It is now cheaper than ever to start and run a web based project. I refer to these sites as too small to fail. They are small projects. They are learning projects. I call them sandbox projects. Most importantely, they are projects that help and inform everything you do and look at in the future.
One such project is called Eat.ly
It is a food blogging service which allows you to take photos of what you eat and share them with the world. I realized that after sending off the last of our emails notifying people the service was now open, that I had not mentioned the service on my blog before. You see, along with being small, cheap, and easier to start – small web projects also do not have the typical pomp and circumstance launches any longer. Eat.ly has been around for months and gaining traction – all without a major push.
In that time I have learned valuable lessons about all aspects of the project; Ruby on Rails, Engine Yard, DNS settings, email deliverability, image SEO, lattitude and longitude, EXIF data, location accuracy on Android iPhone and Blackberry devices, search in a service, Facebook Connect, and much much more!
This lower cost of innovation means you have people starting more things, failing faster than ever before, and also launching things without the traditional funds needed to have a product see the light of day. Our costs for running this service are extremely low thanks to the smart folks at Engine Yard, and other costs are minimal. I believe our largest costs to date were Company incorporation and probably filing taxes for the year. Everything else requires hours we put into our project and support.
It is also a lot of fun! Our team has been actively taking food photos over the past few months and learning a ton while doing it. We have heard from our users and interesting use cases of Eat.ly and it is fascinating to see how people use a service in ways we did not image. We feel that launching a lower barrier to entry product about food was a great first step. This project has been a catalyst for ideas and we have some exciting things happening in the near future.
Its an exciting time – and I am happy I am playing a small part in it by launching services that are too small to fail.AutoMagicLabs, Eat.ly, Eatly, engineyard, Mike Singleton, Ruby on Rails, Sam Brown, Sam Huleatt