October 5th, 2007 by Kevin
BrightMix has officially existed for one entire month.It was an exciting month, and it went by lightning quick.
Accomplishments for Month #1
Here are some of our major accomplishments during our first month of operation.
Set Up of Basic Office Services
|Email / Calendar||Gmail tied to BrightMix.com domain||Free!|
|Phone||GrandCentral.com number tied to our cell phones||Free!|
|Document storage||Google Docs||Free!|
|Source Control||SVN hosted on DreamHost||$10/month|
|Company Website||Mephisto hosted on DreamHost||^|
|Bug Tracking /
|37 Signals Basecamp||$10/month|
|Time Tracking /
|Online Chat||37 Signals Campfire||Free!|
In the spirit of bootstrapping, we aimed to keep our total monthly service fees low. These days, by leveraging Google and other web 2.0 companies’ services, it’s freakishly easy to get all of the basic services you need to run a small business for pennies on the dime.
Getting Bad Ass Development PC’s Up and Running
Unlike some of our previous employers, we consider the developer’s PC’s performance to be tantamount to getting things done quickly and efficiently. Accordingly, we purchased and hand-built two high-end, multi-processor PC’s with lots of RAM and fast hard drives.
We also believe that dual monitors (in particular – big monitors) are quintessential to software development work. Dusty’s set up has dual 22” Samsungs while mine has dual 24” Dells (it’s not compensation for anything – honest!).
As a side note, we set up an old spare PC to be our local database / file share / VPN / print server. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done for now. It took us about a day to get up and running with all of our PC hardware.
Settling into our Office
We’re currently housed up in living room of my house. It’s spacey and nice but not located in or near any sort of businessy area here in Omaha. It didn’t make sense to go start renting/buying an office space from day #1, but, business has been good, and we’re already entertaining the idea of leasing a space.
Where’s our Whiteboard?
A good whiteboard is integral to our day-to-day planning and operations. After browsing through the Office Max most local to us, we determined that their whiteboard supply was 1) priced outrageously high and 2) not big enough. The solution? Bootstrap your Whiteboard! using Shower Board from Home Depot.
Step 1: Glue Shower Board to Wood Frame using Liquid Nails
Step 2: Write like it’s nobody’s business!
Establishing a Day-to-Day routine
It has taken us a few weeks to adjust to our new work style and environment. Needless to say, it’s a bit of a trip moving from the employee to entrepreneur. Meetings with clients take up a larger amount of time than we expected, working late into the night happens frequently, and the wearing of corporatey clothes has all but vanished. In fact, a potential new BrightMix slogan we’re throwing around:
“We haven’t worn shoes since we quit our day jobs!”
Due to our massive sexiness and awesomeness, we’ve had a number of consulting deals come our way very rapidly. Our initial goal was to do just enough consulting work to cover the bills and pay ourselves the salaries that we had at our old day jobs. This would, in theory, let us spend about half of our time working on a software product of our own creation.
As it turns out, we’re on the verge of getting more consulting work than we can handle as a two-man operation. As such, we’re throwing around the idea of bringing in help in the form of interns, contractors, or possibly even employees (gulp!).
Things We Wanted to Accomplish
Some things that we wanted to do within the first month but did not…
Spending More Time Blogging
We originally figured that blogging would be an integral part of our operation. We do or find something cool—we post a blog entry about it, followed by a round of enthusiastic high fives.
Easier said than done. The cold, hard truth of the matter is looming client deadlines take precedence over blogging. (Note: this post was actually created a week after our official 1 month mark!)
Spending More Time on Internal Projects
We haven’t spent more than maybe a few days worth of time on some of our internal project ideas. Hopefully we’ll be able to dedicate more time to these endeavors soon.
We’re in dire need of a logo and a new skin/theme for our website. We’ve had some “complaints” about the neon green theme of the site. Apparently if you stare at the page long enough, it gets burned into the back of your retinas. Our apologies… our intentions were never to sear your retinas!
Similarly, our complete lack of a logo has postponed our ability to get business cards. This is becoming troublesome as we talk with potential clients and we have to verbally give out our email, website, and phone number.
Also, you’re just cooler if you have a business card – it’s science.
Where We Are Headed
Over the last month, we’ve managed to hammer down our day-to-day operations, basic office services, and solidify some of our client relationships. It’s been good.
Moving forward, we’ll be focusing hard on continuing to do good work for our current clients while probably taking on some new clients. We’re also looking at getting into a real office space and hiring on some development help, in some fashion.
We’ll post again as time allows!