Revish & redefining success
Revish was launched yesterday, pretty much on schedule. Everything went smoothly, and so far the feedback has been largely positive, with some consensus emerging about the most beneficial improvements that need to be made.
If you enjoy reading and haven't signed up yet you should try it out - it's certainly not to everyone's taste but there's already a fairly diverse user base busy adding books to their lists and the occasional review.
Two questions about Revish that I've been asked repeatedly over the past week or so are "how is it going to make money?", and "how will you know if it's a success?". Both interesting questions, and in many of the questioners' minds they appear to be linked.
Let's deal with the money thing first. It seems that the phrases "social network" and "web 2.0" can't be uttered without someone getting excited about Round A funding (whatever that is), entrepreneurship and angel investment. So my bad for occasionally describing Revish in those terms without considering the consequences.
Fact is Revish was not created to make money. It was created because I wanted somewhere to record what I was reading, and I didn't get along with any of the existing book sites out there. It cost next to nothing to setup other than my time (please see the next answer before jumping on that one), a nice dedicated server from the awesome folk at LiquidWeb (which will be used for many more Champion IS projects), and a licence from OCLC for xISBN (because LibraryThing decided Revish was competition, so I can't use thingISBN, which is a shame because it's got much better coverage than xIBSN).
Which leads nicely to the second question. If the objective of Revish isn't to make money, how will I know if it's a success? Simple - it already is a success for me. Why? Because I've learned a huge amount while developing the site. Some of this learning has been technical, some business, some human, but by getting out there, moving out of my comfort zone and doing something that has expanded my horizons I've already realised an awesome return on those hours I've put in. You can't buy training that delivers experience like that. The fact that a lot of people seem to like the site is a real bonus, I get a buzz from creating something that people are using.
I've also picked up a lot of excellent advice along the way, which I'll be passing on to anyone coming along to Refresh Edinburgh next week. None of it is my advice, I've just benefitted from it - on the shoulders of giants and all that.
The one piece of advice I do feel qualified to pass on is this - if you've got an idea for a product, be it a website or anything else for that matter, do something about it. Take that first small step. Fear of failure can be crippling, but treat it as an opportunity to learn and you can only succeed.