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  • Deborah

42-year old Mom launches website! What-the-what?!?!

Yes, you 22 year olds! Zip up your hoodies and move your recycled-canvas messenger bags over ’cause I’m working in the internet now.


The short answer? Made a lot of mistakes, went to bed after midnight most nights of the week, read too many articles on “Lean Start-Ups,” learned how to make a Prezi from a 5th grader, spent some serious money and gained 10 pounds. But that’s not helpful, is it? NO! If you’re really curious how to start up a website, read on.

[If you just want to see my site, CLICK HERE (and go to Totefish!). Otherwise, stay tuned… ’cause I’m going to be blogging all month about women & websites & children & stuff.]


This list is NOT prioritized by how I did it. It’s the order, in my next life, in which I will do it. It is the most efficient,”Learn-From-My-Mistakes,” tough-love advice I can give:

1. Take a class on HCI (Human Computer Interaction).

Just because you’ve matched a movie, doesn’t mean you know how to write one. Same goes for the internet. Just because you’ve surfed a website (and came up with a few ideas on how it could be better), you are NOT trained to jump in & design a site. There’s a science and a HUGE knowledge base behind good website development. I’m not talking about coding — I’m talking about organization. Trust me. If you’re going to dedicate your time & money to building a site, take 3 months to learn everything there is about HCI. It is the theory behind UI/UX. Wait, what’s the difference between UI/UX? My point exactly! If you’d taken the time to study HCI, you’d know your “I” from your “X”. I took the 12-week studio track of Scott Klemmer’s Human-Computer Interaction Coursera Class (when it was sponsored through Stanford). It’s the tip-of-iceberg but it will change your “start-up” life.

Check out my Resources: Startups menu above for links to various HCI programs.

2. Spend a month watching every webinar on the Stanford HCI Group website

And then, go to YouTube and watch every Stanford HCI Group video uploaded there. It should take about 6 weeks. No joke. Keep watching them until the videos get repetitive. That means you really understand HCI and you’re finally ready to design a great website. Oh, that sounds boring and middle-aged?? Well, guess what? Middle-aged folk don’t spend their Saturday nights drinking cheap beer out of a funnel, either. Experience makes us wiser. We know that spending 4+ months to learn everything about building a SMART website will save you 10 months of wondering why your site kinda sucks. You know the joke about the two bulls on a hill, right?

The Stanford HCI Group website is

3. If you think PHP is a virus, HTML-5 a type of cable and CSS a new cop show on NBC, then you need to find a Technology partner

The interesting thing about an internet business is that it’s combines business AND technology, 50/50. You need both to make it work. Running the business side takes intelligence, organization, problem-solving, creativity, multi-tasking, marketing, financial modeling and presentation skills (just to name a few). Running the technology side takes hard-core computer science knowledge and expertise. You need both to bring an idea to fruition. If you’re the business-type (like me), then you’d better find a strong tech partner, otherwise, hiring a tech team will be difficult (and managing a tech team will be frustrating for everyone involved).

If you’re someone like me (a Mom who didn’t have a Facebook account when she began this endeavor 2 years ago), welcome yourself to 2014. Get the newest phone, download the newest APPs, go to the newest websites and never say “Oh, I’d NEVER use that software” without trying it for a week. If you want to be on the web, you’d better BE ON THE WEB. Imagine writing a romantic comedy without renting Julia Robert’s repertoire of movies? You can’t do something new in technology if you don’t like new technology.

“Respect the Tech” and go upgrade all your devices!

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