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"Make Better Software" is a 6 movie course designed to help you as you grow from a micro-ISV to a large software company.
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Musings of an early start-up

I'm a single-employee start-up and have only been online for just over a week. Since I have nobody that I could vent with who might be in the same boat, I decided to start a blog:

http://freehouse.com.au/blog/

Any feedback on might site would me appreciated. Any tips on marketing/sales geared towards a local audience (even offline) would also be most helpful.
Alfie John Send private email
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
Hi Alfie,

I like your blog, and you've got it right, IMO.  Marketing is where it's at, if you want to sell a product.  It's good to have the technical background, but selling is a different field.  But it's just as fun and exciting, in its own way!
Sue Pichotta Send private email
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
Alfie,

Nice site. A couple of suggestions:

1. Get rid of those "no photo" pictures you add when there are less than 4 pictures for a given posting - it looks ugly and doesn't give the user any information.

2. When you click on a picture on the front page (and get taken to a link like http://freehouse.com.au/?view=14), you should show the photo that the user clicked on rather than always showing the first photo for that listing.

Great job, and keep it up!
Exception Guy Send private email
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
On the topic of URLs, a bit of technical nitpicking..

  I believe that adding the picture number to the URL would be a good idea, as it would allow visitors to discuss or forward the same page that they're looking at without additional instructions ("now click on the third picture from the left").

  Also, an URL scheme like http://freehouse.com.au/houses/1/photo1 would look better than /?view=1. This will also earn you bonus Web 2.0 points..

  Best of luck with your project!
TGA Send private email
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
Your logo looks like Treehouse, not Freehouse.
Well someone had to say it
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
"through to the esoteric such as  PPE and Java."

Java is esoteric?
Anonymous poster
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
I do a lot of real estate websites, and I REALLY think you need to get rid of any NO PHOTO boxes you have.  If there is no photo, it's pretty obvious.
Ben Mc Send private email
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
Oh - and I personally REALLY like your logo.
Ben Mc Send private email
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
That's a pretty sharp logo, alright, but the above post is right that it's easy to mistake for "treehouse" - maybe you could tweak it a little.
--
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
Thanks for sharing. So what is the business model? To draw lots of eyeballs and then profit on advertisement?
RC
Friday, January 26, 2007
 
 
Exception Guy:

1.
The aim of having 'no photo' is there so that people feel inclined to add 4 photos. Other property listing websites only have 1 photo on their search results page. I needed to stand out of the crowd on this one :)

2.
Thanks for the suggestion. I look into doing that.
Alfie John Send private email
Saturday, January 27, 2007
 
 
TGA:

The problem is that I can't do pretty URL schemes because I'm on a shared hosting. HTML::Mason has a clean way of doing things (dhandlers), but only if you are using mod_perl :(
Alfie John Send private email
Saturday, January 27, 2007
 
 
Well someone had to say it:

You only the second person to point that out within 50. However, 2 out of 50 is still large! I think i'll have to work on the logo a bit, but the majority still think it's sexy :)
Alfie John Send private email
Saturday, January 27, 2007
 
 
Anonymous poster:

Coming from a Perl background, yes Java is esoteric. Damian Conway has a nice way of putting it. Compare:

print "hello world";

to

public class Hello
{
  public static void main( String[] args )
  {
    System.out.print( "hello world" );
  }
}
Alfie John Send private email
Saturday, January 27, 2007
 
 
BenMC:

Thanks for the complement. Graphic design is soo much more harder than coding. At least with coding, you know you're heading in the right direction!
Alfie John Send private email
Saturday, January 27, 2007
 
 
RC:

The business model is to provide the best service. Advertising might come later, but I'm leaning more towards premium extras such as a photo album, maps, massages :)
Alfie John Send private email
Saturday, January 27, 2007
 
 
> You only the second person to point that out
> within 50. However, 2 out of 50 is still large!
> I think i'll have to work on the logo a bit,
> but the majority still think it's sexy

Not everybody here will say "+1 freehouse looks like treehouse" even if they heartly agree (I didn't). However, I don't dispute the logo is really cool. You should be able to fix that without tweaking it too much.
RC
Saturday, January 27, 2007
 
 
Hey everyone,

You may be interested to read my interview with Andrea Nagar. She's a regular poster at JOS and is the owner of Direct Access.

http://1000inspirations.wordpress.com/
Alex Choo Send private email
Monday, January 29, 2007
 
 
If I had a nickel for each time I read about a programmer dismissing the failure as "marketing", I'd be rich by now. Marketing is not a destination. You do not build it, "marketing" it and they come. You build it as an answer to the market need.

Marketing begins before you open your IDE. Why did you choose to make a site to advertise Australian property? Did you evaluate your competitors? Did you search for early and eager customers?

Most programmers create things on just gut feeling, with no proper research. They they enter the "confort zone", playing with IDEs, widgets, et all. Only when the thing is built, they see the light that customers do not grow on trees, blame  "marketing", sigh and start all over again.

Read "Shareware Amateurs vs. Shareware Professionals" before your next endeavour
http://www.gamedev.net/reference/business/features/shareprof/
Mauricio Macedo Send private email
Monday, January 29, 2007
 
 
Mauricio Macedo:

Actually yes I did evaluate my competitors. In Australia, there aren't that many sites to advertise property online without paying $150 after being verified that you are a real estate agent.

Early and eager? No. I don't have a 20-people analyst team with VC behind me to setup focus groups and conduct usability studies. I have myself from 6-8:30pm on weeknights and as much time as possible on weekends.

I just saw a need when I knew somebody who had a holiday house who wanted to rent it out for a week, but found out that it costs 3 times the amount of rent for a week to advertise online. I realised that this was crazy and knew I could do it cheaper.
Alfie John Send private email
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
 
 

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