Sunday, February 13, 2011

I realize I haven't blogged since I un-retired. So here's the story...

We sold in February 2008. After a year and a half off, I founded a new company with my previous partners to see if we could duplicate that success. (Anyone can get lucky once, but if we could do it again, maybe it it was more than luck?) We are using the same exact business model: working with local media partners using unsold inventory to advertise a local website on a revenue share basis. Instead of help wanted ads, or personal ads which is at the root of what was/is, this time around we are targeting coupon advertising. So in Nashville you'll hear ads for on radio and see them on TV, and in Portland OR the website is, but it is all one website serving local content to you based on how you get there. Hopefully, you'll find your local pizza guy on there soon, or a discount on an oil change nearby.

Not only is the product different, but the software stack is a complete switch. we did in ColdFusion, in .net, both on IIS against SQL Server. All on Windows. is done in django, an awesome framework for Python, on Apache behind nginx against postgreSQL, all on Ubuntu. I'm really enjoying the new way things are done. Much of the tediousness of writing control panel type stuff -- record insert, updates, deletes -- for customer service and accounting needs is a gimme with django's admin package, allowing my development team to hit the ground running. The django community has been a great resource to us.

So the software landscape is very different, but the hardware difference between old and new is even more dramatic. In our previous endeavors, we were paying about $1500 a month per web server for managed services. Now, using open source software on Amazon's EC2, we pay less than one tenth of that. It's a running joke every month when I announce our EC2 cost. My guess is about half of that comes from dropping Microsoft licensing fees, the rest is from virtualization efficiencies and dropping the human support.

Not all things are different however. This new project has given us the opportunity to hire back several of the awesome people we've worked with in the past. That has made it easy for me to go back to work.

I'll be blogging more soon about what we are up to, and pointing out things I've learned along the way, but for now know that I am having tons of fun.