2002-09-24 SvsG Emails
18:13 from Nick
This is email is a reply to a message (also included) from an outside source asking for programming work. Although it is not a communication between myself and Lynne or Bubba, I did go into some detail about our situation, and as such it is a good record of how I understood that situation as of this date (2002-09-24). (Unfortunately, it looks like I didn't cc: either of them; I probably was thinking it unlikely that anything would come of this, and didn't want to distract them from whatever else they were working on.)
I think the "friend" referred to in item 1 was Juliet Easton.
|Date:||Tue, 24 Sep 2002 18:13:48 -0400|
|From:||"N. Staddon" <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|To:||"Oksana Svetlova" <email@example.com>|
|Subject:||Re: Please confirm receipt..|
Yes, I did receive your earlier message -- I am sorry I did not respond sooner; mainly I wasn't immediately sure of what answer to give you, so I decided to think about it for a few more days and re-read your message more carefully.
I'm still not sure what answer I can really give you, but I like your approach -- so let me tell you more about our situation at vbz.net, and maybe you will get some ideas.
Some specifics of what we've been doing (please feel free to skip the numbered part if it's too much detail):
1. We're not making any money yet. As well as doing all the web work, I am the owner of the corporation. I have one person who helps me with graphics work and orders; he's my unofficial business partner and is working for no pay, as am I, in the hopes of making the business successful. Right now, my only source of income is doing some web work for a friend at $10/hour.
2. Although we are not making money, it's not because we have no sales; we currently do about $1500 of sales per month. Unfortunately most of our margin seems to get "eaten up" by bad customer payments (leaving us with excess unsold stock), and the rest goes into our regular costs (mostly internet expenses at this point).
3. I am in the process of getting our books in order (many years overdue) to see what can be done about the money situation, to answer questions like "do we just need to increse sales, or are there some unnecessary costs we can realistically cut?".
3a. Part of this process involves developing my own accounting program (in MS Access and VB6), because I can't afford to buy a really good off-the-shelf accounting package and anyway (more importantly) I tend to find that they don't work the way I want them to. So this is one software project I already have in progress.
4. I also wrote all the software we use for generating the web pages on vbz.net. This was also written in MS Access (with a litte VB6 on the side). Basically, I created a little scripting language which lets me turn data into web pages (or any other form of text). As you can see if you dig into the web site much, it's pretty powerful; using recursion, I can even create hierarchical trees and things like that. So this is another software project in progress.
5. ...and I wrote the few little bits of Perl on the web site for doing the search engine, shopping cart, and checkout pages. And the software which securely retrieves the orders from the server.
6. vbz.net used to carry a small selection of CDs and tapes (and t-shirts, and a book) from independent artists, mostly (but not entirely) local to our area. We recently dropped this part of the store, as we were selling almost nothing, and there was no "buzz" about the service, and getting the artists to keep us updated with their newest releases proved too time-consuming. Selling independent music online was why I got into the e-commerce business in the first place, though, so I have been thinking a lot about how to get back into that part of it. Conversations with some musicians I know have suggested what we should be doing -- but it will involve a large amount of programming and other web work to make it happen.
7. vbz.net has many, many places where a little bit of additional web work (HTML, Perl, VB/Access...) could increase sales. But I just don't have the time right now; see #9...
7a. And we also have a number of software projects, in various stages of completion, with obvious commercial possibilities -- but not enough time to finish them.
8. We recently started leasing a dedicated server for most of our web hosting needs -- so we now have the option of offering web hosting (or setting up new domains for our own projects) at very little additional cost to us.
9. I'm really too busy these days (mostly keeping vbz.net from falling behind and therefore costing me money) to do much programming; most of these projects are going to be left on the shelf for months or years. At best, they will not be likely to get into a form where they could be marketed.
Overall, then, this is my situation: A lot of opportunity, a lot of resources, and a lot of ideas, but not enough time or money to implement them or to hire someone to implement them.
Any partnership I could be involved with, given the money situation, could not be strictly cash; we would have to work out some kind of trade, with cash being an option if our mutual endeavors were successful.
So, one question which now occurs to me: does your team have any skills besides programming and web work? My skills are primarily programming and HTML (not design, just implementation); I am mediocre at public relations in general and terrible at "selling things". An alliance of complementary skills has obvious benefits.
On the other hand, if your skills are pretty much exclusively in the programming/HTML area, it could still make sense for us to pool our resources; if you are looking for more paid HTML work, perhaps we could set up a web site for you (or all of us) to demonstrate your (our) abilities and attract customers. (I tried to view the URL you sent -- but anxee.com does not seem to be responding; perhaps we could start by trading web hosting for work?)
I would certainly like to know more about the skills and interests of your programming team; perhaps _that_ would be a good place to start. Do you have anything like a resume for your team, either individually or as a group? I suppose a lot of my questions would have been answered by the anxee.com web site -- I will keep trying to reach it; obviously it must be active some of the time, or you will not be able to receive this message...
I hope this is all making sense -- and sorry for sending such a long answer, but I couldn't think of a short one! ;-) Please feel free to ask questions if I have been unclear.
Thanks very much,
Red House Media / vbz.net
Oksana Svetlova wrote:
|Sorry, not sure, did my message arrive last time? I was hoping for a reply... Just in case, I am resending the message, please see below. Thank you.
Hello. I meant to contact http://vbz.net webmaster, Am I correct, I hope?
Actually, I am not quite sure... Did I or Katya Svetlova write you before to your other address? Anyway, now we are working together.
So, my name is Oksana Svetlova, I live in St. Petersburg, Russia.
I have an idea, how we could cooperate to mutual benefit, see, possibly you will find it interesting.
After the last year economy slow-down people are seeking to cut costs, right?
The thing is that I could get you in touch with developers from Russia, who will be happy to do a web designer's work for you for considerably less, than you possibly take from your clients (or pay for web-design?), and with _professional_ quality. Also - all programming, Internet-programming, graphic, flash design, content writing, translations, etc. If you do web-design, then you may accept more orders at once, getting a good share from each, and devote yourself only to that work, you find most interesting. Alternatively, you can realize more your ideas to develop, more features to add to your existing sites, and with low costs: from $15, and an average of $23 an hour.
I have put links to their works at http://anxee.com/samples_and_faq.html
As for reliability, I just saw, how carefully they hand-picked their specialists, and under what tight management they do their projects. So, from past experience, it was almost always possible to meet deadlines. Also, communication is properly thought-out: a consultant is online in ICQ and other instant messengers almost each day, also they have local consultants in many states throughout the USA, in Europe and Australia.
So, what do you think? A possibility for cooperation?
Thank you very much,
PS. Just in case you need any type of IT works now, please let me know a bit of details, they will return you a cost/time estimation.