Chief Technology Officer & Photographer | Irvine, CA

DateDesigner.com – Building a Better Date

Everyone goes on a date. Whether you are single or married, you’re bound to take your significant other out every once in a while. Do you find it hard to come up with ideas outside of the typical “dinner and a movie”? This is where DateDesigner.com becomes a vital part of the equation. DateDesigner.com was built to help creative people share their date ideas with the people that are searching for date ideas.

**UPDATE** – Spoke with Brent (the original web designer) the other day, and we’re all on board for a site re-launch in the next 6 weeks.  I’m shooting for September 1, 2010, but we’ll see how fast I can throw everything together for Brent, and then for the site.

The Plan

DateDesigner.com was an idea that I had for about 3 years before I finally decided to actively do something with it. I approached Gangplank (@gangplank) one day with a brief email explaining my idea after I received an email from them saying that they were starting up an incubator program – similar to yCombinator and TechStars. They loved the idea, gave me my funding, and said “build it in 30 days, and we’ll move on to the next step”. Wow…30 days…it was going to be rough!

The Challenges

Building a site in 30 days takes a large amount of planning, and a large amount of asking “do we really need that for phase 1?”. After some intense planning sessions, the core idea had its wings, and I was ready to fly. This was also my first project built using an Agile process, so that was a learning process as well.

Technologies Utilized

Summary

In the end, I produced the site in 30 days. A lot of ups and downs were made within those 30 days, but I made it to a place only 10% of people ever do with a great idea for a web site. The next 60 days after that were filled with refining the business model, marketing, and sales. The site has been up for a little over a year now and has made some decent traction, and there is more to come.

Next Steps

I originally built the site using the PHP framework called Codeigniter. This was my first project working with Codeigniter, and although I was able to produce the site quickly, after being away from the code base for a while, learning more about Codeigniter, and coming back to it, I do need to refactor quite a bit of code. I also have some new ideas for the site…I just need to start the process all over again, and push some updates!

  • Refactor existing codebase – work smarter, not harder
  • Redesign the user interface for a better user experience – especially within the builder section
  • Add user profiles for users to promote the date ideas they’ve created and comments they’ve shared
  • Add Facebook/Twitter integration to ignite some viral marketing
  • Entice the users to come back for more – don’t let them forget about the site – implement non-noisy email notifications
  • More to come…

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