MonthJanuary 2016

Bootstrapping Your Web Application

Let’s imagine that you have an idea for a web application. Your plan is to bootstrap the funding of the web application and use LEAN methodologies for bringing the business to life. You don’t have a development background or don’t feel confident in your skills as a developer to build the web application. You don’t want to go through fundraising via Venture Capital or other large scale investors but you know you need “capital” and/or “resources” to get the idea off the ground. What options do you have?

When you are bootstrapping a web application to existence you have four options for getting funding without using a VC firm.

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If you use Twitter auto responders be ready to engage

Lots of people use Twitter auto responders. There is controversy over whether it’s a good idea or not. It doesn’t really bother me. I get it. You follow someone, then that someone then knows you are “listening” and it’s their chance to send you some conversion copy or a link to their site. Not a big deal. It’s a bit tacky and not “warm”, but I get it. This post is not about whether you should use autoresponders. Instead, it’s about how to handle auto responders properly. If you are going to use Twitter auto responders be ready to engage.

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Artsmith Media merges with xTuple

Artsmith Media Merges with xTupleFrom 2009 – 2014 I owned and operated a web agency called Artsmith Media. In 2014 Artsmith Media merged it’s team into the xTuple team in Norfolk, Virginia. For five years Artsmith Media was a team of web enthusiasts, designers and Drupal developers specializing in building large, conversion focused Drupal sites for many customers in the non-profit and small/medium sized business sectors. Our team also built a distribution of Drupal called Code Driven Drupal (CDD) that was focused on building Drupal systems in a Code Driven Environment. It allowed us to build Drupal sites in dev, stage, and production environments and by keeping all configurations out of the database we were able to quickly move code between the three environments and use Github repositories to manage branches of the sites. The system increased our development time drastically. Suddenly projects that used to take about 500 hours could be completed in less than 150 hours. The extra time allowed our team to focus more heavily on project planning, requirements gathering, user experience, design and discovery work. This led to a lot of growth in both project size and number of customers.

In 2013 we partnered with xTuple, an open source ERP company, to help them build a B2B eCommerce system using Drupal. They had been working on the system for about a year and a half and were building it using Drupal Commerce. Our team stepped in to help them finish the product in preparation for a demo at an upcoming conference. In the Fall of 2013 we presented the B2B eCommerce platform at an xTuple user conference and the feedback we received was incredible. It quickly became obvious to myself and the CEO of xTuple that we were onto something big. After several months of conversations and negotiations we worked out a deal to move the entire Artsmith Media team into the xTuple team which became xTuple’s new Web Services Group.

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