Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Darkest before the dawn?

There have been so many times (too many) when we have been nearly at the end of our hopes and money, no contracts, no-one getting back to us - and then, a miracle happens and a job, or money, or both show up out of nowhere.  The stress leaves a mark though.

The last couple of weeks has been like that.  And then, good things started showing up.  Of course, not without great efforts by both of us.

We are doing a lot of networking these days on LinkedIn - it's a great resource for business.  Everyone on there knows that everyone else on there is there to make business connections and to try to sell something - but not by hard sales methods; a softer approach is the protocol.  And "can I be of help to you, or can we help each other somehow?"

In addition, our poor slave (oops, I mean developer) Andy has been putting in enormous amounts of time and effort on the software, with great results.  We now consider him a co-founder.  No-one works for nothing or next-to-nothing unless one is an owner.  We would be nowhere without him.

We put a free downloadable copy of the software out there and invited people to try it.  It's still considered a beta product so we have to let people try it out and let us know if they run into issues, bugs, or would really like it to do something more, maybe some new features that would be useful to them.  

Out of nowhere we get an email from someone in Spain, someone working in one of the biggest consulting firms in Europe, who says he is using it to do ACTUAL WORK for a big project, and he really likes it but there are a couple of bugs that need fixing - could we do that right away?  

Andy and Mike jumped on it right away of course.  A bug fix has gone out.  Mike also found out exactly what the project was trying to do with it which is valuable information because we can market it to other firms who are going to do the same sort of thing.  No, we can't charge this company for using it, but the testimonial will be incredibly valuable.  And, maybe they'll volunteer to pay us something for it, who knows.  His feedback was that they are trying out different tools on this project and ours is the best - easy to use, works great.  Nectar.

There have been other great connections and interested parties as well.  Too many to describe.  But I can say that an actual sale of the software, including some customizing work to make it do exactly what they want, is in the works.  Its not a big sale but it will feel so great to actually sell something.

Now, none of this brings in cash in the near future so Mike still has to go do some consulting.  If only he could get a contract that allowed him to spend time here in Mazatlan and earn money too, and also allow him to conduct software business on the side.........hmmmm.  Ha! This exact wish was answered today! 

Maybe we should do more "putting your intentions and desires out there in the universe".  I know one - wouldn't it be great if someone with bags of money came forward and said they wanted to invest in our software!  Then Mike wouldn't have to do consulting work to pay the bills!

Come on universe!

More to come.....

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Moves and MOVE

Mexican Moving Van

It has been a couple of weeks of moves for four couples including ourselves - everyone has new digs!  We slowly purchased enough used furniture and household items to be able to move in and be comfortable.  One of our finds was a 3-piece living room set sold to us by another expat.  How to get it from their house to ours?  A truck (called an Orega) taxi with an inventive driver willing to put the loveseat on the roof and secure it down with a bit of rope.  We got some startled looks and laughs from people on the short trip - it was fun!

The apartment itself was still pretty dirty the day we moved in.  It had all been swept but everything needed wiping down and mopping.  The kitchen was the biggest challenge to set up for functionality.  It doesn't have a stove yet and it had precious little counter or work space.  The ceramic sink is shallow and pockmarked, with old taps that are very low - hard to get anything under them.  It does have a large built in pantry with shelves - good for storing dishes as well as food items.  The landlord loaned me a large wood cabinet with a drop-down table top and shelves.  We added a butcher-block work island on wheels and purchased a microwave, borrowed an electric frying pan and was given a coffee maker.  The fridge had a 3-prong plug with only a two-prong outlet nearby so an adapter was brought in by the building maintenance man.  

All in all, its a functional little kitchen now.

A few mexican rugs on the floors and voila its home.

It's a mexican apartment to be sure - and nowhere near being air-tight.  Noise is always an issue in Centro but its all part of the atmosphere and charm of Mazatlan.  We are thinking of it as you would a summer cottage - not all the comforts of home and a little rustic.  Fun!

On the work side Mike is still unemployed and cash is getting tight.  All of his contacts and leads went quiet over the holidays and have just started picking up again.  We have going full-force on talking up and promoting the software in the past few days, following up on a stellar demo done for some very important and influential people before Christmas.  So, some results are beginning to pop up - both on the job front and on the software.  A very large company in the US has requested a demo with great enthusiasm - it seems there is a huge need for what we've got and we are going to go gang-busters as much as possible while Mike has the time.  Will it pay off before the money runs out?  Unknown.  But we can't wait and worry   - that serves no purpose. We'll figure it out as we we always do.