After I shut down my last "startup" aShop, I've been hanging in a limbo thinking of what to dedicate my life to next. All this time I've been busy working on smaller projects like briefcake, stoic, NicheSheets or contributing to open source just not to lose that "building muscle".
But today, that will change. I found my calling!
It's a TUI(Text-based User Interface) app that I call "Posh". Posh is an API Documentation Browser for developers, if you don't know what the hell that means, please follow a link to read my sales pitch.
I'm a big fan of Dash app on OSX - it is as good as it gets. But these days I'm a Linux nerd and only get to enjoy Dash on work laptop (We're required to use OSX). While working on my own laptop, I only get to wonder "why there is nothing like this for Linux?".
I know, there are numerous open-source alternatives out there, but they don't come close to level of polish and usefulness of Dash app. This has been my ongoing frustration since first day of using Linux, within these 3 years I tried everything to deal with it.
A couple of months ago, my despair reached such levels, that decision to build a prototype of app appeared. I took documentation from DevDocs and tried to build CLI around it.
I managed to get a nice documentation browser as a TUI app, with ability to read docs like a book. But for more advanced features, like search, using DevDocs documentation didn't cut it at all.
It struck me, how big of a challenge this is. It's not a side-project, this requires a lot of time and probably a full-time job.
And I chicken out...
How I sold it, without building
But now, when understanding how to build it was there... I couldn't get it out of my mind. Built smaller projects, but kept going back to Posh TUI.
It was an obsession:
- Kept talking with friends about it
- Kept researching what is possible to build
- Kept refining technical requirements
- Kept researching what competition is doing
- Started contributing to similar open source projects
How can I ensure, that this is a viable business idea, without sinking so much time to build it? Sell idea for a software and have engaged customers from the get go, as it turns out!
I opened sales on gumroad, but limited it to 20 sales. It seems like a managable group of people, where I could answer everyone and include their feedback without doing too much "customer relations".
I wanted to niche down and go after ruby developers first and rails developers second. Since:
- This is a demographic of developers I understand most ( RoR is my bread and butter for last years).
- A lot of my friends are actually using this language and framework. Good familiarity with community.
I pitched it to 4 of my friends, who I already previously talked about this idea. And 2 of them immediately bought in! That's a 50% success rate, I never expected that.
These people will have access to my private development logs, will directly influence product going forward, and will forever get all updates at no costs.