Sean Murphy from Recursive I/O
Hi, my name is Sean, and I’m a bootstrapper.
I taught myself how to program while in high school and landed my first paying gig the summer before my senior year. I worked remotely, sub-contracting work from a developer three timezones away. I have worked as a developer ever since, most of the time as a remote contractor.
In 2008, at the height of the URL shortening craze, I realized there was a need for a universal API that could resolve shortened URLs and provide a better browsing experience for users. I built LongURL.org and–to my delighted surprise–it got a lot of press coverage and was soon handling millions of requests per day. That’s when I learned two very important lessions: 1) it is in fact possible to build something thousands of people will use (even by yourself) and 2) don’t build something thousands of people will use without having a revenue model.
In 2011 I launched Functional Jobs and soon learned that building a business is orders of magnitude harder than building a product. Also, building a business that has a two-sided market (like a job board) is orders of magnitude harder than, well, pretty much any other business. It has been a very long and trying journey since then (and there’s still a long way to go), but Functional Jobs is profitable and luckily requires very little work to maintain.
2012 was a year of distractions: I mistakenly tried to build several different products/sites in the name of diversification. What a waste of time.
Currently, I’m working full-time at a startup and building my products in my spare time (ha!). The time constraints have really helped me to focus my efforts and use my time wisely. In the next few months I will be launching my second product, HVAC Practice Tests, which has been in development for far, far, far too long.
I look forward to sharing what knowledge I’ve picked-up along the way with others here on the forums, and learning even more from you–my fellow bootstrappers.