Sadly, Taking a Break

Unfortunately the Making of Grouvia Blog is going on hiatus.

Being the sole person trying to build this product, my time is at an extreme premium.  As much as I love writing this blog, sometimes you have to sacrifice things you love to get through a tough time.

Last month Joel Spolsky said goodbye to blogging.  He expressed sadness at leaving his readers.  While I have barely a fraction of the readers Joel had, I empathized with him.

I hope this is not permanent.  But it could be a while before I come back.

See ya ’round.

– Lisa

* * *

Train Wreck-norati

My experience with Technorati has been anything but pleasant. As a matter of fact every experience I’ve had on that site has been a disaster.

It’s totally UN user-friendly, the pages are busy and confusing, and the blog claiming process is a complete mess. I finally managed to get the original juntopia blog claimed (I don’t even know how) and now I’ve been struggling for a month with getting the Grouvia blog claimed with no luck and absolutely no help from their support.

Let me show you the sequence of this excruciating process, I promise I’ll make this concise and completely factual without any commentary or diatribe. [Update: I kinda lied here.]

Shortly after I moved my blog from blog.juntopia.com to blog.grouvia.com I attempted to do the technorati claim process. I received an error about my URL being invalid, and managed to enter a support ticket of “other” because none of their choices matched their error message. I received an auto-responder message stating they received my ticket and assigned a number to it. I got nothing after that.

A week or so later I remembered I still needed to do this and decided to try again. I entered the blog url and this time I got a different message. Now the site told me that the claim was “in progress”. You can see this screen here:


This seemed relatively normal and so I waited an hour and the same message was still there. I saw the button that says “Complete the Claim” so I thought “Oh, I have to click that button.” So I did and got this message:

To really appreciate this, you have to see it within the context of the rest of the screen. Look at this screenshot:

Holy cow! (Oops, sorry, that was commentary.) Just pause for a second and look at this screen and ask yourself… what would YOU do next? I tried pretty much everything. I finally decided to contact support because I was getting angry and frustrated. So I clicked on the link in the middle of the error message, the green link that you can barely see, yeah that one. (Oops sorry, I did it again.) And I got this screen:

After selecting “Claiming”, I got this screen:

Technorati5
Uhhh…. Hm. None of those seem to fit do they? So I just blindly picked one and sent a description about my problem, and crossed my fingers that the right person would get it. You don’t even want to see the email I got back from them – oy vay! (If you do, just email me and I’ll be happy to forward it to you.)

By the way this was on June 21st. It is now July 16th (actually I wrote this post on July 11th) and finally got back to this again and the same thing happened, and I sent another support ticket in.

*sigh*

One question I have is this: how does this ultra-popular web application survive with this complete train wreck of a web site??? Am I the only one baffled by this? Is it because all the other ones are even worse??? I shudder to think.

In the meantime, my now-defunct juntopia blog is like number 3,245,761 on the popularity list, or the authority list or whatever the heck that ranking thing is they do. Since Grouvia has little hope of ever getting listed, I might as well just leave the old juntopia one up there and hope a few people stumble upon it. No reference to that OTHER web site intended. Let’s just not go there.

[Another technorati claim code: mpvbjge7hd]

* * *

Into the Fire

Well, things are definitely heating up on the Grouvia landscape.

I sit here wolfing down tofu curry from Wegmans (delish!) and hoping I can get in a good after-dinner walk with my dog. She really loves our nightly walks and I hate to disappoint her.

I can barely remember what all I did this week, it was a hurricane of activity.

Ok, I finally hired a marketer/copywriter, whom I so-far ADORE. His name is Karl Schmieder and I think I’m pretty lucky to get him. His web site and blog are here: http://www.messaginglab.com/. He gets what grouvia is all about and so far is super-easy to work with and knows all the stuff I don’t know about marketing and advertising that is going to be so crucial to the launch of this product.

I also finished all my mockups to hand over to the IA/designer. I have a colleague working with me to complete these, and she will also work on the functional specs. She is AWESOME and she’s doing me a huge favor by working with me on this. I’m so lucky to have her assistance, I don’t even know how I’d do it without her help.

Ya know, I think sometimes people must think I have a money tree in my backyard or something. Of *course* I’m going to ask for as much as I can get for as little cost as possible. Why would someone be surprised about that? That’s the way bootstrapping works. It’s called “negotiation” — hello???

Well at any rate… it was a stressful but productive week, and I got a lot of little details ironed out. There are a lot still left to tackle, but not as many as there were last week :-).

Oh one other thing, Karl wants me to change blogs. It’s a good idea. I need to move this blog to another domain, and convert this one into one that’s friendlier and more useful to Grouvia’s target audience. Yeah, he’s right. And I appreciate the way he thinks. It was a problem I didn’t know how to resolve. Now I do. Just like that.

Twitter Schmitter (or “Tweeting Frenzy” for the non-New Yorkers)

I have to talk about Twitter. It’s everywhere and it’s driving me nuts.

Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY is pushing me to get a Twitter account. Apparently my life will continue to have no purpose without it, my business will fail, my marriage will fall apart, Republicans will take over, and on and on.

Hogwash.

I have read lots of articles and blogs (but, happily, no tweets) on how great this little tool is. But I have yet to find a compelling argument for why I should spend my limited time “following” dozens (or hundreds) of people’s stream-of-consciousness rants about their pet peeves and kids’ poop schedules, and broken household items. Oh, I know there are useful bits of information being tweeted, but honestly folks, I’m trying to start a business here and I really do not have the time to sift through it all waiting for that pearl of wisdom to drop into my crackberry. I already spend several hours a week keeping up with LinkedIn, Facebook, and a dozen or so blogs I subscribe to. I’m sorry, I have better things to do with my time, and I have to prioritize. And yes dammit — I need at least 7 hours of sleep.

The only hope I have is that those who will be my ultimate competitors are spending half their days twittering and not getting important business-related tasks done. That will give me another edge over them.

I’m OK with that.

P.S. Here’s a salient interview with by Jakob Nielsen (one of my favorite authors) about the value of Twitter. Hear hear.

[Update: You might notice that I actually now have a twitter account (see nav links). As a startup, I’m trying to maximize exposure for grouvia and one reputable source says having a twitter account is crucial. So for the love of my business, I got one, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with it yet and I am still skeptical.]

Hi there, it’s me.

I think a basic intro is in order here…

I am Lisa Pecunia, founder of Avarra Solutions, LLC.  Please don’t look at the web site, it really sucks right now.  In a nutshell, I have recently arrived at a place in my life where I am comfortable leaving childish things (like working for someone else) behind me… again.

My husband and I had this awesome idea for a web site that supports clubs and organizations.  We went looking for one last year for his bike club and couldn’t find one.  A few have popped up since then (more on that later), but the idea has stayed with me since we first threw it around.  So that’s what I’m doing, and that’s what this blog is about – the process of creating this … thing.  I don’t know if it’s a portal or a web application, or a community, or just a web site.  I think it’s a little bit of all of those things, and more.

I look forward to sharing this process with you.  I also look forward to looking at this blog a year from now and seeing how far I’ve come.

That’s all for today.  I’ll see you again in a day or so.