December 6th, 2012


Yeah, this is why I like working for myself

The Querki Project is, without a doubt, Hard. I'm working longer hours than I ever have before, and it's flipping terrifying being out here without a net. Making your own decisions is fun, but it also means that you are *responsible* for those decisions, and can't blame anybody else for them. Step number one for any successful startup is Be Right, and the onus is entirely on me to figure that out.

But then there are days like today.

Yesterday, I implemented CSS Upload. One of the many ways in which Querki isn't your average Wiki is that it's CSS-compatible from the start -- since the very first real Space is going to be our wedding invitations, I have to be able to make them look nice, and that means Stylesheets. So I spent yesterday figuring out how to do uploads and downloads, and linking an uploaded CSS file to a Thing.

That worked fine, but I quickly realized that it would drive me quickly insane -- I'm going to need 20 go-rounds (at least) just to get the wedding invite looking decent, and having to do an upload cycle for each of those is going to be just plain annoying. So I decided to shoot the previous model in the head, and switch to instead allow CSS as a Querki Type unto itself. That way, you can just define a Stylesheet as a Querki Thing, edit it right there, and link to that from the Thing to style. That has a lot of ramifications -- it's less efficient, and OMG it's the camel's nose in the tent of eventually wanting a browser-based visual editor for styling -- but for now it's a heck of a lot easier than doing endless uploads.

That took about an hour. And it occurs to me that, at any company I've ever worked for, I would have spent at *least* four hours just justifying the decision to all the stakeholders. (At many of them, I would have had to write a whitepaper and call at least two meetings.) Sadly, "it's really annoying to use" is not, by and large, enough justification to change the spec.

So there's the silver lining. I'm responsible for all of the decisions, *but* when I decide I have to change my mind, I don't have to spend endless time arguing about it. That's really refreshing, and has a lot to do with how fast I'm moving. When the UX Designer, Product Manager and Architect share the same head, they do spend a little less time debating.

Of course, it won't last. Once I have a reasonable number of customers, I'm going to be accountable to *them* in a real sense -- my flexibility to make changes will be directly related to not pissing them off. But for now, it's really nice...