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question 3 chrisc

September 18, 2006

Part of a series of responses to questions posed in the "have any questions for me" post.

Q: ChrisC

"Oh man, where to begin? grin

I'd love to hear more about your development environment. I'm not sure why but I'm always fascinated to learn how others are doing things.

Have you ever "run out of steam" midway into a project, e.g. lost interest, decided the project idea wouldn't ever be successful, etc. If so, how do you deal with it?

That's probably enough for a start."


My primary development environment is a dual G5 mac with 4gb or ram and assorted other goodies including raid drives. I also have a windows machine with VMWare's excellent server for testing various Windows setups (ick).

As for software I use BBEdit and I've been playing with Textmate as well. OmniOutliner for product planning. Subversion for source control. That's pretty much it. I spend 98% of my day in a browser or text editor.

As for running out of steam I definetly have. I'd say I started about 5 products before HelpSpot. I ran out of steam on all of them. The reason I ran out of steam was that I didn't understand the markets I was going into. So half way through the development I got scared and wasn't sure if it was worth continuing. Being better informed about the help desk market is really what kept me from bailing and also allowed me to commit even more to development than I otherwise would have, such as leaving my day job, selling my car to help fund that and so on.

An interesting note is that of the 5 businesses (approx) that I abandoned only 1 had a real chance at success. It was a blog server back before blogging truly took off. It allowed the hosting of unlimited blogs from one codebase and was designed for schools, hosting companies, etc. Actually I still think this is a bit of an under-served market, but I wouldn't want to jump in that game now.

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