Too overwhelmed to post
Hi there, you might be wondering what happened to me in the last couple of weeks. In short, so much has happened that I was too overwhelmed to write an update about it. The dust is settling a bit now, so here it goes.
- I made the jump: I gave notice at my job, there's no going back now! 🙂
- I bought one-way tickets to Italy for May 1st.
- I (mostly) integrated Mockups with Confluence
- I incorporated my LLC
- I met some great people
- I completely re-did the website, and this time it's for real
...not bad for a couple of weeks huh? 🙂
Quitting my job
I didn't sleep for 3 days about this one. I hated the thought of leaving my company, my friends, the products I have worked so hard on, and to cause stress to my boss and colleagues. On the other hand, I just had to do it, my mind is focused on Balsamiq and I really want to give it my best shot.
I had never quit a job before, so I was really, really nervous about it. Luckily my boss, and his boss, and really everyone at Adobe is a great, great person. Everyone was both sad and supportive and understanding and everyone wished me luck in my new endeavors. I was sincerely moved by everyone's reaction. It was really incredible. If you are reading this and are looking for a software job, go interview at Adobe right now. It's simply an awesome company to work for. I can't stress that enough.
I'm staying on part-time for a couple of months to assure a smooth transition, we are already interviewing some great candidates to replace me.
We're moving to Italy!
May 1st, one way tickets. We can't wait. Of course we have to sell / pack / store / give away all of our stuff now, which should be fun 🙁 Stay tuned, I think I'll make a little Google Site for it.
Mockups, meet Confluence
With the help of Atlassian's Jonathan Nolen I was able to code most of the server-side integration of Mockups with Confluence in a couple of days. It was fairly smooth and a lot of fun. Jonathan is now on the beta, hi Jonathan! 🙂
Seeing the integration come together was awesome, it basically was seeing my vision come to life. I can't wait until it's all done and working well.
I also decided to make Mockups a plugin for JIRA as well, Atlassian's super-popular bug-tracking / project management tool. This will significantly broaden my potential customer base, which is a good thing.
I incorporated my LLC
Easy: I met with a lawyer that came recommended once, then the rest has been over email / mail. Two weeks later I have an LLC in California. Interesting how hard it seemed at first and how painless it was in retrospect.
I met some great people
I had a nice long lunch / walk with Chris Kohlhardt of Gliffy fame. We had a long conversation about Gliffy and Balsamiq and my motivations for going into business with this idea. I have a lot to learn from him and I am confident we'll find a way to help each other's companies be successful.
In my visits to Atlassian I also met a few people there like Laura Khalil and others: I like how young, fresh and "hungry" the Atlassian folks are...it reminds me of Macromedia back when I joined in 2002.
Another thing I want to mention here is that my friend Ryan at Yahoo really wants to buy Mockups, but they use Twiki there. So I looked into it and the integration looks doable, I'll have to dust off my Perl but I think it'll be ok. I sure wouldn't mind having Yahoo as a customer 🙂
Yet another website redesign
Oh man, this was a lot of work (like, three full days!). I started in Illustrator, designed it up, then coded it in Dreamweaver with CSS (I think I'm finally getting the hang of it), then ported my design to a Drupal theme (another first for me, I had never used Drupal before). I also decided that I hate the way Drupal deals with blogs, so I decided to keep my WordPress blog, just skin it with the same design as the rest of the site. The result is live at www.balsamiq.com.
It might not be the best site out there, but:
- it's fully my design (well of course it's inspired by what I consider the best sites out there)
- I can edit every aspect of it through a browser, including adding pages etc. - this is hugely important, since I seem to tweak the copy of it multiple times a day
- It's easy to maintain since it's template-based (one header and footer files, so to speak)
- I can easily tweak the design (colors and spacing) now that it's all CSS based
- It will scale better and (hopefully) it conveys my message better: "I make plugins for web office suites. Many plugins for many web apps. And my plugins are nice, you should buy them.". 🙂
I am happy with it. Of course now I have to populate it with the tons of pages I have planned and tweak it forever, but it's now much easier for me to do. I also learned a few things in the process (Drupal, PHPMyAdmin, WordPress themes, CSS, more Illustrator practice...), which is always nice.
What's next for Balsamiq
- Finish up work at Adobe
- More website content
- Back to the plugin (finish it for Confluence, finish/fix the client side, do the JIRA integration)
- Get a bank account for Balsamiq
- find a small business CPA (I have some names)
- Set up CruiseControl (I can't affort Bamboo..yet)
- ...a lot more
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