I’m here at the FGS Conference in Philadelphia looking out from our booth on the exhibit hall, which is buzzing with conference-goers. We’d originally hoped to announce our beta release at this event, but as with many software projects, our milestone estimates turned out to be optimistic, and we’ve had to move our anticipated launch date back by several months. We now anticipate the public beta being ready by early 2009, with access to the private beta available towards the end of this year.
What’s Taking Us So Long?
For the most part, the delay is a natural consequence of our business strategy, which can be summed up as “Don’t quit your day job!” Genlighten continues to be primarily a “nights and weekends” project for Justin and me and it will likely stay that way until revenue justifies otherwise.
Of course, we could put a lot of effort into getting angel investors to fund our early-stage development, allowing us to work full-time on Genlighten and hopefully get it launched and producing revenue a lot faster. That’s a strategy we’re considering, but our team is well aware of the immense challenges and pitfalls involved, so for the time being we’re not ready to head down that road.
In the meantime, just in time for FGS, we do have a few updates to the Alpha site to announce.
Updated Flyers, Document Delivery Strategy, and Provider Criteria
First, the PDF flyers available on the site have been revised to reflect our new anticipated private and public beta availability dates. The new flyers also reflect our intention to deliver most (if not all) documents as digital images via download from the site itself, rather than having our providers mail paper copies. Accordingly, we’re looking for potential providers who have ready access to a digital scanner and are confident creating good-quality images from scanned documents. These adjustments to our strategy reflect input we’ve received from several generous advisers in the genealogy research community. Look for more details on this approach in a future blog post.
New Mailing Address
Second, we’ve changed our mailing address. The new one is:
P.O. Box 893
Wilmette, Illinois 60091
This move doesn’t reflect anything particularly strategic. Our previous commercial mailbox provider just happened to go out of business (about a month after we had business cards printed, unfortunately.)
Privacy and Security Policy
One of the main unfinished tasks from the initial alpha version of the site was developing a privacy and security policy. I’ve noticed from our traffic logs that many people visit the blank placeholder page we’ve had up to this point. I’m happy to be able to say that we now have posted our Privacy and Security Policy here. Please take a look and let us know what you think.
Thanks for your patience…
I’m keenly aware that some of you have been following our progress for the better part of a year now. I just want to let you know that we appreciate your patience and we’re working hard week-by-week to deliver what we’ve promised you. Thanks for your ongoing encouragement and support — it means a great deal to our entire team.