I realize that I've lapsed in posting! I've had my head down and full concentration is in effect. The days have been long, with 12+ hour near daily sessions of coding away. We've made an astonishing amount of progress in such a short time. The framework is built and things are starting to come together. Features are appearing all over the place.
A few days ago, we got some major news. One of our direct competitors has gone out of business. On one hand, it worries me that they couldn't survive. On the other hand, I know that a big part of their failure is due to the fact that they needed to contract out their website development to another company. This means that every time they needed to add a feature or fix a bug on the site, they had to pay someone to do this work for them. This is a huge advantage that we have over all of the existing companies. Both Jeff and I are the ones who really know how to write code. Our only expense is our own time spend on this project. This will also allow us to offer our superior service at a much lower price than anyone else.
Thanks to a discussion with very smart friend of mine, we were able to take advantage of the other companies failure and craft a well worded email to a large group of people who we look forward to doing business with in the future. We asked them for their ideas on what they would like to see from us. Nothing beats listening to the people you want to do business with and letting them have a positive influence over what you are creating. We got a lot of amazing feedback and being a small agile company, have already made the appropriate adjustments.
All of the other sites who currently have a business still have a major advantage over us. They have a shipping product and we don't. Of course, this also means that we can study them in minute detail to find their weaknesses and exploit them to our advantage. I feel that we have been very good at this. We've spent a huge amount of time designing around every one else's failures. Our user experience is unique in its beauty and simplicity. It is hard to beat that.
Interesting times... looking forward to our beta release... now back to coding...