Time To Pivot

They say you should start selling your software by creating the simplest of programs you could write. I tried to pare down my college course registration idea to its simplest form. But even that was a huge undertaking. It was going to take me between 6 months to a year to come up with the minimal product.

It takes more than just the coding to cash in. You need to put up a web site and do some marketing. I don't want to wait 6 or more months before I get to that. Time to pivot and choose another program to write. Today I got the inspiration from a guy discussing technical interview techniques. He let's candidates solve simple problems using pair programming. One of their tests is to write a program to determine what type of poker hand a person has.

My idea is going to spring from that test program. I think I can code the thing up in a few months. We are talking 3 months tops before I have a polished program. The thing will be simple, but will provide some value. There will be plenty of opportunity to make the thing better and sell the improvements. Let's see if we can get this new idea off the ground.

Advice from a Veteran

Some dude put together a book about development and recently released it for free. He assembled the book from the 4000 or so posts he has contributed on the net. Pretty cool. He pulled his comments up into a database, sorted and massaged them, and spit out a book.

The advice was split between startup type ventures and development and general. I took a close look at the business end of this posts. I was surprised that he spends about 50% of his time in development. I thought development was a small portion of running a business.

Here is another unusual piece of advice. He recommends you do not quit your day job. The reason is surprising too. It is not due to keeping up with a paycheck. He says you can learn a lot about product needs at your day job. Then you can meet that need with your ISV.

The author recommends you make things that people actually need and are willing to buy right now. Like others, he stresses that you make things simple and stick to the Minimum Viable Product. Good stuff.

Got an Idea

I finished reading the book All The Rage. It follows the story of Napster, the MP3 file sharing program from 10 years ago. I was inspired to find that a high school kid was the author of the program. Sure they had some other dudes writing code. But he originated the thing.

If a high schooler from a tough neighborhood can start up the Napster revolution, then I figure I can come out with a product. I alreday have an idea. It will target college students, or high schoolers looking to enter college. I have scraped some college style data and loaded it into a database. I have also developed a proof of concept prototype.

Now I need to turn the prototype into a real product. I am trying hard to keep it simple and get something that can ship. Next I need to set up my web site. I hear you should do that even before you have a product. Ready, set, let's go.

Super Couponing

I clip coupons in the weekend newspaper circular. They save me a few bucks every week. I know I cold do better. One lesson I learned by accident is that you can double up by using both a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon on the same item. Sweet.

I recently got a book on couponing. It explained that there are different levels of coupons users. Apparently I am a novice. You can also go online and print out coupons to add to the mix. Finally you can also put coupons on your store card for the ultimate savings. Go figure.

Although I am only starting to read the couponing book, I have learned a few gems I shall try out. You can search online for the name of your store and "deals". It will give you some great savings. Let's see what else this little book can teach me.