Ideas and Validation November 25, 2019

Still looking for good business ideas. Does something here sound good to you?

mpodlasin

I posted a topic about making a job board in France (I am Polish) and people - which I am grateful about - showed me that I actually know very little about that market.

I also wanted to go to some non-tech conventions (fashion, manufacturing etc.) and ask them for any ideas, but somebody rightfully pointed out, that I should find a project I am passionate about.

Hence I am still looking for business/side projects ideas. I am looking for something strictly to monetize on, rather than hobby or a project to learn.

Here are some ideas, or rather "sketches" of ideas, divided by my interests:

MATH:
(I am studying math on weekends - in Poland we have weekend universities. I do it both from passion and in order to learn machine learning as deeply as possible.)

  • Some time ago I wrote an app to make mathematics notes - https://thetextbook.herokuapp.com/ - I wanted it to be my "main" side project, but I lost faith in it because:
    • I don't see anybody actually willing to pay for it
    • I used it before, but stopped some time ago - if I don't use it, why anybody else would
    • I posted in on big math subreddits and interest/excitement was there, but veeeeeeeeery minor

I love math, so I would love to pivot this project into something monetizable. Some half-baked ideas are:

  • some kind of app to find people interested in studying the same math topic as you (but you have reddit for that...)
  • some kind of app for submitting your solutions to math problems and having them checked (but there is mathoverflow for that...)
  • utility for easy posting math on social media sites (facebook, slack, etc.). I know that currently on many platforms it's very difficult. No idea how to solve it though...

JOB BOARDS:
(If people don't have ideas, they just make job boards. In Poland we have already too much job boards dedicated to programming, hence I am reluctant. On the other hand I actually care about the topic - I change jobs quite often and I am always on the lookout for something better)

Still have some ideas for job boards:

  • machine learning dedicated job board - there is nothing like that in Poland, and ML and Data Science grow in popularity

  • "exclusive" job board - that is a job board, where recruiters are always required to post: salary possibilities, photos of space where developer will be working, contact info to team members with whom a developer will be actually working, info about the stack of the project developer will work in - including unit test coverage, all libraries used etc.
    This might sound crazy, but few years ago, giving salary info seemed crazy and now (in Poland) everyone does that. Recruiters are trully desperate in our country to find good devs, hence I actually think they would be willing this extra effort, if board actually had good visit numbers (maybe It could be paid to even see the offers? - it would be for experienced devs, who are looking for something truly "extra" in their jobs)

TRAVEL:
(I travel quite often. Also I am in long distance relationship with a girl from France. I still have some problems with using skyscanner and few other alternatives. This will be more list of problems and not actual ideas:)

  • I can't easily find shortest possible/weekend trips with skyscanner. I like to go for short trips to other countries, for not more than 3-4 days. I want to waste as little of my holiday days as possible.

  • I can't see from which airport it would be cheapest for me to travel - Poznań is very close to Berlin, so sometimes it's cheaper to go to Berlin and fly from there (counting in bus expenses to go to Berlin). Currently I need to manually check by hand: prices in Poznań, Berlin, Warsaw...

  • I would like to travel like that with my girlfriend, but we are flying from separate cities, even separate countries. I want an app that would schedule a travel for both of us, as cheap as possible. We have recently setup a trip to Venice, so it's possible, but very difficult to do.

OTHERS:

  • Kickstarter, but for finding co-founders - I noticed, that here and in other places people are looking for co-founders, info about potential projects is often of bad quality. I don't know how a person validated their idea, how do they plan to monetize, how this project differs from similar projects etc.
    This would help both people who don't have an idea, but want to join as co-founders, but would also help people posting "clarify" their idea.
    Maybe this could also grow into something, that you are showing potential investors? Kind of a CV for your business idea?
  1. 12

    Hey, Since I started VEED.IO the number of great new ideas I have come across is crazy.

    Did you know, there is no cloud app online for transcoding files over 100MB?
    Did you know there are no simple apps for making FAQ pages with content templates?
    Did you know there is no easy way to pay our remote team and track hours?
    Did you know 70% of the users I speak to are 50+ and they don't know how to use google hangouts?
    Did you know there is a HUGE demand for film subtitles in many languages and the only site that solves this looks like it was built in the 90's?
    Did you know there is no app to add arrows and text to screenshots? I have to open photoshop each time...

    I am not saying you should try one of these ideas, but just starting something gives you more ideas. Addintally, if you are planning on bootstrapping, pick an idea that is not a nice to have... Instead, it is a real need/problem that needs solving now. I like looking in the mac app store for outdated ideas/products that need updating. Best of luck! Sabba

    PS: If anyone takes one of the ideas above, keep me posted, I would be happy to provide feedback and be your first user.

    1. 2

      Did you try Hubstaff for "pay our remote team and track hours"?

      1. 1

        I was more trying to make a point on finding problems to solve. But i will check it out, thanks.

        1. 1

          Got ya. But I think invoicing and time tracking space is quite crowded.

    2. 2

      great points

    3. 1

      "Did you know there is no app to add arrows and text to screenshots? I have to open photoshop each time..."

      Have you tried Lightshot ?

      1. 1

        I have, not a fan. I like screely.com but it's missing a few bits.

        1. 1

          What do you find missing in it? Just curious. I use it all the time & it works for me perfectly now :)

    4. 1

      I’m working on FAQ SaaS atm. :)

    5. 1

      Thanks for this detailed comment. As someone who's also looking for another bootstrappable business idea, this was interesting.

      Did you know, there is no cloud app online for transcoding files over 100MB?

      I was surprised by this and just Googled it and found lots of companies that seem to offer this service:

      Is there something about these services that doesn't do what you need?

      Did you know there is no app to add arrows and text to screenshots? I have to open photoshop each time...

      Doesn't CloudApp do this?

      Did you know there are no simple apps for making FAQ pages with content templates?

      If you're interested in this, you might want to talk to Ryan at frequently.io. I'm not sure if it's still under development, but I think he's targeting use-cases like yours.

      1. 1

        If you are looking to bootstrap another idea, I would say existing products in the market is a great sign!

    6. 1

      I have a feeling you are banned by Google :)))

      1. 1

        I love hangouts and use it all the time. But try explaining to a 75-year old how to do a screen share while they do no have audio enabled? I spend about 30 mins doing this today.

    7. 1

      This is great. Keep them coming!

    8. 1

      "Did you know there is no easy way to pay our remote team and track hours?" What do you find lacking in all the current time tracking solutions in the market ? Curious to know ^^

      1. 1

        I need to pay two devs who are in different countries.

        One I pay thought upwork, this is good option but costs me 20$ per transaction.

        The other I send them money thought transferwize, it works but it's not fit for use.

        I want a central way to do this for my team as it grows. I want invoices, recepts, currency conversions, time tracking, automation and low fees.

        1. 1

          Would you be willing to pay 9.99USD/user/month (+ Stripe fees per transaction) for such a service ?

          1. 1

            I would not pay for this app. Altho I would pay a fee on transactions. That's what I do now, just make the experience better. It might be a good idea to speak to other remote teams too, see what others are using.

            1. 1

              All right, thx for the feedback ^^

    9. 1

      This is a great way to identify problems. Start something and solve your own problems.

      1. 2

        But this is exactly the opposite of what you are recommending in your other post :P

        "solve your own problem" vs "pick your market first and find their problems"

        Both can work though I imagine...

        1. 1

          My day job is a startup where we built a communication app for the families of people in prison. I knew nothing about prisons before. We saw a need in a niche market and addressed it. The service is now used in 114 prisons. So it is possible!

        2. 1

          I just don't see any problems in my life I would pay for so I will probably try the second option + looking for problems worth solving after trying bootstraping my first business... :)

          1. 1

            As a consumer, I watch my spending and do not pay for too many apps (Spotify, Netflix...)

            As a business, we need tools that solve our problems NOW and are happy to pay for them.

            Maybe from starting a project, you will find theoes problems? (this is how slack started)

            I think the ideas of "Solve your own problem" is a good one, that's why we built VEED. Let's just say, not everyone follows the same path.

  2. 2

    I am no an authority on this matter, I can just share what I am doing, and enjoying:

    • Define what a good idea is. Measurable criteria
    • Come up with a few ideas, like you have
    • Research each idea until I know if it might meet the criteria (2-3 hours per idea max.)
    • From the ideas that meet the criteria, pick the one I like the most. I don't need a perfect idea (there is not perfect idea!), just an idea that works
    • Set a goal (like "get 3 customers by 2020/2/1")
    • Build an action plan
    • Start making small steps toward the goal
    • Make adjustments and corrections to the plan as I go
    • If at any point I understand that the project will surely not meet my success criteria, I may drop it and start a different idea
      This is the best way I know to:
    1. Enjoy!
    2. Make progress all the time
    3. Hopefully at one point meet my goal
  3. 2

    Instead of trying to figure out an idea with no market, pick your market first. Who is a group of people you identify with, who are spending money on something. Figure out their needs and what you can do that they need. Good luck!

  4. 2

    The reason they say that you need to be passionate about something is because its almost a prerequisite for survival. A good or a bad idea depends on your ability to identify and EXECUTE a product that fulfills some need that people might not even be aware that they they even have (these are the big winners) - so people might even say its a shit idea and if you keep doing it you'll fail, and only if your passionate about it will you work through the hate and execute an idea you see a market for even if they don't themselves.

  5. 1

    I think an easy trap to fall into is the difference between a product and a business. That's where all the "find the market first" advice comes from. Great Product != Great Market != Great Business. The challenge is that one often comes from the technical implementation to a problem but unless you compute rocket flight paths or train ML to find cancer, that is rarely the problem. Aside from Climate Change, Electrification (and adjacent opportunities) a lot of them can be probably found in very specific niches that have a commercial value to a very SPECIFIC user.

    For instance, I am fascinated by honeypot.io since you reference job boards so much. They changed the model and have you state your salary expectations, tech stack and experience and have companies apply to you. The problem is not to find qualified people or jobs online but to cut the inefficiencies in applying and screening 100s of unsuitable applications for both, applicants and companies. That solves a real, multi-million dollar problem. The technical implementation is secondary.

    Sorry, this isn't a real answer but its not about ideas or markets first, its IMHO about insights into a specific problem and applying your unique expertise and worldview to it to solve it better, more elegantly and / or cheaper than it has been done to-date. Usually, there is a technical aspect and a business model aspect. If it was only technical, we'd all be driving Porsches because they are the best-engineered cars.

  6. 1

    Hey, I love the idea of the travel app for people on different places... I’m not sure how easy it would be but I love it

  7. 1

    I met a maths teacher the other day who was trying to make an app that let him assign different homework questions to different students in his class so that the smartest students didn't get bored and the slower students didn't get overwhelmed. Seemed so simple and obvious yet genius.

  8. 1

    Hey - I would just like to thank everyone for participating in this thread.

    It might sometimes sound as if I am not taking an advice to heart - but I do! I am finding all these comments very illuminating! Thanks!

  9. 1

    If I had machine learning and math skills I would be making something along the lines of a heads up poker bot or an Ai that can predict football (soccer for American IH'ers) match scores by using the huge amount of data available.

    Outlandish? Yes. Awesome and fun to work on regardless of success? Hell yes

    1. 1

      What I was thinking recently - I can code web apps and I know machine learning stuff and yet I still can't figure out a business for myself? How close-minded am I? :D

  10. 1

    Find a customer you’d like to help first z. Every one will buy something some point. Then find a need they have and build it

  11. 1

    Some decisions cannot be offloaded easily.

    Due you can roll the dice if you wish.
    Some guy let a computer random decide his life and another put many thing to the public vote of his followers.

    If you aren't ready for a decision you should Mary a project IMHO.

    Find what you can sell rather than what you can build

    1. 1

      "Find what you can sell rather than what you can build" - could you elaborate?

      1. 1
        1. Find an audience. (Possibly of interest to you and easily approachable by you)
        2. Find a pain point they have.
        3. Find a solution to that pain point they would be willing to pay for. The core MVP functionality that would solve the pain.
        4. Find how much they would be willing to pay for.
        5. Decide if it's worth building or go back some steps. (You should already understand how to market it to them at this point, before building and preferably test that, know the costs..)
  12. 1

    How about finding someone to join in place?

    1. 1

      Thank you. I was thinking about it, but that's probably a very good suggestion!