The Mad Dash to the End of the Year

It always seems like this time of year is the most hectic, and it always seems like I’m behind on something. This year is no exception. I wanted to get Christmas cards out this year, but it just didn’t happen. Perhaps I’ll actually get to this next year. I was at least able to finish the Christmas shopping yesterday, successfully finding everything that my older daughter had requested. My goal had been to have everything purchased and wrapped by the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, but that deadline came and went. The holidays crept up on me again this year – easy for this to happen when so many things need to be done before the end of the year and the wife starting a new job and a new routine.

I finally finished the two major Web site projects that I’ve been working on for several months now. Just getting these two projects done has helped to slow things down in the last couple of weeks. I’m especially proud of the Gamicon Web site and all of the bells and whistles that I’ve built into that Web site and no major bugs that have popped up now that users are starting to poke around in the system. I’m working on fixes for a couple of bugs that I’ve found and I’m finishing out the technical documentation on the databases. That site is even ready to accept the big event spreadsheet in January… something I didn’t think that I’d have done until the week before that spreadsheet is ready!

The last few months have involved so much staring at code that I’m glad the things I have left for the year don’t require that skill. I have a fair amount of writing and typing up what I’ve already written, especially things for Sexy Life. David and I traveled to Des Moines for the Venture School Surge Summit at the beginning of December to absorb some information that we can use in building out our business and our product. We decided not to participate in the pitch competition, because we haven’t had the time to reconfigure the pitch that Chris used to give during Venture School back in the spring. However, we have discussed giving our pitch at the next Surge Summit in April. In fact, we’re starting to search out pitch competitions throughout the Midwest in order to earn a bit of money to help us bootstrap this thing.

We finally feel as though we’ve laid enough of the groundwork for Sexy Life that we can start focusing on our messaging and interfacing with the public again. However, to continue building the business, we need to do something other than continue to pull from our own funds. We are looking to what SwineTech has done to raise the money for their business – the founders of SwineTech have traveled to numerous pitch competitions since leaving the Iowa Startup Accelerator and have raised a ton of money at those competitions. So, why not take this approach for Sexy Life? The next Surge Summit is the day leading up to the Young Entrepreneur Convention, for which I had already registered and signed up for the elevator pitch competition. We will have a product in the hands of customers by April, and being able to participate in two pitch competitions in two days to amplify our message is a winning proposition.

(If you have any suggestions for pitch competitions that we could enter, please let me know. We’re starting out by limiting ourselves to the Midwest and Midwest-adjacent locales like Denver. Rule of thumb: if I can get there in less than 24 hours on a train or 10 hours driving, it’s within my range at the moment. Let’s saturate the Midwest before we move to the coasts.)

Speaking of our product, Team Sexy Life had an afternoon-long Web discussion on what to put into the first series of boxes. We came up with two awesome main ideas, which we are developing into three different tiers based on cost. I don’t want to share too much yet, but I think we’ve come up with winners. Each team member is working on a prototype-on-paper version of the three tiers of the two boxes, and then we’ll decide on the winners to include in the actual shipments to our beta testers. It’s an exciting moment in Sexy Life’s history! I’m pretty excited to get these things built and sent out, and see what the feedback is going to be from our earlyvangelists. Stay tuned over the next few months to see what transpires!

In my next post – the final post of the year – I’ll be recapping the big events of the year and talking a bit about what is on the way for 2017. I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done over the last 12 months, and I’m really excited about what’s to come in the next year. Things aren’t going to slow down at all next year, and the calendar is nearly full for the first six months of the year already! Between my older daughter transitioning from preschool to kindergarten in the fall, my younger daughter transitioning from infant to toddler, two or three weekend events each month, and trying to wrangle freelance clients while working on not one but possibly two young startups, it’s going to be a wild ride! So, hang on!