As I have mentioned a couple of times recently Stefan and I have embarked on a pretty ambitious side project based on a number of ideas I have had over the last couple of years about using the web to support events and conferences.
As you would expect the roles have split pretty cleanly down the Maker/Manager line. Stef actually is doing the building (and when the time comes also the design) and I am responsible for coming up with and then testing features, writing copy, working out the business elements like pricing etc, doing some IA work (though it remains to be seen how much notice Stef will take!) and eventually things like sales and customer service.
Stef is seriously pushing ahead and every morning I awake to emails from Pivotal Tracker announcing new features being delivered and needing testing. Stef is building the platform using Ruby on Rails and it does seem to lend itself to truly rapid development. The fact that for some of the key features Stef had essentially prototyped as WordPress plug-ins for an earlier project doesn’t hurt and also he has been able to slightly cannibalise another, prior personal project that didn’t launch. We haven’t given ourselves and deadlines but I think we’ll be calling on the ‘alpha’ testers I have lined up earlier than I expected.
So what is Eventstreams? Well the idea is that it is a platform that will allow event or conference organisers to easily build themselves attractive, usable, function rich websites without needing additional technical support. I’m calling these sites ‘virtual venues’. We will offer functionality that allows the creation of agendas or schedules without the need for clumsy tables (similar to Sched.org I have realised since we started but unique enough to be relevant I think), integrated Twitter streams, support for tools like Eventbrite & Amiando for registration and offering a choice between free or premium themes (the premium themes – hopefully – being designed by some of the various talented local designers we know). I see this as being one of those times when the superficial is key to the success of the product so these ‘themes’ are vital – as is the look and feel of the entire platform. Just as well Stef has some pretty serious design chops then 🙂
There are a few extra functions I have in mind for further down the line that I’ll keep up my sleeve for now and I’m sure once we start letting people lose on the system we will have to rethink a few things but that is part of the fun.
I’ll be honest it has been alot of fun so far and it is good to have a project that is genuinely interesting to get my teeth into at the moment as the 9-5 is more than a little, well, dull at the moment. It does make me wonder whether I was to quick to leave Jiva last year though as I do miss working closely with developers in an agile way. Then again you never know maybe something will come up that offers that level of interaction again.