Ideas and Validation January 17, 2020

Feedback on 10 ideas - any good?

Steve Latham @SteveL

Hi everyone, I'm the worst in the world for having an idea and diving straight into coding it. After a couple of weeks, this great idea morphs into a waste of time in my head, I lose momentum and around that time another great idea will come. Then all attention swaps to that... ad Infinitum. I know this is bad and backward and I'm trying to change!

I thought I'd share 10 ideas and it'd be great to get some feedback.

  1. Work-life balance productivity app. Like a (yet another) todo list, only it categorises tasks so you can account for your time based on work and life.

  2. A vaguer todoist type app. Where todoist has you log things like "dentist appointment next Monday", or "Payday every Friday", this would be "Try to learn yoga on Friday afternoon". It is not a todo list but a try to-do list I suppose.

  3. Plan a trip app based on the weather in the area. Say you have a week stay somewhere, the app could give you a forecast overview and general advice to start with. Say something like "You better make the most of the weather and get to the beach today or tomorrow... Here are some recommendations". Then on a day-to-day basis give recommendations based on local forecasts to avoid the rain.

  4. The best chance for stargazing in your area app or webapp. It can take into account weather, moon phase, sunset times, time of year, location, dark sky level in your area. You'll be alerted when there's a good chance to see stars.

  5. Weather assertion API. This is an API that doesn't give you any weather forecast, it just gives you either a yes or no (true/false) answer. So you could hit it with questions like "Will there be a 60% chance or greater of snow in Liverpool within the next 3 hours". You get back true or false to use in an app or monitoring system.

  6. Weather notification service that links into the above API. You can create these questions and get alerts or webhooks called.

  7. An online workplace reward system that is fun. It could be based around slack or email. You have nominations, votes and weekly rewards. The rewards could be things like deciding what lunch the office has delivered, where after-work drinks are etc.

  8. A contemporary content checker for websites. As we know large websites can quickly become out of date. Rather than relying on the built-in content manager for the website, this service could be done externally. So, The system has contacts for who is responsible for the sections of the website. The system crawls the website and looks for things that look out of date or haven't changed for a while. Say old dates, people and their roles in an organisation (that change often). It can then email the contact with a simple question of "Is this content still correct". The contact can then just reply "yes" and the system is happy. If it isn't they reply "no" and it is flagged as work to be done. A notice could even be added to the content that it may be out of date. As a secondary service, it could also scan for broken links, spelling errors etc.

  9. Incoming sales email validator. Maybe a chrome plugin. When the email arrives in the inbox it could be ranked based on things like "is this from a Hotmail account or a business account", If it is a business account rank that business based on size. It could label emails as existing customers, new customers etc.

  10. Collaborative Idea validation for startups and makers webapp. Use the system to store your ideas and use built-in tools to validate them. Share the ideas to get feedback from others.

Right, I'll leave it there! I might post another 10 soon.

Cheers.

  1. 3

    Stop posting 10 ideas at a go :)

    There are plenty of good potential things to build already, have a bit more focus to your search

    Think broader about who needs it / wants it. - Talk to those guys about validating the idea, so if building a sales tool, talk to actual sales professionals about what pain and problems they have and solve the problem for them, if you can get commitment/$$$ at the same time.

    1. 1

      Hi Breffni,

      Thanks, you are 100% spot on. I've heard this advice before and it is good, I'm just too stupid to follow it! This is actually my first post on Indiehackers in an attempt to alter these bad habits. My ideas are all over the place and I agree a more focused approach is needed.

      The next thing I start will (I hope) be following this advice.

      Thanks again

      1. 1

        Hi guys, please allow me to share my thoughts here.

        When you mentioned "a more focused approach", I think market opportunity navigator (https://wheretoplay.co/) could help you to structure your thoughts better.

        I always refer to it when working on new ideas.

  2. 2

    Personal opinions here, I will try to be short. I guess I will be answering where I'd use your product/service or not.

    1. The idea sounds promising, it's something I definitely need but not sure how it would work.

    2. Don't see any value here.

    3. Looks nice, though I have a feeling that Google Maps will just copy you there and do it better because of the tremendous amount of resources they have.

    4. Not my taste of apps, but why not.

    5. OK.

    6. IFTTT ?

    7. Like!

    8. I assume that large websites are for large businesses, where they have more than one moderator. Not excited.

    9. OK

    10. I thought that's what IndieHackers does. ;p

    I guess my favourite is number 7!

    1. 1

      actually i felt same as @pangratios .

    2. 1

      Hi pangratios,

      Thanks very much for your time and comments.

      That's a good point about IFTTT. If you had the weather assertion API (5) you could use IFTTT to automate things based weather questions.

      The most recent project to stall was number 10 and your comment was one of the reasons that stalled - that and no obvious way to monetize it. Because I'm 'that guy' I've spent weeks on building out that system as well! I did get to play with firebase and Material-UI, though. So at least I've learnt something on my todo list!

      1. 1

        "I'm 'that guy' I've spent weeks on building out that system as well!" - I feel you ;p

  3. 1

    Hey Steve, love that you have so many ideas! What problems are you focused on solving?

    1. 1

      Hey Aelsabagh,

      Thanks for your comment. My problem isn't coming up with ideas (I have a Trello board full of them), it is coming up with ideas I like or I am interested in. As you can tell my ideas are all over the place and completely unfocused at the moment! I don't have a specific area I'm looking to solve problems in. I work in IT so lots of problems are already solved in that area. I'm trying to think of things I enjoy or I'm interested in and work out problems and solutions from there.

      Cheers.

      1. 1

        Hey Steve, it sounds like we're in a similar boat.

        I'm using a couple of criteria to guide me in knowing what to prioritise making:

        1. Interest

        2. Level of impact (Elon musk talks about this)

        Here's an article I came across today that might be useful: http://paulgraham.com/startupideas.html

        1. 1

          That was the idea behind idea number 10. A way to organise and filter, validate, rank, share ideas. It's definitely a problem I have, something I'm interested in and I think might be of use to people. I just don't think there's a business there in the idea.

          Thanks for the article, looks good. I'll give it a read.

  4. 1

    I think the problem of not finishing project is a common one. I am also affected by this. I realize my biggest fight is to finish something regardless. Secondly man, I really like your second idea of an app that tell you where to take your trip according to the weather..

    1. 1

      Hi Mike,

      I think so too. I'm going to make the next thing I work on something that can be released easily within 2 weeks. Once a project gets to 4+ weeks, that's when my interest starts to suffer and I start picking holes in the idea. For me, once I have figured out how to do the awkward/interesting bits my mind tells me I'm done, move on, there's no fun to be had now.

      The weather idea was one I liked and (surprise surprise) after about a month that took a knock. I did manage to release some npm packages for that, so that made me feel like I'd achieved something!

      https://www.npmjs.com/package/@slatham/quadtree

      https://www.npmjs.com/package/@slatham/datapoint

      I've still got an API for it running on Heroku and an unfinished react frontend. So there's still hope I might resurrect it.

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Good luck!

  5. 1

    I'm not trying to be mean, but none of those seem worth the effort, either have way too many competitors already or no user interest. the only one that struck in my head was your last one, and to build upon that, maybe have an app where you jot down your business idea clearly, and the system checks if other people have submitted the idea, or even if the idea exists on the net, and gives you a score of uniquness based on your idea, for example if you did a google search for any of your above ideas the uniqness score would be very low.

    that would be a great app.

    This should be your workflow for ideas:

    step one: you have an idea

    step two: google it

    step three: research it properlly on app stores, forums, quora, discord, google, you grandmother, your friends, ask your mates at work

    step four: google what code snippets and clone software you can hobble together to make an MVP (something that actually works but doesn't have perfect design, or all the features

    release it, NOW

    step five: GET USER FEEDBACK

    step 6: iterate, grow.

    step 7: leave your job, as you now have a succeful app.

    1. 1

      Hi Raccoon,

      Don't worry about being honest - that's why I posted the ideas. It's good to get feedback. That was sort of the vibe for the last idea. It'd function as an idea notebook with built-in validation tests and options to share and get feedback. I was thinking of scoring the idea on things like how excited you are for the idea, how big your market share would be and how much you could charge, also how difficult it'd be to build. I'll have a think on the uniqueness score idea. I don't know if an idea is unique that would be a good or bad thing, though. If it is unique would that mean it is a bad idea because everyone who has thought of it has dismissed it?

      Thanks for your help.

      1. 1

        Yeah I really like your idea, a sort of full playground to test ideas, and see the potential market size, maybe you could bring in search data from crunchbase or angel investor websites on similiar ideas and how much they are worth, etc...I think you are on to something, you could do a number of different models: affiliate links to entrepenuer things, like domain registration etc, you could include advertising, and you could do a monthly sub (i don't like monthly sub, but up to you)

        1. 1

          Good ideas. I have already put some work into the MVP of this idea but dropped it because I couldn't think how to monetise it. The only idea I did have was to charge a one-off to generate a nice landing page from the idea.

  6. 1

    Hi - I am interested in #4 -> though with a slightly different angle as a photography tool. I'd like to calculate when certain astronomical events occur based on a spot where I want to take a picture. E.g. I point my phone/camera to the Golden Gate Bridge and I get a calculation when the moon or sun will cross, most likely golden hour, etc. If you or anyone else wants to work on project like that together let me know :)

    1. 1

      Hi George,

      That is a good idea. I'm not a photography geek but I could see how that would be useful.

      Thanks for the input!

  7. 1

    I would like to discuss some of these ideas with you! linkedin?

    1. 1

      Hi ArionG,

      Sounds good. I don't really use Linkedin but I have my email address on my profile.

      Cheers

  8. 1

    I've built something similar to the number 5 for https://weather.marketing (which btw I'm selling on 1KProjects). It's fairly easy to build, but I'm not sure about the use case, I used it to sync Facebook ads with the weather. In any case, good luck!

    1. 1

      Hi Cosbgn,

      Looks good! I did start to build this idea out myself with nodejs/express. As always I lost interest. It is actually still sitting on Heroku doing nothing, so congratulations on launching the product - I wish I had your discipline. Once I've bought the domain name I start to feel my job is done and the interest fades! One positive was I managed to publish a couple of open-source npm packages and leaned a ton about Quadtree data structures, though.

  9. 1

    My thoughts on the ideas:

    1. Did not get the main point of this app.

    2. This can be achieved by and todo app, just use more vague tasks.

    3. I prefer to plan my trips and not depend on tools that usually just have a subset of activities available. If you do a good job it might be useful.

    4. Not into stargazing but if it hasn't been done yet, sure.

    5. and 6. Could be useful, who do you think would use this the most?

    6. A lot of products like this exists already, I would skip this one.

    7. Could be useful if not too intrusive and you can flag which content is bound to change

    8. Don't think this brings enough value and salespeople already have all kinds of complex email addons

    9. You could make it like photofeeler.com but for ideas and then add some tools for that.

    1. 1

      Hi Neits,

      Thanks for your comments, much appreciated. 5 & 6 would be anyone who wants to automate things based on the weather. Say websites selling wellies and umbrellas or people who depend on certain weather conditions to do their job - say maintenance of equipment located high up, or people selling goods - say if the weather is going to be nice, maybe automate buying more icecream! Tools already exist for google ads - so if it is going to be nice, push your ads for your beach towels, for example.

      Thanks for the photofeeler suggestion, I'll look into that now.

      1. 1

        I see, you could find a few people from your target audience and try to sell this to them. Would they use it? Would they pay for it? Maybe having a few people that are genuinely interested in the idea would help you gather more motivation to push this to at least an MVP.

        1. 1

          Agreed. Good advice. Thanks for your help.

  10. 1

    Hey Steve! these are my first reactions to each idea

    1. Like this one. I remember watching a TED talk about f*ck bucks and it reminds me of this idea. Spend more time doing things you care about

    2. So something like a bucket list? I'm pretty sure others have tried this already

    3. I don't travel a lot so I don't see any value here.

    4. I've seen this in a lot of sky-related apps

    5. Cool! Predefined assertions would be nice too for a quick integration

    6. Hm, not sure

    7. YES! Something not very formal and fun! Office pranks / challenges maybe?

    8. Not sure, looks like a lot of work for little value

    9. not sure, too complex

    10. Like this one too

    Best of luck man!

    1. 1

      Hi Yiannis,

      Thanks very much for the detailed feedback. I agree on #8-9, a lot of work and something that isn't very interesting to do.

      Cheers.