I read somewhere that having a good idea for a business is like finding your sneakers before running a marathon. I’m convinced that focusing on coming up with an awesome business idea is a waste of time. In other words, it isn’t the quality of the idea that separates successful entrepeneurs from all the failures out there. If you can learn to program, you’re smart enough to come up with an idea for a web application that is good enough. The hard part is building the prototype, selling it, training your customers, adding new employees, etc.
Anyhow, since I don’t believe ideas are all that precious, I’m sharing a few side projects I’m thinking about. Feel free to take them. In fact, I’d be flattered.
Just to be clear, these ideas are released into the public domain. When I have some free time I may do a few of these.
Idea 1: make something that helps teachers keep track of grades over the semester
I don’t mean some elaborate tool like blackboard. I mean something that tracks attendance and grades. And maybe a few other things, but not much more. I’ve been teaching for about four semesters now, and it’s a big hassle to keep track of this mundane stuff.
Idea 2: Graphical cash flow / burn rate projection tool
At work, I have to deal with scenarios like paying an extra 10% for some outsourcers to finish a product release that then might lead to increased sales. I want to be able quickly see effects of lots different possible rates of return.
At home, I wonder about stuff like paying an extra $100 toward the mortgage versus putting the same money to the car note.
I want to be able to enter in stuff like recurring payments, starting balances, interest rates, etc, and then see some pretty charts that show the results.
Last idea: workout tracker
I have a hard time remembering workouts. I know I could carry around a notebook, but that’s no fun. I would prefer that after each set, or when I want to take a break, I could send in a text from my phone to some shortcode. The message would have some details of part of my workout, maybe using some shorthand like:
dbp 12 120
meaning that I did twelve reps of dumbbell bench presses with one hundred and twenty pounds.
Then, at the next workout session, I could send in a text message and the system would figure out what I should do.
The system might adjust up weights by 3% for example, or make sure I vary exercises.
There could very easily be some facebook extension that brags to my friends with the details of my workout.