Back from the holidays — brain-reboot time...

23 Jan 2010

Time to wade out of the eggnog haze, and get that old stupid brain in gear again after a vacation.

SICP revisited? Smalltalk-80? A CL project?

For the first time in a while, I feel like working on something that’s explicitly focused on an incremental revenue stream.

I’m pretty confident that “clickware for the masses” ala Business of Software is never going to make retirement levels of income, or even daily-job-replacement levels of income, so a minor income supplement is the goal.

But in fact, I have no idea if my first idea will be saleable. So, digging deeper, the goal isn’t even really a income supplement, but instead to try to learn whether or not there’s any market for this style of software. And assuming there is a market, whether I’m willing and able to learn the skills required to find a sales niche in this market.

The first actual product idea that came to mind in an evening of brainstorming with my wife was a decent kid-safe browser. The plan in the sense of (Hopefully) Minimum Viable Product is a whitelist built into an existing browser. I think there’s a lot of room for expansion of features and capabilities, if people want such a thing.

So, off I go. In writing down the things to be done, the most obvious thing that jumps out is that somewhere on the order of 80% of the things to be done are not “what I do”. The work involved is writing sales copy, making web pages and CSS, setting up payment processors, and so on. There’s a bit of technical evaluation, a smattering of C++ to write, but there’s not a lot to that side of things.

I have absolutely no idea how to sell software, despite having been making quite a good living for the last 10 years ostensibly selling software.

It’d sure be a lot easier and more comfortable to jump back into that big ol’ rut, and write a library that does something neat, preferably in an obscure language to avoid getting too many users, and then “ship it” by pushing to github.

So going a bit deeper still: the real meta goal is to do a brain-reboot. Ctrl-Alt-Del me please, but maintain all of the good previous state information.