"We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, the thing was to get to that end, 'success' or whatever it is or maybe heaven, after you're dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing, or to dance, while the music was being played."</p>
You might be wondering what I've been up to since leaving my job several months ago. I made a movie to explain, in a series of pictures, what my day-to-day life of the last four months has entailed.
After countless hours of designing, coding, modeling, learning, networking, drawing, hacking, zipping, unzipping, scanning, testing, documenting, administrating, photoshopping, rewriting, tuning, fixing and launching, I have finally resurfaced with something I am really proud of.
I'm really excited to announce the opening of dibs.net, a local community online bulletin board for buying and selling stuff. (To check it out now, see what I'm selling on my personal site: http://kevin.dibs.net or read the "About" page: http://dibs.net/about).
Why did I build dibs.net? As the saying goes, "to scratch my own itch." There are other ways to advertise and sell online, but none came close to what people need. For example, eBay items need to be shipped; they charge high fees; plus everything takes a week to sell. Craigslist, on the other hand, works well for getting the word out, but the barrage of email is a nightmare if you have more than a couple things for sale; I could never keep track of who wanted what, when they offered, how much, or when they were coming over.
Enter dibs.net! I built in features for:
answering questions from interested buyers, and adding your answer right to your listing, so you don't have to keep answering the same darn questions over and over
managing many offers at a time, including accepting and rejecting
really great-looking listings, with no limit on photos
personal account URLs, so your stuff is listed exclusively at yourname.dibs.net
The result? There is no better way to buy and sell things in your community.
Of course, there is plenty more to it than that. You'll have to check it out to see everything it does. Now if you'll pardon me, I need a nap!
For the last few months I've worked tirelessly on my pet-project-cum-fulltime-startup. The cadence of my work has accelerated in recent weeks as I have put myself under more and more pressure to "go live." I have pulled all-nighters or crashed into bed at 5am more frequently than I'd like to admit. Through the neglect of non-essential errands, my car has developed a thick film of grime on its exterior and my hair has become shaggy and unkempt. My eyes are permanently bloodshot. My dog no longer reacts to the word "park."
The only guarantee about working tirelessly is that you will end up tired. And maybe a little cranky. Check, and check.
But despite these tribulations, this experience has been rewarding and worthwhile. I love what I've built, and I hope the world does, too.
This weekend I am focusing all of my remaining energy on launching. In the end, the feature set is going to be well beyond what I had envisioned for the initial launch -- a shortage of external deadlines and product managers leads inexoriably to an abundance of features.
Also, as I like to read about the plumbing and machinery behind web pages, I hope to have a chance to explain all the details of how I went about building the service. Since I'm a one-man team, I've been dependent on time- and money-saving strategies, including technologies like Ruby on Rails, Amazon EC2, Apache Solr and Ubuntu Linux. That, and more, in a future posts.
10. "WTF, I've been here four days and have yet to see the Space Needle..."
9. "Is DHH single?"
8. "I just started working for a startup..."
7. "So, can Rails scale?"
6. "pastie.caboo.se? Is that another name for 'programmer's-butt'?"
5. "OK, but what's your plan for revenue generation?"
4. "No it doesn't do that yet, but if you submit a patch..."
3. "Twitter is lame. Who cares what you had for lunch?"
2. "just ate turkey sandwich, wasn't very good 1:04 PM May 20, 2007 from twitterrific"
And the number one thing overheard at RailsConf '07:
1. "Fuck you in the neck!"
* - Totally made up, except the last one, which, when spat out by Zed Shaw, sent a shock wave through the adjacent conference rooms, and indeed may have shifted the Pacific plate a few inches to the west.