A Startup Social Network

As the managing co-founder, I left Condé Nast and raised $100k in seed and angel funding to build a social network and inspiration community for designers, design:relatedTM, launched in late 2007 using Ruby on Rails.

The application was built from the ground up through agile design and code. In addition to writing and pushing code, I managed every facet of the business, IT infrastructure, and product development cycles from the start of the business until it’s end in 2013.

Prototypes (c.2009) →
My Role as Co-Founder, CEO:
  • Funding
  • Business Development
  • Product Design
  • Product Management
  • UX Design
  • Visual Design
  • Operations
  • Cloud Architecture
  • Security
  • Community Management
  • v. 1.0 to 1.9

    The first few years showed vast potential as other products like Behance, Dribbble, and Pinterest came to the forefront. We used realtime data to better serve our community through editorial and programmatic means.

  • v. 2.0

    The second version of the site launched in late 2010. This time it was rearchitected from the ground up, taking the infrastructure from virtual private servers to Amazon's new cloud offerings, EC2, RDS, and S3.

    I also installed New Relic and Cloud Flare to keep tabs on performance, I/O, and potential security threats.



Active Users


User Revenue Generated


Jobs Posted


From IT Infrastructure to Revenue Models

As an entrepreneur, I had to manage many different facets of the business. This included burn rate on a total investment of $275k over six years.

Life Cycle

Startup c. 2007 - 2013

The product was sunset at the end of 2013 when funding had all but run out, and it was time to fold the social network.

In the process, I learned: how to form and run a partnership business, how to raise funding, the ins and outs of startup culture, how to name drop (i.e., having coffee or a beer with other startups like Shopify, Tumblr, Behance, Meetup, 4Chan, and more), Ruby on Rails, IT architecture, Cloud architecture (c. 2008/2009), end-to-end product design, business development, legal (ugh), customer service, prototyping, testing, agile development, subversion, git, UX analytics, how to write editorial that gets picked up, community management, social network engineering, iterative & agile design, and a whole lot more.