Dekbed Expert

privatutor Soon after Univind closed down, I bootstrapped PrivaTutor. PrivaTutor was meant to be an online tutor marketplace. I hired several juniors of mine in college to develop the product. I acted as their project manager to make sure they made a great product. All the work was done remotely from each other's places. We collaborated the code using git/bitbucket. We had offline coordination meeting once a week on campus library. The product done greatly. It reached the minimum viable product (MVP) pretty fast. We deployed it eventually and started beta testing. In this stage of beta testing, I kept promoting it to a specific target market of mine: college student. They're the perfect early adopters for this phase. Many of them are looking for a tutoring job to make some money. Most of them knows pretty well about technology. I expected lots of feedback from them.  This part turned out to be not that easy. I kept fishing for as many feedback as possible while continuing the limited promotion and iterating the software. All those activity were pay rolled from my own pocket. I kept burning money from the selling of NeoHoster to run this new startup of mine. Server costs, development costs, promotional costs were all covered by myself. I did a little calculation that I had enough fund to bootstrap it all by myself until the product reach the critical mass for me to start hunting for investment. My calculation was missed. My fund was running out long before I could brought the product to its critical mass. Privatutor couldn't survive its first year.

Lesson Learned

Just like what I think about the dissolution of Univind, I also never consider PrivaTutor as yet another failure of mine. This was all just a little more step for me toward success. Of course, I took another lesson learned from this experience, something that I didn't get from my experience with Univind. Below are some of those:
  • Don't start a startup alone. Find a fully dedicated complementary co-founder. You would easily feel exhausted without anyone to complement your skill AND your spirit.
  • If you want to bootstrap, make a really-really thorough calculation with your funding. Would you have enough money to keep your business running until you could either monetize it or finding an investor?
  • It's not easy to gather feedback from user. Satisfied user would just use your service happily in silence, Unsatisfied user would just simply leave you. You have to find a way to stimulate user to give their precious feedback for you.
Layanan Startup
dekbed-scrSoon after I close my own startup, Univind (web design agency), I got a job offering from a similar firm in Netherland: YaviDesign. They have office both in Netherland and in Bogor, Indonesia. They gave an option for me either to move to Bogor and work on their Indonesian office, or to work remotely from home. I chose to work from home. In there I was being tasked to handle several projects with their clients, one of the most prominent client was Dekbed Expert. It was all Magento based online shop. Below are some of my job responsibilities:
  • Design a Magento template to be used by their clients
  • Create proprietary template framework to be used company-wide on future theme design project.
  • Develop some Magento plugin
  • Do a test and some bug fixing to some of their templates / plugins

Project Challenge

All my work here was done remotely. We used SVN as the versioning control and Redmine as collaboration and project management tool. This was my first time doing a fully remote software development project. Initially, there were many mistakes I did here and there with the collaboration tools. But as the time goes by, I was becoming used to the whole remote collaborative project.