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Movin’ on up!

When I setup a new CMS, whether it’s WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, I’ve always installed it manually on a web host. This time, I decided to give wordpress.com a try.

After toiling with it for a several days, I finally gave up and moved the site over. Why?

  1. Ads. The free version of their service included ads, so I went ahead and signed up for the trial of the ‘Premium’ service.
  2. Little customization available. I’m used to being able to the make changes at the file level, but this isn’t available on their service. Instead, the most you can do add custom CSS, which isn’t nearly good enough for our purposes.
  3. Maintenance. When there are broken elements in a theme/widget (particularly ‘free’ ones), fixing them often requires access to the back-end, so unless the issue is CSS-related, you’re out of luck!
  4. Cost. The ‘Premium’ (read: ad-free) service is about $99/year, whereas I got a year’s worth of hosting plus a free domain for about $42 by moving over to GoDaddy.

So, now I’ll be going through the arduous task of customizing the theme to get it just the way I want it.

Our Story

How it all started…

How this all came about isn’t too different from any myriad of Startup stories. It all started with a water-cooler conversation between Waleed and I which lead to the inevitable question, “Yousef, why don’t you start your own business?”

This is a question I’d heard more times than I cared to recall. Most people have a hard time understanding the scope of what that entails!

  • Startup costs
  • Legal fees
  • A workable business model
  • Strategies and plans
  • Saleable products and/or services
  • …and let’s not forget, customers!

* That last bullet is what’s most important! *

Who are your customers? How will you find them?  Do they really want what you’re selling? Are they willing to pay what you’re asking?

For me, this was the hardest lesson I’ve learned in the last 20 years. From time to time, I’ve done IT consulting for individuals, small and mid-sized businesses. I bought my first car building a website for a neighbor’s landscaping business. I operated by word-of-mouth, but never managed to get enough customers to make it a full-time operation.

Nevertheless, I learned a lot from my experiences and mistakes. I even had an opportunity to work for several startups and learn from theirs too! I could have explained all of this to Waleed, but decided instead to respond by saying, “Sure! Let’s go into business together. How much would you like to invest?”

My question wasn’t intended as serious, but what Waleed said next was! He smiled confidently, then said, “I am working on a bracelet that will detect when someone is having a seizure.”

This caught me off guard, but without breaking stride, I managed to sputter, “Sounds interesting… how can I help?”

Come to find out, this is a project Waleed had been working on in his spare time since May of 2014. The inspiration for this project came from his brother, who suffers from seizures. Although Waleed wasn’t the first to tackle this, the solution he was developing is based on his own original circuit designs, software and algorithms. Waleed excitedly described (in loving detail) every aspect of how his device worked, and showed me a copy of his IEEE membership certificate.

At this point, I was nominally convinced of his bonafides, but asked again, “So, how can I help?”

After further inquiry, we established that Waleed didn’t have a lot of business experience. He’d dabbled in sales, but had never set up a website, designed a logo, worked with eCommerce or written a business plan. It became clear that if he was going to bring this product to market, he was going to need help. These were all areas I had experience with, so we agreed that this would be my de facto role.

Several more conversations and a little brainstorming lead to the name, which I touched on in the ‘about us‘ page. I toiled away at a logo and our brand was born!

So what’s next?

By the end of June, 2015, we expect to have a working prototype. We’ll be partnering with an industrial designer and manufacturer to produce the first wearable model, and in the meantime, will be looking for customers who’d be interested in this project.

Nominally, we’re looking to leave the software side of it open to encourage 3rd party developers to write apps which utilize the device.

Starting to take shape!

The website is starting to take shape! I chose to use WordPress as my CMS (Content Management System) as it’s portable, well-supported and fairly easy to use and maintain. We’re currently hosting on wordpress.com, but may elect to move to either upgrade to premium services or a 3rd-party host provider that supports PHP/MySQL.

In the meantime, I’ve been customizing the look and feel of the site to extent I’m able, and have recently created a logo for us. I’m going to need to create some banners for various Social Media outlets such as YouTube, Google+, Facebook and Twitter. I might also create a LinkedIn record for us at some point.

In the meantime, Waleed is getting some content for me (pictures of the lab, the prototype, etc.) and we’ll be putting together a build diary for his gadget. Stay tuned!