I’m starting to realize that this 4/1/2008 launch date for Tastefully Driven was a bit aggressive. We didn’t realize how much time would be wrapped up in settling into the warehouse. Nor did we consider how much extra work we’d need to put in as Detailed Image was expanding and reaching record levels in sales. After all, there’s just four of us. If I had it to do all over again, I would have pushed for 5/1.
That’s what makes it all the more amazing when I can honestly say that I’m 99% sure we’ll make our targeted launch date. It’s a testament to the focus and determination of our team. Every single person is maxing themselves out right now. No one is complaining though – just dead set on what needs to be done to achieve the task at hand. We all see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow so we don’t spend any time at all ‘worrying’ if we’re making bad decisions.
The pre-launch marketing has gone OK. If anything, that’s what’s suffered the most from the time crunch. We don’t have a ton of names signed up on the splash page, but we do have a lot of links to the site and a lot of blog posts on the pre-launch blog indexed. In the end, knowing that the site will be indexed by search engines immediately is more important than an extra thousand names on an email list. This is our most important domain moving forward and having it be “perfect” from a SEO standpoint is important.
So what’s left to do:
- Receive the remainder of the products. A few companies are taking extremely long to fulfill orders, but I’m pretty certain it’ll all be here by early next week.
- Finish writing all of the product descriptions. This is the one I’m most worried about because it takes so much damn time. I guarantee we make it…but these are being written right up until the second we launch.
- Photograph all of the products. George has a digital SLR and he takes amazing photos (see the pics on DI for examples).
- Weigh all the products (for shipping calculations).
- Do our quality testing of the entire site. I think this can be done in about two or three full days, but I like to allow for more time just in case something major needs fixing. We’ll start over the weekend – around Easter commitments of course – and hopefully be done by Tuesday.
- Write an initial newsletter to send to people on our splash page. Mike is quickly becoming a master of designing for emails.
- Write initial blog posts and have initial forum conversations so the entire system isn’t bare ass when the first visitors arrive.
Not a ton of stuff to do, but also not an insignificant amount of stuff to do. Everyday we still are processing DI orders, handling customer service for DI, SL, and other sites, and doing all types of misc warehouse stuff. On top of that, we’ve got Easter this weekend and next weekend we’re spending our Saturday at a charity event for the American Lung Association. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very much looking forward to both things and would rather push launch back by a day than miss either one – I’m just saying that those inhibit us from working and we really have more like 10 days to work with instead of 12.
By far, this is my least favorite time in developing a site. The time just before launch is by far the most stressful and worrisome: there’s always that fear in the back of your mind that what you’re doing could be a total bomb and until that fear is relieved I’m a bit on edge.
Then again, I’ve never been more confident in my life about something than I am about TD. So that fear is masked a bit by an extreme excitement. I’m like that ten year old on December 15th who really wants an Xbox 360. It seems like Christmas will never come.