An E-Commerce Journal Part 3

By Joe Burns

Welcome to part three of my wife's and my year-long process of starting an e-business. Parts one and two covered everything that happened up to the start of the business on September 1, 2000. The purpose of this third part is to get into what happened after went live. It was a fun ride, if nothing else.

The launch date for the site was August 31 or September 1, depending on how you look at midnight. We chose to go live over the Labor Day weekend, so that if the walls fell in, it wouldn't be seen by a large amount of people. We would have some breathing room. Besides, we really didn't expect to sell anything that weekend. We were a new site. Who would know about us?

The evening was a little unnerving because Marcus, the brilliant programmer who built the entire site, wasn't going to be in his office on opening day. He had packed up the car and headed off to a celebration called Burning Man. It's held in the middle of a desert outside of Las Vegas. There would be no getting to him if something went totally goofy.

We felt that was OK, because we had beta tested the site to death. What could go wrong? We went to bed expecting to see the site up and running the next morning.

Here's a hint for all of you who will go live with an e-business this year. Make a point of reminding the people who are maintaining the server the night before they are supposed to take the site live. Tammy and I had been living and breathing the site, so it never occurred to us that there were people in the world who didn't know the site was suppose to go live at midnight.

Well, our server people didn't know. I woke up to the "Coming Soon" screen. The server people are in California, so they wouldn't even be getting out of bed for another two hours or better--I rise early, and programmers get up late. Three phone calls, two e-mails, and six hours later the site went live, only eleven hours past the stroke of midnight.

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