In March of 2006 I had the idea for this revolutionary job search organizer, which would soon be called JibberJobber.com. I had already thought of two other online businesses and was putting together business plans and operational plans to move forward on them. I was looking for programming resources to help move these projects forward. Even though I have a background in web development, I knew my time was better spent doing other stuff.
I looked for offshore outsourcing shops (that’s the budget I had) and was really disappointed with what I found. The communication I got from those shops were overly sophisticated, not what i wanted nor what I was used to. I figured they were accustomed to working with huge companies, like GE and Ford and Microsoft… I needed something different.
One morning, a programmer who used to work at my old company (the one I got laid off from) popped online. He left our old company about a year before I did, and we hadn’t communicated for a LONG time. He had a stellar record at our old company and I had come to know him as a very talented developer. I asked him what he was up to, and he responded, “I’m going to (a city a few hours away) for an interview.”
I responded, “why don’t you just work for me? You can work out of your home, work your own hours, etc.”
During the conversation I told him that this would be a six month project. Little did we realize what we were about to start – he’s been with me for over three years!
From March 2006 – May 2006 he worked on taking my 20 design screenshots and implementing them. I knew getting the site up in two months was pushing it, but we did it.
Early on I did some html programming, but one day he said “Jason, you are indenting two spaces, and you need to indent only one space.” It was then that I realized (a) he was more obsessive about code than I was (and I was more obsessive than others), and (b) he was absolutely the person I wanted on this project – he cared about stuff that no one would see, but that would have an impact on other parts of the company, and (c) by helping with the programming I was probably slowing things down – that is the last time I helped in that area (which was a really good thing).
Around May, 2006 I got a message from the quality assurance (QA) expert from our old company – she said that since I left, the company went in a different direction and she was very unhappy and that she was leaving. She wasn’t asking for a job, just letting me know (as friends) that she was moving on. I didn’t know how to pay her but I really, really wanted her to come work for us … I really hated doing QA, and once again, I knew I needed to spend my time on other things. I figured out how to increase the funding I got and brought her on to do QA – she’s been a lifesaver many times.
So what have these two done since May 15, 2006? JibberJobber was not done in May 15, 2006, it was just good enough to go live… since then we’ve grown a wish list that is pages long, and it seems as soon as we get one thing off the list we add three more. Most of our wish list items come from our own use and from our users… we love user input!
As an employer, I’m proud to say that my original team is still with me, three years later. And I hope they are with me for many years to come – we have a chemistry that just works, and I’ve felt extremely blessed that I’ve come across them.
(as a side note, over the years I’ve engaged other professionals, including graphics designers, another key web programmer who has done quite a bit on JibberJobber but he isn’t full-time with us, a user interface designer, a server admin, etc. For those who want to do their own website with this level of functionality, it takes more than one superman 🙂