thirty days ago on february 14, 2011, ottoneu.fangraphs.com went live. it’s been an up and down thirty days, but overall i would have to say it has been a successful launch. first, some basic stats
- over 500 paid users
- 120k pageviews
- 2 to 3 server meltdowns
- thousands of completed auctions
i guess the best way to discuss my experience is to go through a typical day as the solo employee at a startup with this much visibility (the fangraphs partnership has resulted in hundreds of thousands of unique impressions on my banner ad). my work day tends to start between 8:30am and 9:30am, whenever i roll out of bed. west coast living! every day, i think “i’ll just check my email real quick and then go get ready” – this never happens. the reality is that i wake up, open up Mail, go through my 3 ottoneu-related email addresses, and respond to every email i have unread. if i don’t have a quick response, i flag the email to get back to in a second pass. then i go ahead and complete my second pass through the emails and see if any of the flagged emails require code changes.
i’ll save the suspense – they often do.
the next thing i know, it’s 11:30am and jen is asking me what my plan is for the day. pre-launch, i didn’t have these emails to go through, so i was able to get up, get to the shared office space i have, and start coding. now that i have semi-urgent tasks, i’m going to need to start waking up at 7am to get to the office by 10:30 i think. anyway, i get through those bugs enhancements and then usually shower before lunch. usually.
the afternoon depends on what the main tasks of the day are. sometimes there are larger enhancements requested or that i have thought of that really deserve my time and attention. emails continue to come in, and sometimes i need to help out a user or three. and sometimes a post i have on fangraphs requires responding to comments, both good and bad.
if i remember, around 6:30 or 7pm, i’ll get dinner. if i’m lucky, someone will want to meet up for a beer or to shoot the shit. or for dinner.
the night ends with, as you might guess, Mail.app. double check twitter and my inbox to make sure nothing is broken and people are generally satisfied. if i’m not coded out from the day, i’ll add a couple more features or tweak something that has been bothering me – after all, i am not only the coder, i use the damn site daily. and finally, i’ll take a break and play some video games or read or whatever.
nothing pushes one to exercise more than this life choice, and the one main improvement i could make in my day would be to not check my email when i roll out of bed, but to go for a run and shower before doing anything else. once the email tap is opened up for the day, it’s really hard for me to shut it off and go do something else.
another good improvement would be to not get into the coding mindset before getting out of the apartment. getting in the zone is, as everyone know, a fickle and important thing that you don’t want to break. getting into the zone in my boxers and a tshirt about 10 minutes after waking up can’t be good for me, and staying in that zone for 3+ hours only leads to me missing two meals and breaking out of the zone when i realize something smells awful and it is me. which is basically what happened to me two days ago.
it’d be good to institute some no-computer time in the evening before bed, but maybe that’s something that can wait until things stabilize a bit, like after the season starts and i get through the inevitable start-of-season bugs.
anyway, it has been a fun thirty days, without a doubt. i have a great set of users who are patient, understanding, and really sharp. i have a pretty good, if perennially smelly boss. and look – i work on something that i both own and love every single day. not a lot of people can say that.