44.25 Hours & Counting

For newbies to this blog, here’s some quick background info: Three weeks back, I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to see if I could launch a SaaS product in 48 hours (12 days x 4 hrs.) I had 3 different ideas for products I could build and decided to run with “Chemistry in Bite-Size Chunks delivered via Email or RSS” app.

View the latest version at www.brainbankhq.com

Over the last few weeks, I’ve put 44.25 hrs (yes, I’ve tracked) into my “48 Hour Launch” experiment. Where do I stand? Will I make the 48 hr deadline? Am I a multi-millionaire yet?

Okay, you probably don’t care about the last one as much as I do but here are answers: i) much further than I thought, ii) possibly iii) nope, not there yet.

Where do I stand?
I’ve given this baby a name. I call it Brain Bank. I love brains (specifically how they are capable of so much) and banks are a place where people storage their valuables, including money, jewelry, etc. I believe hard-earned wisdom & knowledge are a person’s/company’s most prized asset, Brain Bank seem appropriate.

After 44.25 hrs of coding, the application is quiet complete for ‘1.0’ version. Following in the footsteps of ‘half, not half-assed‘, Brain Bank is a simple software. Here is what you’ll be able to do at launch:

  • Browse through courses available ***
  • View information about a course ***
  • Register for an account ***
  • Enroll into a course (which will email you the next lesson every morning, until you’ve received the last lesson.) ****
  • Email automatically goes out every morning for people enrolled in courses ****
  • Un-enrolling from a course *
  • Create a course & add information about it ****
  • Add, edit & remove lessons into courses ****
  • Change the order of lessons ****
  • Add a cover for your course **
  • Edit your “About the author” biography section & showing this info on course page *

* Not started
** Started
*** Almost-done/Layout-design tweaks left
**** Done/Not gonna touch anymore

There are a lot of things that I wanted in version 1.0 that won’t make it in the first version including:

  • Paid accounts
  • Welcome email when someone enrolls into a course
  • Adding pictures into lessons
  • Adding video into lessons
  • AutoSave when creating lessons
  • RSS feeds for enrollments
  • Performance optimizations
  • Customized portal pages for authors
  • “Send Me a Preview Email” when authoring a lesson
  • Ajax interface
  • Single lesson courses
  • Option to “Turn Course into PDF” that automatically creates a classy ebook and makes it available to those enrolled in a course
  • Supplementary Files (for such as PowerPoint/Word/PDF/etc files)
  • Discussion forums

Planning went out the window
In my second post Day 1: Action Plan, I talked about some of my planning process. Five hours into the coding, pretty much all that planning went out the window. First lesson I learned was that multiple lists just don’t work, at least for me.

What did work for me was having one list, which I called 2-week dev plan. As I thought of things that needed to be done, I added it to the list. Tasks were sometimes detailed, such as “Change the width on the columns on the home page to fix the IE6 problem.” Other times they were general such as “Allow uploading of Cover graphic.” My to-do list served as reminder tool instead of a self-micro-management tool, which is how I think I was using it initially. It’s main purpose is to facilitate “flow” between completion of one thing to moving on to the next thing.

No paid plans? WTF!?
Version 1.0 of BrainBank will not have paid plans.

And for this reason, I can’t claim my experiment to a success as the idea was to launch a new company in 48 hours. And a company isn’t a real company if it doesn’t make money… it’s a non-profit.

The reason there will be no paid plans is because it will take time to code it as I’ve never done it before. I could just buy the SasS Kit but I’m not confident it will be money worth spent. Secondly, I’ll need to deal with the bank, set-up a corporation, etc etc. At this point, I feel it’s better to spend the limited time I’ve got in building something useful. But make no mistake about it, paid plans are a top priority and it will probably look something like the table below. This is just early brainstorming so don’t hold me to this:

Feature/Limits Premium
$45/mo
Basics
$25/mo
Starter
Free
Published Courses Unlimited 5 1
Draft-status Courses Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Sell Courses
Month Active Students 1000 500 50
Disk Space (for images) 1 GB 500 MB 50 MB
Invite-Only /
Private Courses
Discussion
for lessons

What do you think? I’m very open to ideas.

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2 responses to “44.25 Hours & Counting

  1. Hey,

    nice idea and nice app! Just less than 25 users (I incremented the user id to http://www.brainbankhq.com/users/25 ) but I am sure user count will rise soon šŸ˜‰

    Check my little Ajax chat (in German) I have deveoped within 5 days. I will extend it to a community soon: http://trier-community.de/

  2. Neat idea… something to dig further! Would love to enroll people in my FSL courses without having to leave the comfort of my office…

    Good Luck w your “48 hour experiment”!!!

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