Something on the Side

By Mark Bates

Elevator Pitch

A tale of two side projects designed to enlighten, entertain, and scare the wits out of anyone thinking of starting one.


Developers love to start side projects. Why not? We spend our days building businesses for others, why not for ourselves? There are a lot of different types of side projects out there and a lot of ways to run them.

This talk is the tale of two such projects. The first project; a subscription based content site. The second project; a free site geared towards conferencing. These projects, while different, have a lot in common and a lot that can be learned from them.

In this talk, I will share the histories, the ups, the downs, and the dirty details of each of these projects. Will I scare you into never starting your own side project? Will I inspire you to start one? Will I have lots of animated GIFs? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


In this talk I will cover the following topics, plus some others:

  • Working with a co-founder
  • Architectural issues
  • Dealing with customers
  • Exiting/shutting down a project
  • Customer acquisition
  • Pivoting