Ideas and Validation November 14, 2019

My startup idea... feedback appreciated (Please Roast)


UPDATE: For the time being, I am building a MVP but scrapping Hyperledger for now, (unless later it makes a lot more sense to use it). I am using Spring Boot and MongoDB for my backend. Welcome to any more criticisms of my architecture.

Basically, to get the ball rolling I'd like to share my idea. I welcome any suggestions, feedback, and criticisms.

Hyperledger is a permissioned blockchain, meaning that only authorized users can write to the ledger in certain "channels". In these channels, I hope to store document data, essentially ASCII data of documents.

Basically, the product is to write a word processor or a cloud based notebook like Everynote where each save is permanently stored on Hyperledger. That way, if a user wants to go back and reference what they wrote earlier they can even though they "deleted" it.

There are eseentially 3 stacks to my schema; frontend, server with restAPI, and server hosting Hyperledger blockchain. Hyperledger can also have multiple users in the same channel who essentially get to overwrite the same document. The latest document is in the highest block. A user who wished to go back and just choose a previous block.

Please let me know what your thoughts are? I was thinking it can be something like google docs with an interface like Evernote. Obviously, I actually need to develop on it, but figured sharing it here is a good first step.

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    My other question is - do you really need to use blockchain? Doesn’t it represent an unnecessary adoption barrier for potential users? (Web 3.0 dapps usually require users to change their interaction habits quite a lot and in order to persuade users to change their habits, your solution needs to be drastically better than anything else out there)

    How about you develop something using tech that users know well and then if you figure out that blockchain adds significant value, you slowly power portions of your product by Blockchain.

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      yeah, that seems like a logical route... And it'll be quicker to fail if the need isn't there

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      Well said, bruh!!!

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    Hi Sterling,

    My main question is - what problem are you solving? Are you solving a problem that nobody else has really solved, or are you solving a problem which arises from existing solution?

    It might give you much more clarity and direction if you list out people who work with databases similar to what you described (eg Lawyers, writers as you posted in other comments), understand their day-to-day jobs and then see if your solution can benefit them (or if you need to pivot your idea)

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    Don't get into blockchain unless you really need it. I don't think you need a blockchain here, it makes things much more complicated. Hyperledger Fabric was meant to develop enterprise blockchain solutions. Remember if you use it you need to set up roles, etc. I might be wrong and the solution might be great too. It's my view..

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      Yes, good point. I have 2 main concerns with what I'm doing. First, can a regular database store all the versions as well as Hyperledger can in the sense that it won't overwrite the user's data? Second, would it benefit if multiple users are able to update the data with permissions and votes?
      I guess it would be a glorified Git for documents, but potentially more user friendly (literally just a string of blocks, each with a set of data). To be entirely honest, I think the solution might work out, but I don't know if I should choose a project that has more of a direct and clearer impact.

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        Ask people at your workplace or build an MVP and test it out.

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    After working 2 years in blockchain full-time I came to the realisation that from the business perspective immutability is not a crucial factor for solving the problem. If you go to an average lawyer, they probably won't care what tech you use if the searchability of the doc is possible without running nodes for validation of a particular chain. If you use mongoDB or Corda - the stakeholder who buys your solution cares about what are you solving for, not how. I believe if you introduce version control to google docs - wouldn't that solve for the problem? How big is the problem that someone deletes a doc? I don't know the answers but feels like you can solve this with web 2.0 stuff without the blockchain complexity

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      Yeah, you're right.

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      That's a good insight. Yes, I work as a blockchain dev at my current job and think web 2.0 is largely overhyped. On the other hand, Hyperledger is being used by many companies (Walmart spending 1 billion to implement Hyperledger for its produce).
      I was thinking about something like Google docs making it obsolete. However, Hyperledger takes it one step further where the data is fundamentally never deleted. Perhaps it's aimed towards users who would like to write with more liberty rather than think about which version they are on. That's why I was thinking about writers who are not overly technical with their process. If the data is not too large to store, maybe even artists can make use of it.

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    Hi Sterling, feels like a solid tech solution. Have you thought about which users may have a need for an immutable list of document revisions? Lawyers who draft contracts spring to mind.

    My only reservation is that 'normal' users might not care so much about the immutibility of having their document saved on a blockchain, especially if it means they couldn't do things like save on each keypress (like Google Docs), or if the time to save to a blockchain takes a little longer than simply writing to a database. These might become pain points for mainstream users. But it feels like there might be a decent niche of users who would appreciate that level of document integrity, I would work first on clearly defining who would be interested in using that system.

    Good luck and keep us updated.

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      Thanks for the comments. Unlike Ethereum, Hyperledger is super fast, it would almost be like writing to a database.
      I'm not entirely sure who the userbase would be. One idea I have in mind are writers who come up with a good story arc, but scrap that idea for an alternative one only to find out the previous one was better. That lawyer niche sounds interesting. I guess I'll have to get something out there.

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    Are you building Hyperledger or is this an existing blockchain your building your idea on? What's the reason for using Blockchain tech as opposed to a normal server?

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      Hyperledger Fabric is open source, I have to write the chaincode so that user(s) can write to the ledger and save their work. I still have to setup the network.
      The distinction between a normal sever is that Hyperledger data cannot be overwritten. Also, multiple users can write to the same central database. With a normal server, you would have to set up permissions.
      All I know is that unlike bitcoin and ethereum, many companies are adopting Hyperledger such as Walmart. I know a guy who works at a Hyperledger startup that have shipped 2 products in Hyperledger that companies paid good money for... Same can't be said about Ethereum.

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        I think the most important thing is going to be articulating to people why they should really want a cloud-based notebook on Hyperledger. Otherwise, you're just competing with the many other online notebooks out there. "Hyperledger data cannot be overwritten" doesn't really convince me, as I'm generally happy to trust website owners to not delete or overwrite my data. Is content in Hyperledge encrypted? I could see that being a value add if you know it's not possible for sensitive content to leak out. Maybe zero in on a specific niche of users, so it's not just for any content, it's for people that need to write and store _____.

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          Also... it's not merely deleting data as I'm thinking, it's that the document can be reverted to any previous version from any block.

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            This could be implemented in a normal app/database as well. In my opinion, blockchains make sense when there is lack of trust and you want to make sure your users know that they don't NEED to trust you, as you can't change their data. That said, this seems like a fun project and you never know where it might go. I don't want to discourage you, just giving you some things to think about :)

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              Thanks, appreciate it.

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          It could be encrypted based on the user's key (an essential part of blockchain). But, I would guess wouldn't other online notebooks have this feature anyway?
          I'm not sure which niches may be more applicable. Maybe a better version would be art so you can see the evolution of the project... or an immutable "magical" diary... I'd have to think

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    Guys I am a founder of a soccer recruiting platform and I have had version 1.0 which looks like crap on for two years now but I want to build the platform to an MVP stage so we can start making money and keep growing from there. I am looking for a web developer based in the U.S or Europe with a passion for soccer to work with me on this platform. Kindly reach out if this is something you are interested in.

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    This comment was deleted 25 days ago.

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      yeah, that might be a better solution for now. I just need to see what solution that need to be solved.