Startups are quiet

Do you know what it sounds like inside a one-man startup?

The sound of one hand clapping.

I hear bits and pieces from a few friends, but basically, nobody knows about ROA yet. Which is because I haven’t done an effective job communicating, of course. Which is due to two major factors:

  1. A blog is the wrong format to communicate with most of my friends and family. Only one or two friends use a blog reader like Google Reader. The rest use email. I haven’t wanted to spam everyone, so I haven’t maintained a ROA mailing list. Thankfully, WordPress has recently solved this problem for me. You can now sign up to get these updates via email (see the sidebar on the left).
  2. I’m a perfectionist. I haven’t wanted to say much about ROA until I could point you to a beautiful, polished Web site where you can sign up for yourself, your church, etc. But it takes time and money to get there, and meanwhile, well, it’s quiet. It’s not just that I’m a perfectionist. There are real hazards to releasing something too early, especially something public and free.

Given that my progress has been much slower than I would like (it’s software, what can I say?), and given how quiet it’s been, I have been tempted to give up. But I’m not giving up, for two reasons, yea, three:

  1. I was and am convinced that God has called me to this work. He has given me the ability (however slow I may be) and the vision for it, and by His grace, I will complete it.
  2. Christ’s Church could really use this tool just now. Almost daily now, I think, “Sure would have been nice to put that in ROA.” Emailed prayer requests, our church directory, upcoming church events: all are planned for ROA. Just…have…to…get…there. Incidentally, also daily I receive my daily prayer list via email from the beta version of the software and I feel selfish for not letting everyone in on it yet.
  3. If I didn’t finish what I started, I would never be the same. Even if no one ever signs up, all the time and money I’ve spent on ROA are not wasted…IF I finish. If I don’t finish, it’s all a waste. If I don’t finish, I would forever question my own ability to complete anyone’s Web / database application. If I don’t finish, then I have given up on the strongest sense of divine calling I’ve had in my entire life. The cheesy motivational posters are right on this count: the only true failure is a failure to finish the job. This is a biblical idea: God doesn’t call us to succeed. He doesn’t call us to do what only He can do. He calls us to obey, to be faithful, to FINISH! (As you may have guessed, I’m writing mainly for myself here–I use my own blog as a motivational tool).

So what’s holding it up? Lots of little stuff. Putting up a Web page is one thing. Offering a Web service to the public is quite another. Think sign up, sign in, sign out, learn more, join a group, create a group, subscribe, unsubscribe, not to mention terms & conditions, and of course, pay / donate. And then a mandatory upgrade comes out on some critical component, and I lose a day getting the new version working. When you’re already overdue and struggling to go live in 30 days, a lost day really hurts. There’s no one to share it with, no one to clear the jam so you can move on.

And of course, I’ve been wearing a lot of hats: front-end Java coder, back-end Java coder, DBA, HTML / CSS coder. Don’t get me wrong–I love doing all this stuff, but when I’m working on the back end, there’s no one working on the corresponding front end. Which means everything moves…slowly.

I’ve tried soliciting volunteers; however, most capable folks already have full-time jobs so aren’t able to contribute much. I could go faster if I hired someone, but can’t afford it out of my own resources. Should I try to raise funds? I’m incorporating as a not-for-profit organization for this purpose, but again, I’d like to have something up and running before I ask for money. It’s a chicken-and-egg problem.

Which brings me to my challenging quote of the day:

Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.

— Mark Batterson (Chase The Lion)

I’m there! ROA is destined to fail without divine intervention.

THEREFORE, would you pray for me, for perseverance and WISDOM at this juncture? I covet your prayers.

Your Web / database developer for Christ,

David Chandler

One Response

  1. I feel so much happier now I undesratnd all this. Thanks!

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