Saturday, September 29, 2007

False Starts

Got a FaceBook message from Bryan asking about incorporation tips and my "first full week away from work". Has it really been that short? Actually, I think it's been two full weeks (9/11 - 9/29) and his math is just wrong. But I certainly remember the feeling of time passing really quickly at work - I remember thinking on several occasions "Geez, it's been a month? I thought it was only like a week".

Since last Monday, I've gotten MogileFS working, experimented with the Python API, installed Pylons, and written about 3-4 simple Pylons apps. Have a decent handle on Routes, Pylons, configuration, packaging now. I hope.

I guess it looks like we'll be redoing the web end now after all; basically, I want a simple blank canvas upon which to build our demos. Seemed easier than trying to integrate it in with the existing Diffle.com site.

I was thinking recently about all the false starts we've had and things we've had to redo, either partially or totally:
  • I started with web.py's DB module but ended up ditching it for one I wrote myself
  • I started with web.py's Cheetah integration, ditched it for standalone Cheetah templates, and then ditched them for Mako
  • I spent significant amounts of time learning about internationalization and HTTP testing for Python, neither of which we really used
  • We did RejectedByYC.com, which we repositioned as Bootstrapacitor, which never went anywhere.
  • We launched as a regular Flash games site which never got significant adoption. The logic behind that was that we'd need those features anyway, but I'm not sure now that we do, and I think we're better off launching with only our core value proposition (the game creation engine) and adding back social features as we need them.
  • Initially we were going to use Ming for the Flash compiler; Mike found MTASC and Swfmill and we went with those instead.
  • I almost completely rewrote Mike's initial MTASC prototypes to fit with our general architecture.
  • We started using Prototype.js for our JavaScript library, which was replaced by YUI, which was replaced by Mootools, which was replaced by JQuery.
I know that in every successful startup, there's a large amount of experimentation and failure that goes on before you eventually find your footing. But I worry that we may be doing too much experimentation and failure, and if some of these failures were really necessary. I mean, our reasoning sounded logical at the time, but in hindsight some of these (like RejectedByYC/Bootstrapacitor/FlashGames!Diffle) were really kinda dumb.

Eventually I'll just have to dive in, fully, and whip something up. And I think we're close to the point I can do that, but not there yet. It's like I'm still pussyfooting around the edge of the product and not quite ready to make it a reality yet.

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