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Cabanova Blog

Welcome to Cabanova Blog!

August 10, 2010

A brief history of Cabanova – Chapter 2

Soon after we were online with the Cabanova beta version, we realised the next step was. What use was the software if nobody knew about it. So we spent the next weeks submitting Cabanova at the various search engines, directories and whatever other sites we could find. One of the addresses we contacted was the NBC TV station just a kilometer away from our office in Düsseldorf. The studio in Düsseldorf was dedicated to a show called “Giga” which was a live show where they talked about computers, games, Internet gadgets and more. We promptly received an invitation from them to appear in a live broadcast to present our sitebuilder software.

A week or so later we went to the studio for the broadcast. We only had one web server running at the time, so we brought a PC with us with the sitebuilder installed, in case the live server would become overloaded during the show. Karl did the live interview, and indeed our live server was crippled within minutes. We still have a copy of the show (it’s in German) and you can see it below.
This was great publicity for us, and in the next months we reached a total of 30000 members.

In September 2001 we started development of a first Cabanova release version. It would include lots of new features, improved usability and more and better template designs. Because karl and I were no programmers, we hired a local outsourcing company in Düsseldorf to do the programming according to our specifications. After many long discussions, late nights and five times as many coffees, we agreed upon the best solution and the plan would be to go online on the 1st Jan 2002.

The outsourcing company had a very good Flash actionscript programmer, and he spent his days (and nights) in our office doing the programming. He seemed real competent at the beginnning, but as the project slowly progressed, we began to notice some slight behavioural changes in this guy, and also some milestones were not being met. In the end, he had created such a complex web of programmming, that he himself got caught up in it. He kept on assuring us that he could do it, but the launch date would have to be moved. There was not much we could do but go along with this, as it would take even longer to find a new guy to figure out how it all worked.

New year came without a big bang – the bang came a few weeks later when out of the blue our programmer stood up, looked us and said “Sorry, but I can’t finish this project”. He then simply packed up his things and left. We never saw him again. We were obviously not amused and immediately demanded a replacement programmer and a guaranteed online date. The outsourcing company could not commit either of these demands. So we were left in the cold, and the thought of a lawsuit against them only distracted us even further.

During the next weeks we hired four different freelance Flash programmers, but getting the sitebuilder completed was too complex for them. It seemed as if no-one was able to finish the job. We even hired special software “cleaners” who are specialised in cleaning up mess created by other programmers. But the cleaners were not able to clean.

Our last hope was a contact that came from a friend of ours who was a professional head-hunter. He recommended an outsourcing company based in Romania. We had nothing to lose so they sent us a programmer for a month. And believe it or not, this programmer, Catalin, found the problems, fixed them and finished the job. What was even more amazing was that he had never used Flash or Actionscript before!

So, at the end of February 2002, we finally launched the Cabanova Full version – the first release version of our sitebuilder. Here’s a screenshot:
To be continued …