A Superfabtastic Free File Management Tool

Every now and then, along comes a new thingamajig. Actually, “thingamajig” is such a great word, but it’s just so dang encarcassed with old school analogness. We need a new digital equivalent for it – how about “pixemabit.” One part pixel, a dash of data, and a soupcon of “e.”

So my new favorite pixemabit is Dropbox.

Dropbox is a freemium service that allows for online file storage and easy peasy lemon squeezy synchronization. You get, as I write this, 2 GB of free storage. It’s seamless, your “My Dropbox” folder appears in your “My Documents” folder for you PC users. (Mac folk, I’m sure it’s similar.) When you work on a file, save it to a folder in your Dropbox, and never worry about it again. Then you can access the file from any computer whether you’ve downloaded the simple Dropbox program or not.

For me, developing EZ Numbers, it’s been a lifesaver. I no longer e-mail myself the latest version, which was a pain the best of times, and then when I would forget which was really the most recent version, it was, well, not the best of times. And I no longer have to worry about my hard drive crashing and losing crucial data.

When you’re working on your EZ Numbers file, this could be really helpful in making sure that your file is always available to anyone who needs it.

I have no stock in Dropbox, wish I did.

These guys are the first to really tame the online file storage beast.

Entrepreneurs: Release Early, Release Often

In my experience, entrepreneurs do startups according to their overall personality.

If someone is a perfectionist, then their product or service will almost certainly be in the same vein. This doesn’t mean that the offering itself it will be of high quality, but that the processes and means of delivery will be well-thought out. Think McDonalds. It’s hardly gourmet dining, but you know what you’re getting, and within 10 seconds, usually when you’re getting it.

“Release early, release often” is a software development philosophy coined by Eric Raymond in his seminal 1997 essay “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.”  Definitely worth reading, and you can find it here: (www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/).

The general thinking, which can be applied to startups of any kind, is to not wait until you have things perfect – get something out, test the market, learn, iterate – then rinse and repeat until you stop making the product or supplying the service.

You’ll never really be ready for primetime. Don’t get venture money while perfecting whatever you’re working on.

Just get it into the hands of customers, now.

Whatever you’re making or providing will need to be changed, and the more time and money you put into it before you learn just how off the mark you are, the more expensive and closer to fatal you get.

By far the best money to come into your company is revenue (as opposed to investment, debt, or grants) and the best revenue is the earliest, as it brings along with it invaluable early stage information.

When I started EZ Numbers I was scared silly about releasing it to the world at large. (“Oh, I’d like to make a new Sales module. And if I could put NPV in Investment, that would be great.” Etc. etc.) Finally I just released the damn thing, and quickly discovered all of the following:

-In many aspects, it was less than what I needed
-In some aspects, it was more than what I needed
-In almost every aspect, it was different than what I needed
-In no case did I correctly predict which was which

When I got to the point, several years ago, that it was a tool I’d pay for, that’s when I released it. I should have made it available for free months earlier – that kind of beta input is priceless. Another of Eric’s phrases is “All bugs are shallow with enough eyes.” Let the market pay you, but even before that, if possible, let the market teach you.