I really don't have a well defined purpose for this blog. Part of it will be me just documenting some stories from how I got started, to lessons learned from starting and failing companies. After I catch up on history, I'll probably blog when I learn something I find worth documenting. That's about it.
Likester started as Me and Ben wanting to branch out a little bit from just doing email. Likester was a company that approached me as a developer needing help with their technology. They had a product that local businesses would use to encourage people visiting their store or restaurant to leave them a yelp or google review. It was basically a QR code that linked right to a site on likester that would link from there out to yelp and google. So a single place where they could manage which sites they linked to, and encourage users to go rate them.
Horoscope Zone started as a potential way to manage an email list that was getting daily emails, that would be a high delivery, low complaint list. We were managing lists for people, but most of it wasn't targeted, and had high complaint rates.
Horoscope Zone had a pretty solid methodology, and a good technology stack to build on.
It did not have enough momentum to really make a business out of it. The idea was that it would get subscribers alot faster than it did, and we'd be able to monetize them a lot better than we did.
Ironclad started as a joint venture between me and Ben. We were both working in affiliate email marketing, and had used software given to us by another company, and worked with their network of offers, and had our arms around what the industry was doing. At some point, we said to ourselves, we can do this on our own. We were paying a huge percentage of what we made back to the network just to use their software, and I was certain we could build our own for cheaper.
The US military put together their own forge site, and was working on having it be based on Kenai, as well as some pieces being supplied by a Drupal site. We went into some discussion and alpha versions of what the product would look like. They never took the pieces we built and put into production, but it was pretty interesting to work with the military on a project. Apparently me being Canadian didn't trip up the background check :)
The Linux Foundation had similar requirements to other developer networks. They wanted to be able to connect their developers in such a way that they could communicate efficiently, while also retaining communications to be searched and archived as a knowledgebase. They had an existing mailing list that they wanted to integrate with a new forum feature on the site. Drupal handles this effectively, and we were able to sync up comments and replies on both pieces of technology so they talked to each other.
Informatica is one of a few companies who was developing an internal developer network. These are typically built with workflow components, helping the teams to manage and progress on projects. They also have components of knowledge storage. They are meant to help companies retain information from employees so it doesn't get lost when employees transition out or into different roles.
This project was an incredible learning experience. There were many pieces that were built custom just for Sun/Oracle. I learned how to negotiate corporate america more through this project than ever before.
This project started as a port off of O'Reilly's custom CMS that they had built for Sun, and migration scripts that took all the data and merged it into Drupal nodes. We were building the site, including content types, taxonomies, fields, theme, etc. This included microsites for specific groups within Sun, and custom themes for each of these microsites.
When I had started consulting, and was trying to just stay busier with more jobs, I stumbled across a ifreelance.com post that was looking for a Drupal theme developer. I had built a few themes already, and felt I knew enough to tackle it. If I remember, the site's post was saying they were hoping it could be done for under 10k. If I remember right, my hourly rate at the time was around $40, so I was certain I could do it for less than that.
Docket Monitor has a long and sad history. It was a pretty slick piece of technology. It took cases on the federal courts as well as lots of state courts, and kept checking the docket on a schedule to see if there were any updates to your cases. If it found an update, it would send you an email or an sms with a message saying what had been updated.
Turns out the biggest problem with this is that the main lawyers on a case already receive notifications. So this would only be cases that you weren't directly listed on. Think for paralegals or junior lawyers on a case.