The hosting, the development, the APIs I need to power it, the advertising, the designing and any other costs that pop up.
Don’t let the excitement cloud your judgement – step back, run it past friends or family. You can save yourself a whole load of pain.
Braqes is now in development, I’ve seen the designs of the layouts based on my wireframes, I’ve approved them and now they are being cut up. Next step is to start implementing code and seeing if this all works…
As this starts to roll out now and I start to get learnings I’ll add that all here. For now, it’s all looking good.
Today is a good day. After months of learnings almost signing the first deal that landed on my lap, almost resigning from my current job, almost giving up – I have just made the first two payments in getting braqes off the ground.
I have learnt a shitload these past few weeks and have a lot of people to thank in answering a lot of questions and helping make this project finally start. This is another, long post. Its been an amazing ride to this point. Loads of frustrsations, bad decisions and most important, valuable lessons.
I’ll start typing this up soon. then we start documenting this first apps journey.
For the record, no one in the above photo works for me, the bloke with the blue shirt looks like a knob. I like cheesy stock photography