Usually, I write here to announce interesting and enthusiastic things, like new features. Unfortunately, this time it’s not the case.
We’ve decided to write this message, because we think you’ve right to know not only the nice and positive aspects of this project, but also the negative ones. This is an important message and I hope you will understand my English because I don’t have the strength to translate now.
First some history. We are two professional programmers. After we finished the studies (PhD aka Doktorarbeit), we have worked in „serious“ companies, made some „serious“ work. This was not only boring, but ultimately was making me physically sick (I had asthma and other respiratory problems). Moreover, we realized that this “lifestyle” is equivalent to throw our life away.
So we move here with the idea to do something that has a real value. We started hikr and in April 2006 decided to develop only this project. Our goal was and still is to make the best website of this kind, not only for the technical quality, but also for the community, that allows enthusiastic alpinists and hikers to find other people like them.
Today, hikr.org is one of the biggest (probably the biggest) websites in this domain in Switzerland. It has grown of 500% in one year, thanks to your contributions and to our work. So finally I feel that we’re doing a good thing, useful to people we like, and even promoting a lifestyle close to the nature.
Unfortunately, there is something that can’t be forgot, even with all our enthusiasm. Last year the site wasn’t so big and we have accepted a sponsoring offer that obliges us to live under the poverty threshold (fortunately we have some resources). But that was okay, because we knew that the site would grow. This year, the site is five times bigger than last year (and I’m sure it will grow more) and we had a new offer, still below the threshold and with conditions that make virtually impossible to have other sponsors in the same time.
Has this work so little value?
Is it possible that in this world the only websites that have value are stupid websites to compare insurances and prices of mobile phones and of ski resorts? I feel sick and useless again.
Probably, it’s the continent. For example, in the US there are many passion-centric websites around any subject. Those websites generate interest, enthusiasm and also some money for their developers. Why Europe is always so retarded? Why is it always impossible to make something interesting and modern here?
We don’t know what we should do now. Look for others sponsors to receive the same response, if any? Look to find several small advertisers? It’s true that with our complete lack of commercial skills, we probably will not find any one. Look for a normal job? Even this is difficult here, because they will first look my gender, age, and photo and only if they like those things, they will consider what I did. Indeed, I’ve already found an interesting, enthusiastic job in a small US startup company just by sending them the address of this website. But, unfortunately, we cannot move there.