Last Friday night, after two years of really hard work on SETT, we sent invite codes out to the four hundred people on the SETT waiting list, offering fifty spots. Whoever managed to snag a spot could either take a free basic account or buy a premium account and get 50% off for life.
The main point of releasing these spots is to start testing SETT on a wider scale, to get more feedback, and to begin work on some really cool blog to blog features. So if no one actually paid for an account, and everyone just took free ones to mess around with, I would have been satisfied. I figured maybe one or two people might pay, and maybe things would go really well and five people would pay.
As it turns out, thirteen people bought accounts, covering all three price points that we set. More than the actual money, which I've already used to upgrade the servers, I'm personally touched that people are excited enough about SETT to pay for it. I've worked so hard on this and continue to narrowly focus on making it the best blogging platform, that it's moving to have people who share the vision.
I'm also grateful for the people who set up free accounts and have already started using them. Many of the paid and unpaid SETT customers are members of this site who are active in the community section and comments, so I have high expectations for all of their blogs. As they get settled in, import their old blogs, and write new posts, I'll be linking to some of them here. Next Monday I will link to every new SETT blog that has at least one post on it.
The most consistent thing I have scheduled in my life are my biannual visits to Boston to visit my family. In my memory, probably because I try to balance spending time with my family and working, they serve as milestones in SETT's progress. Two years ago for Christmas of 2010, I started explaining to my family what I was going to be working on. I didn't fully understand what we'd be building, so it was hard for me to really convey it. Here's a timeline of where we were at according to those visits:
Christmas 2010 - Idea is brewing
Summer 2011 - Very basic buggy version running on my computer
Christmas 2011 - Almost ready to break the secret of what I've been working on and switch my blog to SETT
Christmas 2012 - Ready to launch and invite people in waves.
At times it seems like things move slowly, but when I look at it in the context of those family visits, which never feel that far apart, I can see that we've been moving at a fair pace. When I think about that next visit this Summer, I realize that things are going to be radically different than they are now. We will have really put ourselves out there and seen whether we can sink or swim. We've put in a lot of work already, but these next six months will be a critical test for us.
I have an unerring faith that we will succeed because I believe in what we're building, and because I know that we can't succeed unless I have that faith. Every day, even when I'm tired or unmotivated, I operate under the assumption that SETT will become a great thing and that it will only get there if I put in my time.
When I launched SETT on my blog and you readers responded so positively and made use of the stuff that we had built, that bolstered my faith. When DROdio and Sebastian switched, that cemented my faith as well. The support of the fifty people who joined SETT this weekend was another huge boost to my faith. I'm having to base it less and less on blind belief and more and more on actual evidence. I'm very grateful for that.
So that's where we're at. Onboarding those fifty people definitely had some issues, since a lot of the processes they went through were relatively untested, but overall it went well.
The biggest issue was three different people each encountering a strange bug which resulted in them getting 500+ emails from SETT. Each person took it so in stride that I'm still sort of awestruck. One new customer had to email back and forth with me for four hours before I finally connected remotely to his computer and investigated the bug through his own browser. I was again impressed by how cool he was about it.
It feels great to be making good software, but it feels even better making software for good people. Once again, thank you for being a reader and putting up with the (ever decreasing) bugs on my own site, and a special thanks to everyone who started a SETT blog on Friday and to those who tried but got on too late.
If you'd like to get on the waiting list, sign up at the bottom of SETT.com. I'm going to be giving a few invites to DROdio to give away on his blog, too, so be watching for those!
Photo is the Terra Cotta warriors from Xi'an. Or you can imagine them as the likenesses of the first fifty SETT bloggers, immortalized for all time in terra cotta in a small plot of land in central China which I bought specifically for this purpose.