Reflections on start-up life: Week 19

Two weeks now until we head off to San Francisco so the pressure is rapidly increasing with every day we spend working on getting the prototype “out the door”.

The challenge is that we perhaps underestimated just how complex the actual web interface would be. It’s not just rendering back-end content, but delivers a fully cached local data store with many elements to make it a dynamic client experience. It’s not a web site, it’s a web application. That said, it’s now partially complete and working, with some more elements to go.

On the very positive front, we are really pleased to welcome Doris Spielthenner as our first formal advisor. Doris was a managing partner at FAS.research in the US and has her own data analytics company here in Melbourne, She’s described as “one of the world’s leading experts and practitioners in applying social network analysis to real-world problems” by former colleagues and with her extensive list of publications and research papers along with her experience in the field of data and social analytics she’s a great person for us to have on board and to keep us on the straight and narrow!

Not everything was highly beneficial — I attended a talk on the Commercialisation Australia Grant which was very dull. I did enjoy catching up with Mark Mansour for a coffee afterwards though.

Thursday was very entertaining. First a good mornings work, then off to lunch with Fenn from Adioso and chatting about AMQP / RabbitMQ / Celery implementations followed by a “super secret” developers workshop in the afternoon (can’t yet tell you what for, it’s under NDA but no doubt it will come up later).

On Friday I met with John Barratt who developed and is off to the Twitter conference in San Francisco as well. It was great to meet up with a local twitter developer and share thoughts (well, me pick his brains really) on geo-locating tweets.

Finally the processing pipeline finally went live which was great. It’s needed a few tweaks, but generally is working really well. I’m now cranking up the various components to make it much more aggressive about refreshing and location users for us.

We are now at around 17,000 Australian Twitter users fully indexed and up to date — I want to grow this to around 50,000 by next Monday.


  • Doris agreeing to come on board as our first advisor.
  • A partial prototype.
  • The processing pipeline fired up and working. Very impressed with the quality and robustness of AMQP, RabbitMQ and Celery in combination.
  • Getting the pipeline up and running in production.


  • Too easy — Commercialisation Australia Talk. Shoot me before I agree to any more government talks.
  • Too much to do, too little time.

Goal this week?

  • Complete to a point that we can start showing the prototype to people.
  • Index, index and index more Australian Twitter users.