Balancing Act

Seems like start-ups are just a set of balancing acts. Trying to balance costs, prices, promotions, marketing, development, and million other different spinning plates.

My most recent balancing act seems to be testing versus releasing. When working at Adobe, we had the luxury of a team of people who could do lots of things, and were very good at what they did. And one of the best things we had was user testing, which I’ve studied a bit myself, that enabled us to create the best possible product we could. But, working as just me, I have to split my time between a bunch of different things, and as much as I’d love to test the heck out of all of my products, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to. I don’t have enough time to do it quickly, or enough money to spend a lot of time on it. I think this may be one lesson I may need to unlearn a little bit for now, and go with the quicker approach. I’ve got testing, and development, and marketing, and support, and a hundred other tasks calling for me, and I can’t let good products sit on the shelf because I have run a full user test on it.

Maybe if I had another set of hands, but I’m a one man show for now. Basically, this is all an excuse for why I can’t spend the time on the UX. But I feel I’ve got to do some. Still got to learn to balance this plate, cause I may be dropping others.

Taxes Suck

Specifically, sales tax is a nightmare.

I’m trying to sell to people all over the world, and I have no idea where to even start on figuring out what to charge them. Sales tax is the U.S. alone is an atrocious mess, but when you include global sales, it is ridiculous. And software to help calculate it is extremely expensive and confusing in its own right. I would think taxes, something that governments all of the world want you to pay, should be simpler. All I want to know is how to charge my customers properly, and who I have to pay what taxes to. That doesn’t seem to difficult in my mind, but clearly that’s just me.

Well, at least I found an alternative. For those who are hitting this problem on their own start-ups, try finding a site which will act as the vendor on record, and handle sales tax for you. Trust me, it is worth whatever they charge you to avoid that mess. Personally, I’m using FastSpring. They don’t have a great API or functionality, but at least I don’t have to worry about it anymore. If anyone else has suggestions, I’m all ears.

Cleaning Up

Well, this blog is old and has a lot of cruft. Really, my whole site is way past its expiration date. It’s been needing a redesign for years now, but I just haven’t had the time. Well, now I’m making the time. New homepage, and a new blog. Let’s try this again, shall we.

Hi, I’m Andrew. I’m a developer, a creative type (sometimes), a gamer, and an all around nerd. I’ve got my own start-up going at the moment over at Widgets.Mu and I’ll probably be talking about that a bit on here. The rest of it will likely be coding, random projects, and any other thoughts I feel like sharing. I’m pretty random, so my blog is probably going to follow suit.


So I recently answered a question on the Game Development Stack Exchange site related to an MMORTS (Massively Multiplayer Online Real-Time Strategy) and why that had never come to fruition. And, a few years ago now, some friends and I tried to tackle this very problem and find out how we could do just that. This was before WOW became what it is today, and was more around the time of Everquest. None of us played Everquest, but we were familiar with the mechanics and loved to play Starcraft and Warcraft 3, so we set out at designing what it would look like to have an RTS in a persistent world.

The following are some of the issues we foresaw as being problems in translating the genre to an MMO and also listed are our ideas for solving these problems. By no means is this perfect, and it skips over a lot of the aspects we’d planned for story-wise as well. This is not a copy of the design document; I wouldn’t subject anyone to that. We were 14 at the time, and while we were okay at writing (for our age), and were inspired, looking back I can now say with absolute certainty our game never would have made it anywhere. Continue reading

Post Mortem:JavaScript Custom Object Types

Another revived post from my old blog.

So, this one I’m going to make a fair bit smaller then the last couple. In my last post, I used some notation for creating a custom object that may have confused some who are unfamiliar with the language, or are just getting started with it. So, briefly I just wanted to go over it again, and dedicate a post entirely to the topic. Continue reading

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