I know:It's only rock n' roll,But we like it

Day1So, after almost a year of work, we launched our first product today. Granted, it’s not the full-on, expansive news site we’ve been talking about (and still intend to produce), but it is, in my immodest opinion, a great start.

Cindy Chaffin, the founder and guiding light of TexasGigs, tells the story and covers the bases well and what little bit she misses is in our FAQ. So I’m just going to cover the "Inside Baseball" stuff here:

  • Why call it TexasGigs and not Pegasus News? Partly because Cindy’s blog already had great cred; partly so as not to confuse folks that Pegasus News is just a music site.
  • This was an opportunity to get a product into the market at a low cost and still not compromise our belief that you need to be content-rich on day one if you want to get and retain an audience.
  • We couldn’t have pulled it off without Cindy’s knowledge and backlog of data; the tireless efforts of unpaid laborers-of-love Alan Cohen, Blair Lovern and Kate Mackley, among others; and the Ellington content management system — a good piece of software, but invaluable because it comes with the patience and expertise of Wilson Miner, Jacob Kaplan-Moss and Matt Croydon of World Online.
  • I’m sure that there are still cleanups, holes and glitches aplenty, but for those who think that hand-aggregating content is cost-prohibitive and un-scalable, I can say this — We have the closest-to-complete database of local bands, shows and songs that our market has ever seen. Seven people built that in five weeks, without spending a nickel (not counting hooch and caffeine). We still have a lot more correcting, adding of bands, and catching up on schedules to do– but once that’s over, we think it will take the labor equivalent of one full-time person to keep it updated. Maybe more to add features.
  • We got our first over-the-transom ad request two hours after we turned it on.
  • We’re trying to focus a lot of our content to be of direct interest to the bands now, as we think they’ll be our most immediate audience.
  • In working on the site, it’s become clear to me that Web 2.0 enables one of two choices for content providers — or maybe more accurately two ends of a continuum:  You can use technology to cut your costs, or to enhance utility (or something in between). The prevailing school of thought in the market appears to be the former. We believe passionately in the latter.

I’m sure there’s more to cover, but I’m a bit on the tired side– I may expand this post later. In the meantime, check out the site and let me know what you think!

UPDATE 12/20:

Steve Outing on our launch.

And PaidContent. Y’know, for the past year, PaidContent has been my bible, my Wall Street Journal and my Sports Illustrated all in one. Six weeks ago, I would have given naming rights to a child for a mention in it’s hallowed pixels. Now, I’d much rather see a positive bulletin post from a cover-band bassist on MySpace.

Guess that’s the difference between opening a business and blogging about starting in business.

Mike Orren is the Chief Product Officer of The Dallas Morning News; President of Belo Business Intelligence; husband to Crystal Orren; and a Mungarian at Munger Place Church in Dallas, TX. All opinions herein are mine alone.