My name is Casey - in 2007 my wife Jessica and I started working on a side project called Ravelry.com.
Ravelry is a community site, organizational tool, and research tool (pattern and yarn database & discovery) for knitters and crocheters. In January 2007 we were pouring all of our nights and weekends into the project, in May 2007 I quit my full time job to work on Ravelry, and we’ve grown steadily ever since.
6 years later we have 3 other employees, 3.3 million registered users, and about 600K monthly active users. We also have a marketplace component and about 10,000 sellers are using that to sell digital patterns for knitting and crochet.
Rav is a Ruby on Rails site. My co-worker Christina and I handle the application, the front end, ops, and everything else. We’re super frugal so we buy/build our own servers, colo them at a datacenter here in Boston, buy bandwidth and run caches to save money on S3, basically do everything we can to avoid unnecessarily spending money on operations.
At the start, we worked on the site full time for 5 months with no income at all and used credit cards and our savings to finance everything and pay for our living expenses. We were very lucky because early on we got a much needed financial boost from our community that helped us recover from that: http://blog.ravelry.com/2008/04/26/so-thankful/
Today we are a profitable 5 person company. We’re mostly supported by ads that are placed by our community members. I have a blog post with more details on the money part: How Does Ravelry Make Money?
This is exciting!
99% of the time I am living in my yarn world so I don’t have a lot of contact with other business people or other tech people.