It’s not done, but I nagged Jason enough so we’ve launched it anyway!! I present to you, my dear readers… Ficly. There’s a long story to tell about how any why Ficly came to be and why we couldn’t leave well enough alone. I might as well tell it.\
Building ficlets, for both Jason and me, was the best experience of our professional lives (he told me that, anyway, and I believe him). We had total freedom to do the right thing, which is rare, especially at AOL. We, along with Ari, Cindy and Jenna, built something beautiful. And then, it all sort of went weird. Everyone eventually left AOL, and I was left alone to keep the site kind of up and running even though I’d been told I wasn’t allowed to work on it anymore. Then, I left AOL last summer to go work at Music Intelligence Solutions on stuff I’d never done before.\
In December, AOL announced that ficlets would be shut down. I went and created the ficlets memorial, because it would be criminal to let all those stories just disappear. A bunch of valiant souls still inside AOL battled hard to get the company to either give me ficlets outright or donate it to a non-profit – it obviously didn’t happen. Jason and I e-mailed back and forth a few times about how sad it was to see ficlets die and that we really should do something about it. But, who’s got the time?\
It was Jason who pushed until I agreed. Jason got Tom Osborne and Owen Shifflett from Viget Labs to jump in and save the day (because you really don’t want me designing anything). They designed what you see on the site, and it’s more than I could have hoped. Our pal Joe helped out when he could, and I worked a couple hours at night during the week and a few hours on weekends when I wasn’t working late at the office. Five months later, and several helping hands later, here we are.\
I’m extremely happy with how it’s turned out, and with the reaction from the community so far. We wouldn’t have built Ficly if the ficlets community wasn’t so great. We did it for them, and because we have a lot of fun working together – even when it’s over e-mail.\
I don’t think of Ficly as a “side” project and we’re certainly not a startup. Ficly is an art project. We built it out of love – and a passion for fostering creativity. I think Jason put it best in an e-mail, “My job isn’t building web pages. It’s delivering happiness by the kilobyte.”\
I don’t know where Ficly goes from here. I know I have a laundry list of stuff I wanted to do on ficlets that we’ll probably get around to eventually. For now, it feels good to have done what we’ve done so far. It was hard making time for it, but I’m glad we did.

Categorized as ficly

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.


  1. I think we’re all glad you guys did it, too. At least, I know I am. You could’ve just let us go; I mean, what are we? Apparently more than just random people floating in cyberspace.
    I’ve said it before (I think), and I’ll say it again: you’ve all done more than I think any of us could’ve possibly asked for; for that, plus being ridiculously awesome, I thank you.

  2. Cheers Kevin! It was a real pleasure working with you and Jason on Ficly. It’s a great feeling to be able to dive into a project with other people who are driven and passionate. You guys are an inspiration, and a ton of fun.
    Here’s to the rather large shoes Ficly has been lovingly nurtured into filling over the past months, and to it’s potential for bringing people the joys of fun, uncomplicated creativity.

  3. The new site looks amazing, and it seems like it’s starting to rock again already.
    I’m not sure if there’s any way to offer some help in closing some bugs for you guys, but you might even be able to solicit some coding help among the writers.

  4. Three cheers for Ficly! And man, is it going like gangbusters! I can’t even come close to keeping up.

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