Starting An Experiment

I've been neglecting my little blog here for quite awhile partly because I've been working on a side project that I didn't know how to write about. I'm not quite ready to pull the covers off it and talk directly about it yet (soon!) but I didn't want to let the private nature of the site prevent me from writing any longer. In the spirit of just getting something written, this is probably going to be more rambling that usual.

So, I'm building a website. It's a tool for programmers, which I think is pretty useful. Is it a "startup"? I don't know. I don't even really know if it's a good idea yet. The way I work probably isn't the way others work so who knows if anybody else will find this thing useful. Programmers are very picky about tools, and rightly so. When talking about my somewhat expensive keyboard I bought for myself to have at work, I said "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight" which is of course a famous quote but also fits how I feel about tools. Programmers need guns. Metaphorically.

But anyway, I don't know if it's a startup. It's an idea. It's an experiment. I would love more than anything for this thing to take off so I can hire some of my friends to come work with me. I would love it if this experiment took off enough just to support me working on it. But right now I'm not really interested in the typical TechCrunch / VC / Valley / Bubble / blahblah startup. I'm building this thing myself since I'm doing it for no money. I'm going to bootstrap it, which is startup-speak for actually making money like a real business. At some point if it makes sense to let somebody give me money, I'll consider it of course. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," and all that. Money isn't evil, it's a tool.

I think it's a shame we've lost some of the "2 people in a garage" excitement from the early 2000s. Yeah, there's a lot to making a modern website. So what? That's part of being a programmer, learning new stuff. That's part of why I call this thing an experiment, if it was a business I wouldn't be able to play around as much. I'm learning about Heroku instead of using a server which is something I already know how to do. I'm using Grails and Groovy instead of Java which I already know. I'm using Mongodb instead of Mysql which, you guessed it, I already know. Even stuff like wildcard ssl certificates is new to me since they didn't used to have those when I was an admin. Is some of this new stuff going to bite me in the ass since I don't know it? Probably. But I'll do what I've always done which is learn on the job. And in the end I'll have built something cool, learned a ton of new stuff, and had fun. And maybe made some money.

We'll see where this thing goes. More later.