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The End

October 29, 2010

A year and a half ago, I came up with what I thought was a great idea. I wanted to create a vast database of people willing to give their opinions on any type of writing. The idea for TypeTribe was small in principle, but I was thinking big: I wanted to redefine how the publishing industry creates loyalty among readers by soliciting feedback (and thus increasing profits).

For a while, I had momentum. I raised over $4K in seed capital, I was seeing tons of advance signups, I signed a software developer, I had a designer…everything was in line with my goals.

The developer was key to the success of TypeTribe. He was a guy I knew from college, a very intelligent software engineer. And he was cheap—he was only charging me a few thousand dollars for the entire project, while other developers had estimated the project somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000.

I soon realized that the developer had major shortcomings. He rarely communicated, he was very slow, and he wasn’t able to incorporate the design with the underlying platform. I gave him deadlines, but it was hard to hold him to them since he was essentially doing the project for free. Finally, back in April I removed him from the project. After much discernment, I’ve decided to discontinue my efforts on TypeTribe. A number of reasons contributed to this decision:

  1. Twitter: I’ve been on Twitter since I first got the idea for TypeTribe. It was an excellent tool to spread the word about my idea, but Twitter has become something else for writers in the last year: It’s become a place to build relationships with fellow writers and exchange your work with theirs. It’s a wonderful system, but it completely undermines TypeTribe’s profit plan. And it’s free.
  2. Author Blogs: One of my greatest hopes for TypeTribe was that already published authors could use it to increase their audiences. However, more and more authors of various degrees of popularity now have blogs, and a number of them that I follow use their blogs—at times—for the exact same purpose that TypeTribe would.
  3. 10pens: Back in February, a like-minded fellow launched a site called 10pens that is almost the exact same thing as TypeTribe. It’s a slick, well executed site—it is what I wish TypeTribe could be. Although this site isn’t exactly the nail in the TypeTribe coffin (there are plenty of near-identical sites on the web), it certainly makes me hesitant to spend the rest of my funds on my site.

But perhaps the biggest reason of all is my involvement in a new, St. Louis-based publishing company. I won’t go into the full story here, but basically me and two other people founded a publishing company back in February, and we recently selected our first two authors. I will be spending a significant amount of time marketing and supporting these authors, and I’m realizing that I need to make a choice between these two endeavors. Given that I actually have partners (one of whom is funding the publishing company) in Blank Slate Press, I feel that the right decision is to proceed in that direction.

Thanks for your support, and I hope to see you over at or in the future.


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