Last week I went to a networking event for Girl Develop It that was hosted by AlphaLab. These are two really great organizations here in Pittsburgh that I have much respect for. Several of us participated in ‘lightening talks’ or quick 5 minute presentations, and I decided to share a little bit about how Andy and I ended up taking the plunge into the deep end of the pool and taking a chance on this dream of ours.
Following is the basic story that I shared with everyone. I hope it gives you a little insight into our journey so far…and if it makes you curious about giftbug and excited to use it, all the better! (Remember to follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep updated on our upcoming launch)
Jumping Into the Deep End
Let me tell you a love story about a guy and a girl. They met, fell in love, got married and birthed a website.
About a year ago, Andy and I had a conversation, you know one of those conversations that probably should, but doesn’t, come with a big neon sign that says “your life is about to change!” This is the discussion where we decided to stop talking and start doing. What do I mean? Well, for years we’ve been brainstorming all of these great app ideas that we wanted to create, and this was the day that we decided let’s do it, let’s jump in and see what happens. Let’s see what happens when we leave the stability of guaranteed income, let’s see what happens if we’re together 24/7.
We spent about 6 months preparing to take the plunge and in January of this year we started working full-time on our dream; our dream to build something – – and we still weren’t even set on what that ‘something’ would be. – – “I’m sorry, say what now, you jumped in without a clear plan??”
We jumped in with a plan to create and to try, and with a list of ideas. We had a list that we whittled down to a few. We had the safe, small, roll it out fast idea and the big, hairy, ballsy idea – – and hey, if you’re going to jump, JUMP, right?
So we decided to go with an idea that we’ve actually had for about 5 years, we had been calling it ‘Everyday Registry’, but that was about to change. This ‘Everyday Registry’, a universal gift registry as many are called, wasn’t totally unique – – that’s right, as we were narrowing down our original list of ideas, we started to realize that other people had already had this genius idea of ours. So why did we still go forward with this particular idea? Well, partially because we’d never heard of any of these other universal gift registries, and so that lack of name recognition was definitely a factor. And after hours spent combing the websites of our competitors, we knew we could do it better.
Because of our backgrounds we understand the importance of structure, we didn’t just dive in on day one and start coding, we did the design and planning work, but also tried to stay very committed to being agile – – committed to it, yes – – always able to stay out of the weeds, no. So we covered the walls of our home office in white butcher paper, bought a box of those markers that smell like root beer and grape and blue raspberry, and we did a brain dump of all of the website features. We prioritized what was necessary for phase 1, we wire-framed out a basic design, and started coding. – – ha! If only it was as easy as that sounds. There’s been a lot of learning, like BIG, Everest-size learning curves. And we went into this knowing that it would take longer than we expected, and of course it’s taking even longer than that. We keep each other focused to stay agile and reign in the scope creep. But like I said, it’s hairy, it’s a big, hairy goal. And we’re constantly learning, we make a good team, we’ve got good solid backgrounds in various fields, but we are constantly learning on the fly about marketing and social media and definitely about technology.
We know we’re taking a risk. We know that more of these projects fail than succeed. We know that most people’s first ideas fail, and if ours does that we’ll learn from it, and be better for it and try another idea. – – – But, I gotta tell you, I love this idea, I love the work that we’re doing together and I think we have a winner here. I’m prepared for the fact that this might never take off, but I also really believe in what we’re creating. It’s well thought out, it’s well designed, it’s tested, it’s simple. It’s good.