I launched http://marrily.com early December 2011, and within a few days I had the first sign up. I didn't advertise at all but had a soft-launch on HackerNews. Since then Marrily got mentioned on a few magazines (Brides, and NYMag) and totally via organic sources (they found me and reached out). I did a bunch of give-aways and sponsored-posts too. Building partnership is important since it creates endorsements and synergies. Depends on the industry, but for wedding in particular, traditional prints still give very good results. Even 6 months after the printed article on NYMag, I still have vendors contacting me for partnerships and new customers signing up via that source.
My current pending failure is that I haven't made much progress since the launch but ended up getting a full time job for a while to rebuild my savings. I spent all my money working/not-working on Marrily and I was pretty broke when I started working again. I'm not giving up, but more or less spend some time to grow personally and professionally so when I resume, it will be another exciting stage of the journey.
BTW, Rob Walling's interview in babuskov's comment is really good, full of food for thoughts.
I feel your case and I can't imagine how hard it is. Though being a developer gives you more opportunities and freedom than you think you have. All you have to do is to be amazing at what you do. You made the mistake once, you paid you dues, so life goes on. I agree with the parent post -- you should build a great online presence to bury the past, to prove that you are a new person.
I once worked with a friend I made online. He's a great designer. I refered him to another good friend for some work, and this other friend found out the designer had been on the news for a felony a few years back ( long story short, he pretty much used his design/photoshop skills and got into trouble with the laws). His case got cleared afterward, but searching for his name on Google still returns the articles from the past.
My other friend didn't work with the guy because of this, but in the end, my designer friend is still happy because he got his life in order. He's a great guy and he didn't let his past impact him too much. He even helped me when I needed some money to survive, he was there to send me some work for the badly needed few hundred bucks.
Good luck. Life is too short to worry too much about the past. Learn new skills, make new friends, become an awesome developer to create more values for society. Look at rappers like JayZ or 50Cents for inspirations. They were put in jails, shots multiple times, and yet they are hugely successful entrepreneurs now.
If you're good, people can't ignore you for long. Email me your resume, I always look for good developers to connect.
You're one childish person. You should behave like a grown up, and learn to speak up correctly. Here in the US there's something called "Freedom of Speech" and if someone at a public event cannot make a private joke that somehow overheard by some crazy, cookoo person, then you got it all wrong.
And you are deserved to be forked for being a nasty person. And no, your repos on Github (if you have any) are not even worth to be starred.
I want to believe that I'm misinterpreting your comment about "deserved to be forked", but in the context of this discussion it sounds like a truly crude, offensive and sexist thing to say. I am disgusted. There is no place for a comment with the implications here - in any context, at any time.
If I've misinterpreted, I apologize - but next time be more careful with how you choose your words.
I am constantly surprised at the bipolar nature of HN. It ranges from intelligent and considered posts about technology to unpleasant playground posts relating to politics and especially to sexual politics.
I am usually able to sigh, roll my eye and close the browser tab but your comment 'deserved to be forked' demanded a response.
Your post wasn't intelligent, wasn't constructive and offended me.
Far be from me to defend Adria Richards but "freedom of speech" means something different than what you think. The government cannot infringe on your right to express your opinion, etc. Also, the violent insinuation as no place on HN or anywhere.
The most stupid b * tch ever. Seriously. Freedom of speech much? If you're not comfortable, speak up, and move your *ss to different seat. I'm not sexist, but I don't want to tolerate crap like this. "Oh you have a potty mouth, let me snap a photo of your mugshot and post on Twitter". Childish.
I think your pricing is really low. Even for the Pro plan, you're offering quite a bit of benefits so you can definitely charge more. $25/year is too low. It should be a monthly-recurring charge, something like $9.99/month for the Pro plan would do.
Funnily enough I think this applies to business as well. I was at the YC User Acquisition conference the other day and what was striking was just how many processes the most successful companies have locked down. It frees you up to be creative.
It's part of an increasing awareness and importance of habits in a business context. The surge in popularity for game mechanics was largely directed at creating habits for consumers, creating an entertaining and engaging use case where they didn't have to think too much. Thinking is hard.
A business, at its core, is made up of a people. Well defined processes are the equivalent of habits for a business - common practices where the expected behavior is straightforward enough that the company doesn't have to think very much. This, as you say, frees you up to be an active thinker on many other topics.
This is the weakest "anti-rumor" corporate response ever. After all that lengthy passive-aggressive "We're great, but you need to charge your battery", there's not a single statement about what would happen if the battery runs out, which is precisely what the original article is about.
Tesla, stop beating around the bush like a politician, grow up and answer the million-dollar question like a man:
What will happen once the car's battery is completely depleted?