It has been about three months since I started this project. Here is a recap of what I have accomplished:
- I learned the Ruby language and the Rails framework. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I am far enough along that I'm feeling comfortable in my ability.
- I created an executive summary for the business. This helped me to nail down just what I was thinking for the site and got me to focus on how the business would work.
- I created a depth-first prototype of the site. Of course, being a prototype it was hacked together, but contained about eight major features that I would like to see in the real site. Not pretty, but functional…mostly.
- I successfully released an alpha version of the site and gathered a group of testers to try it out. Based on their feedback, I released several minor releases for bug fixes and improvements. All of this served to improve the site.
- I successfully released a second version of the alpha containing bug fixes, improvements and one new major feature. This is currently being tested by my group and I have already received some good feedback.
- I have compiled a large feature list to be implemented on the site and I am progressing steadily toward the next version.
I have been having a great time working on this. I have learned an enormous amount in a very short time and discovered a language that I enjoy very much. I have told myself from the beginning that, if nothing else came of this site, I would learn a lot in the process. Now that things have gotten so far along, I don't want knowledge to be the only thing I get from this. I want to see this site be used. I want to see the membership grow and the community thrive. I want it to succeed in it's purpose…
To tell you the truth, I am almost at the end of my rope financially. I am worried that I will not be able to see this through to the end that I would like. That's why it's time I seriously pursued venture capital…
I believe I am in a good position to attain some level of funding, but the world of investment seems so foreign and mysterious to me. I have read a lot about funding, but I still regard it as a strange and wily beast. However, I am going to try in earnest. I believe that having a functional site will help. It shows that this is more than an idea and I have taken serious steps to make it a reality.
Tomorrow begins my focus on capital. This means that the site will take a backseat for a couple of days so I can get down to business. Please share your advice on pursuing venture capital in the comments. I would love to hear other peoples experiences.
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