Monday, April 11, 2011

Why use blogger?

I"m a startup millionaire and I should be using my own domains, right? I use my domains for everything else, so why do this here? First, I'm not a millionaire. I'm a thousandaire and for that I'm pretty happy since not long ago I was a hundredaire and at a point not too long ago, I was even a guy with a couple of coins. Seriously.

Nope. For this I'm using blogger so that I don't have to do anything but write. I don't want to worry about settings or servers like I do for me and for my clients. I just want to post my thoughts so that you can see what it is to go from pretty much nothing to a startup millionaire.

I'm an American living in Istanbul. My wife is Moroccan and she is with her family because we are expecting a child and the small apartment I'm staying in, while having a nice view is nowhere for me to work, her to live, me to live, and us to have a life. Right now, I need to work and she needs to nest and the two aren't really compatible in a small apartment. Still the view is nice. It looks out over the Marmara Sea and there are literally hundreds of ships waiting for their chance to take the many flags of the world up the mighty Bosphorus. The call to prayer while not always done by those blessed with a pleasant voice, but still overall pleasant in the meaning and the idea.I am, sadly, too close to a minaret and the voice of the muezzin is sometimes startling to wake up to and overwhelming in terms of conversation. So, it's a nice place to work, but not so great to live. That's okay, right now I'm working.

I'm working more than I have in years. We have a baby on the way so it seems like the right thing to do and frankly, I'm more than a little with succeeding with these many projects I'm working on.

In terms of my resume, I was a homeless guy living in a van in Seatle, sometimes working on films, and DJing and pulling gags commercial radio. I went to China with nothing came back with nothing but stories, wrote a book that did slightly better than nothing, and somehow started blogging and moved to Hawaii. So, how did I end up in Istanbul, that's a long story and you can find most of it on the travel blog I've kept for years at
Along the road of blogging I got into building blogs and s and that led me to some interesting jobs where I had to learn 'on the fly' and that in turn gave me the skills for more jobs, etc.

And all of that has led me to the two projects I am working on now. One for my friends and one for me. - an expedia of hotels in Istanbul - The Facebook of World Travel

So, is paying my rent and is paying my dreams.

So, where is the startup?

Vagobonding is the start up. Here is what I know about business. Not much. I can't write a business plan because the idea of 'projecting' numbers on a business that doesn't exist or have a model strikes me as silly. I just can't do it.

So, I'm just building it on a shoestring. Adding features as I can, testing, and outsourcing to the Filipines for beta testers to use the site and report any issues or problems. I'm spending a huge amount of time learning about the content management system, plugins, modifications, and cool new ideas. And implementing them as I learn.

At the same time, my model requires that I interact on the site as much as possible and act as a beta tester myself. I don't particularly have any ideas for monetization, but I do have some inspirations I'm not willing to share since they are seemingly new ideas. So, we'll see. The idea is based on the win-win-win solution where buyer, seller, and middleman are all pleased with the deal.

First though, I have to get a userbase. To do that I am running a $10 contest for best profile each week and I am inviting friends, family, and Filipinos(some friends, some family) to join, have fun, check it out. It's a hard sell, how do you compete with Facebook? The answer is, you don't. Why go to that bother? People want to have separate networks. Just like in real life we have different circles of friends. Maybe they intersect, but not overlap. So, that's what I'm trying to create.A travel place, like a hostel. That's it. Nice. Vagobonding: The Internet Hostel. Come meet other travelers. Share stories. Share tips. Do fun things together.