How does one jump from v1 of a product to v4?

Monday, April 10th, 2017

By following a very weird road.

I wrote the first version of Serendeputy (my news engine and personal white whale) in 2008 after I left Boston.com — launching the beta version in the middle of 2009. I kept improving it, but noticed soon that selling into media companies during the Great Recession did not have an especially-high close rate.

So, I joined up with Susan Hunt Stevens and co-founded Practically Green, now Wespire. I lived the startup life for a couple of years until family obligations drove me to bow out gracefully.

So I got back to product-strategy consulting and working on Serendeputy, building out what I was calling v2, a clean rebuild that was going to adjust to how the world was working in 2011.

Then, one of my consulting clients brought me on full-time and I put it aside.

A while later, our private-equity overlords shut us down.

So, I got back to product-strategy consulting and working on Serendeputy, building out what I was calling v3, a clean rebuild that was going to adjust to how the world was working in 2014.

Then, one of my consulting clients brought me on full-time and I put it aside.

A while later, my division got restructured, and my position was eliminated.

So, I got back to product-strategy consulting and working on Serendeputy, building out what I am calling v4, a clean rebuild that is adjusting to how the world works in 2017.

And, that’s where I am right now. It’s a good place to be, and I’m happy with the progress I’m making. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I should be able to have this version of the application out in the world by September.

I’ve been making good progress, but I was still a little haunted by v1. Out in the wild. Showing its age. Built before responsive design was a thing. Built before Twitter was a thing. Dated. Like gold-lamé dated.

Running Rails 2.3.2.

A tiny bit embarrassing, if I have to be totally honest.

So, after one more weekend spent debugging weird errors, I decided to mothball v1 and put up a coming-soon page for v4. That’s what’s up live at Serendeputy right now.

I would have loved to do a graceful transition from one version to the next, but the world was not leaning that way.

So, Onward!

Stay tuned. If you’re already one of the users of Serendeputy v1, I’ll send you note when the new version is ready to play with. For everyone else: if you’re interested in finding out when the new version goes live, drop me a note — jason at serendeputy — and I’ll make sure to let you know.

Now, back into work.

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