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Bootstrapping Stormpulse (wensing.tumblr.com)
75 points by wensing on Sept 30, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments



If anyone was to ask me what do I come to hacker news to read, I would use this article as an example.

I cant think of anything more valuable to wannabe entrepreneurs than seeing the inner thoughts of people in the middle of it all.


Totally with you. I think this single post right here has extended my horizon for bootstrap-euthanasia by two years.


I have to give Wensing credit for not giving up with all circumstances it build up over time. That is one of the most important elements as a start-up founder to succeed; never ever give up. He keeps adjusting and pivoting a little slow for my taste, but by learning and improving with each step he will lead the company to success. His blog, which is not a typical covered media story does reflect the more common truth of what it means to take a spark of an idea to a successful company. It is a long long hard road.


Interesting article, I am just stunned to see the design/UX of the landing page (http://www.stormpulse.com/ ) and the product page (https://secure.www.stormpulse.com/products) !

I am really impressed by your courage and your determination but you worked 3years on your product and never tought that a slight redesign/optimization by a professional can be beneficial to your business ?

Your website is dark and not very beautiful, it feels creepy. To access to StormPulse Pro from the landing page, I have to click on "More" and select "Stormpulse pro" on the menu. No direct access, no button.

Great story, nice ending hopefully but seriously! I know that on HN marketing/business/design guys have bad reputation but sometimes YOU HAVE TO ask some help...

Thank you for sharing this story. This is of course only my POV, I'm ready to be downvote if needed :)


you worked 3years on your product and never tought that a slight redesign/optimization by a professional can be beneficial to your business?

I think we were still fumbling in the dark until now with regards to segmentation/pricing. In one sense I'm glad we didn't share our Pro offering with the entire market in the last 18 months. We've learned a lot. However, coincidentally we're about to partner with a real optimization firm, so you're spot-on in that sense.

Your website is dark and not very beautiful, it feels creepy.

Like when it's stormy outside?


Like when it's stormy outside?

Yes, but really, so what? That is a clever tie-in to the field you're in, but do you know for certain that it results in increased profit? Have you tested it?


so what?

I think the feeling you get from a design means a lot for the average consumer.

do you know for certain that it results in increased profit? Have you tested it?

No, we haven't A/B tested it. However, we know scientifically and from customer feedback that the dark background with light text works well in low-light environments, which is what most operation centers are like. If you don't know what an operation center is, here are some good example pics from Google Image search: http://www.google.com/images?q=operations+center&oe=utf-...


That's a very encouraging article... far more realistic to most of us than the get-big-quick, vc-investment, big-buyout, $$$-in-the-bath stories that sometimes appear on HN. That long-term struggle is a familiar story that's not often told.

It's also encouraging because it's in a similar domain to my own side-business.


Thist story is incredible and much better than all the sunny day stuff that often gets promoted around here. We all know it's not all rainbows and ponies, but this is a good reality check. As the father of a 4 month old, I have no idea how you are able to have done everything you have. Makes me feel like a lazy slug. I feel like I don't even have time to breathe.


Interesting. I love hearing success and failure stories from other entrepreneurs as it puts into light a lot of the similar feelings and thoughts that I have on a daily basis. Really great read and something I have been considering writing (with regard to my own startup).

Contrary to a lot of the comments thus far, I felt less excited and more stressed throughout the journey. I dont think this is a bad thing because it is one of the best parts about being a startup founder (IMHO). The roller coaster ride that is bootstrapping is so addictive that I have heard myself on a number of occasions say that I could do this forever (hopefully with some luck).

My question to the community (or the author), is why not negotiate better terms with one of the offers for 51%? Surely, if an entity was interested enough to want 51% there might be terms where something more favorable to the founders could exist, no?

I know faced with the opportunity myself, I have no idea what I would do, but it seemed as though one of those deals or relationships could have spring-boarded the business.


why not negotiate better terms with one of the offers for 51%? Surely, if an entity was interested enough to want 51% there might be terms where something more favorable to the founders could exist, no?

We attempted to negotiate with all three, but all three were completely unwilling to budge on the need to control. The weather corporation was likely not thinking as an investor, but more as a talent acquisition/bolt-on to their operation. The other two were veteran CEO's who both said (as if they were reading out of the same playbook) "I don't do anything I can't control."


So kitesurfers, sailors, windsurfers will pay for accurate wind data. I kitesurf and have paid for wind data in the past from ikitesurf.com .

One thing that would be useful w.r.t storms is a storm warning if a storm is going to hit my area. Or an email containing wind info when a storm is about to hit.

Today is actually a good example. Huge winds and no percipitation - I should be out on the water but have a damn release tonite. Arrghhh!!

Surfers also would love a wave info due to incoming storms.

What about an API which collects all other data from weather resources and collates it nad makes it easy to use? I'd actually be interested in that for another project I have going.


This is an incredible story. Can't believe you hang in there for so long. Glad you log and share all these details. Will be a great moral support for all the wannabe entrepreneur out there. Good luck to your twins. (My second one is due this month :)

I'm also working on a data driven application. So far I see 0 revenue potential in the current form but it is incredibly interesting problem to me. I guess I will run it by you when it is showable. I thought it is likely a 2 months project but this is its 6-th month already :( Making very nice progress and a lot of learning though.


Feel free to get in touch. My email address is in profile.


Wow. This really jump-started and gave me the shock treatment I needed to get back on track. Wonderful stuff, a great read, and many lessons to be learned for the observer.


You would be surprised. My current company is looking for exactly what you have built. Willing to put dollars behind it. IR&D Dollars....


Would like to know more. Email sent.


"I guess the norm is: team (which often means funding) first, product second." Really? I know VCs who never question who the team is.


I did say 'norm', by which I mean that is the normal case in my experience. There are always exceptions, which may in fact be the norm in other people's experience. :)

So with that said can you list those VC's here? Would benefit anyone that comes across this post later.


I'm assuming the 51% thing is just a control thing yeah?


Yes, of course.




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