The family tree is missing medical history
bijan: My wife and I have recently become quite interested in putting together our family tree. It’s such a diverse family with various backgrounds and cultures. And a large family at that. We signed up with Geni and with a bit of nudging and effort from various family members we now have a tree that spans over 380 people and growing. We are getting a ton of details that we wouldn’t have...
First Formal Beta Invites Go Out
Today was the day we sent the first batch of private beta invitations out to interested Genlighten users we’ve met at conferences over the past few years or who’ve signed up on the site. So far it looks like about 20% have registered. Not as many new lookups offered as I would have hoped, but it’s a start. Great feedback from one potential power provider.
I could talk for ages about how awesome and valuable the beta process was. We...– Ravelry from Tim Bray’s blog Ongoing I love the way the founder Casey Forbes talks about his Knitting and Crocheting community site, Ravelry. I want our beta process to be just the way he describes his.
Writing down your life story
bijan: We spent Thursday and Friday in New York City. Yesterday, we arrived at my parents in Long Island. Last night after the kids went to bed, my dad told us some amazing things about his childhood that I had never heard before. My brother and I have learned a lot about my parents lives over the years but I know there are gaps missing from the stories. And there are certainly photos missing....
Startups make all kinds of excuses for delaying their launch. Most are...– Paul Graham, 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups, via Hiten I’m really starting to run out of excuses for delaying our launch…
The whole entrepreneurial thing is that you kind of jump off a cliff and...– Reid Hoffman, as quoted by Jeff Bussgang in his new book, The VC Playbook (via fred-wilson) The ground’s definitely coming at us. But it won’t take much revenue to keep us safely in the air.
Making things is a circle. You start the arc with an idea about the world: an...– New Liberal Arts in Simple HTML (via heyitsnoah) Coming soon: Genlighten’s rough and ragged private beta. Then, “around the circle again.”
*Someone* seems to like it...
Despite all the usability roadblocks that are probably there, somebody managed to order 9 death certificate lookups on Genlighten tonight. Biggest revenue day ever! :)
I’m prone to those revelations where something blinks and things suddenly make...– Not So Quick Travel Blip | sbdc I love this description of those oh so big revelations that happen so rarely in life.. (via hiten) Sometimes they seem to come only when when we commit in advance to act on them, whatever they might be.
Which is more important: tithing or paying off my... →
Would that the dilemma were as straightforward as this Slate article makes it sound…
The ultimate goal of a lean startup is to identify where its vision intersects...– The Promise of the Lean Startup (via hiten) I *think* we’re built to learn. I sure hope we are…
There are so many people that don’t care about their past. They are more...– Jennifer from the “But Now I’m Found” blog: My Genealogy Habit I like the idea of genealogy as the “rear view mirror” of our lives.
It’s really amazing how many startups fail. Not that ideas fail, no, that’s a...– Colin Plamondon, How the opportunity cost of a great idea destroys startups Funny, those are just about our “don’t die” costs, too.
By far the dominant reason for not releasing sooner was a reluctance to trade...– Kent Beck, Three Rivers Institute blog, Approaching A Minimum Viable Product also quoted on 37Signals’ SvN blog.
When Web Developers Don't Consider Usability →
Via the GetElastic blog Should users be able to complete the entire checkout process without having to register? If not, how should registration be handled? These are the familiar e-commerce site usability issues Genlighten is grappling with right now.
I believe the real driving force is thousands of Etsy sellers using Twitter (and...– Fred Wilson, How Etsy Uses Twitter, from his A VC blog Since I’ve often described Genlighten.com as “Etsy for Genealogy Document Retrieval”, it should come as no surprise that I see Etsy’s Twitter strategy as a perfect fit for us. As our providers Twitter about the lookups...
An entrepreneur is only able to mentally fully commit if he is able to break any...– Leo Sternlicht, The Overconfident and Unrealistic Entrepreneur I’ve pretty much broken my prior reservations… but I’m still a long way from quitting the day job. I’ve got the overconfident and unrealistic part down, though.
Genlighten Presentation at the EGS Monthly Meeting →
Our presentation tonight went fairly well. About 50 in attendance… some great questions/suggestions, and very productive chat with a local APG leader who strongly encouraged us to attend the International Black Genealogy Summit coming up in October. Highlight was the live demo Cyndy and I did of the lookup ordering / fulfillment process (and client-provider messaging in real time!)
If you’ve never supported your own software, spending just one day doing...– Nick Bradbury, If You Want to Write Useful Software, You Have to Do Tech Support I’m actually kind of looking forward to doing this.
If rewards do not work, what does? I recommend that employers pay workers well...– from Alfie Kohn, “For Best Results, Forget the Bonus”, via Hacker News Choice, collaboration, content… and equity?
I think we need a new word. Something that isn’t demeaning. Something...– Josh Kopelman on why we need a better term for “Lifestyle Business.” I haven’t been able to come up with anything better than the options given by the commenters to Josh’s post. I kinda like “Kauffmann Business” (suggested by commenter Miles.) Personally,...
I have a “Rule of Time in Startups”: How much time does a...– Jason Cohen, Sacrifice your health for your startup, from his A Smart Bear blog. Dean: I don’t completely buy his main premise… but then, we’re not successful yet!
"We do it for you"
One enthusiastic visitor to the Genlighten booth today suggested we need a new sign… a big one to go behind the booth that says simply “We do it for you!” I’ve shied away from that use case so far… the person who is really stuck and tired of being stuck and just wants someone to helicopter them beyond the research obstacle they’re facing. I see that as the...
Most of the people involved never intended to be entrepreneurs, it just sort of...– from Entrepreneurship Is Not Sexy on Rob May’s Coconut Headsets blog Perserverance. Well at least that’s one successful startup founder trait I’ve got.
Genlighten Working Dinner at Gillson Park
Cyndy and I wanted to test some crucial fixes our CTO just implemented and brainstorm around some UI/UX design changes we’ve been pondering. We ordered takeout Chinese food and headed down to Gillson Park in Wilmette along the lakeshore. We found a nice table, fired up the MiFi 2200 and took turns ordering lookups and mock-fulfilling them. Kept it up until the mosquitoes got too annoying.
Don’t wait for perfection—launch and learn →
I’ve struggled with this the whole way and it’s coming to a head now. I find myself wanting to tweak things that are about appearance more than usability… and hold off letting customers in until I’m done tweaking. Got to stop that and move on.
As recently as one year ago, everyone worked hard at making sure their brand was...– via Ryan Carson, Don’t Let Your Baby Die — How to Use Social Capital to Market Your Web App
Microcopy is extremely contextual…that’s why it’s so valuable. It answers a very...– From Joshua Porter, Writing Microcopy, on his Bokardo blog
If your goal is to have a huge company and sell $100,000,000 of software per...– from Jason Cohen, Too small to fail: How startups can grow in recessions, on the “a smart bear” blog. Right now, I’d be thrilled making $100,000/year, believe me.
If your company has VC investors, they will reduce the probabilities of an exit...– Exits with VC and Angel Investors (via rafer) Dean’s take: Exactly. 1-5x return for angels, here we come.
At first, entrepreneurship is a Faith-based initiative. There is no certainty...– from Steve Blank’s blog post today entitled Faith-Based versus Fact-Based Decision Making.
I think that founders stock before a venture financing should be subject to the...– From Yokum Taku’s Startup Company Lawyer blog. Spent some time today trying to get various legal and accounting issues taken care of before we start letting people try out our private beta.
Ask PG: YC Founders over 30 yrs old 46 points by dannyr 7 hours ago | 33...– From a post on Hacker News by user dannyr. PG stands for Paul Graham. YC stands for Y Combinator, Paul Graham’s entrepreneurial ‘not-an-incubator’ venture program for early-stage startups. I’m about to turn 49, and I plan to apply to Y Combinator early next year. Though our...
Killing the troll isn’t easy, but you have to do it if you want to monetize your...– from The #1 Conversion Killer in Your Copy (And How to Beat It) by Sonia Simone on CopyBlogger
If you build it, congratulations, but don’t expect too much. If you build it,...– From Patience and hard work by Des Tranynor on Contrast’s always excellent blog.
Even if I could find all the relevant official records digitized on the...– From Sharon Tate Moody’s article “It takes details to bring your ancestors to life” in the Tampa Tribune, May 24th, 2009.
There’s no use going to a show if you don’t know why. Answers like, “because...– From Steve Blank, Going to Trade Shows Like It Matters At NGS, I thought we managed to generate awareness, build rapport with current (registered) customers, get press, get additional partners, and build our mailing list with quality names. We did many of the other things he suggests too. But I...
The social technologies we see in use today are fundamentally panoptical - the...– Joshua-Michéle Ross, The Digital Panopticon, via O’Reilly Radar. The author uses a fear-inducing analogy to explore what we risk and potentially give up when we casually share truths about ourselves on Facebook, Twitter, et al. I don’t see things in quite so ominous terms, but the...