I'm ready for a real challenge. I've been building things for a long time now with very limited success and I've been wanting to hit the next level.
But I've been holding myself back. I've been sitting in my safe place, continuing to write and ship code in relative obscurity. On one hand, it's easy for me. And I've been exploring all sorts of really cool ideas.
On the other, I haven't proven anything. It's comfortable to hold these theories in my head and talk with them in small groups, pitch them in competitions, or whatever else I keep doing that isn't actually proving them out. Because if I try and fail, does that mean I'm wrong?
Or does it mean I'm not good enough yet?
But here's the reality: I'm good enough. I've been good enough for a long time, but I continue to train instead of actually accepting a real fight. I just keep sparring in the gym instead of stepping into the ring, where the stakes are real.
One of my major issues: I'm at a high level of abstraction still. I was a guest on a podcast this week where we discussed my idea and the host pointed out the fact that most people don't think in abstractions, they think in concrete applications. If I want my product to do anything, I've got to package it up in a real problem that people are facing and sell it to them as a solution.
But then he pointed out that I'd shared a real solution that I was working on. I'd had a chat with a realtor as part of the Customer Learning Lab that I participated in. It was a customer interview that I got because of someone else in the lab. He didn't quite understand what it was that I was offering, but had a friend who might be interested, and introduced me to this realtor.
I chatted with her for a bit and validated some of the ideas I had around discoverability: it's hard to stand out and be discovered online. And it's important to do so in her case, because most realtors don't last 2 years. And they don't last two years because they can't build up enough of a sales network in those first two years.
Most real estate sales go through referrals. That requires a big network.
But here's the most important thing: in a conversation with her, I was able to wrap my abstractions into a package that she understood and was interested in.
From Big To Small
Big picture: discoverability and establishing trust in an online environment.
Smaller picture: context-aware chatbots that live on a website
Product: a chatbot for realtors that can deliver more information about the realtor company, the properties they have listed, or other content they've created at the time the user is on the site. In addition, they can find out more about what people are looking for, answer questions about properties, create more timely content, and build stronger relationships with potential clients.
Now, this seems like a relatively good business model, but I've got to prove it.
And that leads me to the challenge: what if I can build this up enough to validate it, using Choose Your Algorithm as the basis for it, and then just sell the company after a month?
And if I can do that, I can do it more than once, right?
But I also want to make it interesting and turn it into a build in public project that can include the audience. This is an aspect of building in public that I've been thinking about that I don't think most people embrace enough: don't just share the story with your audience, include them in the story of the build.
This builds stronger relationships and can make things easier down the line. So I'm planning on a couple of different aspects that will involve people at different levels.
First of all, I'm going to play with the idea of "fixed price" vs "multiple of revenue". At the time each product is announced, I'll offer it for sale at a fixed price. Once the month is over, it will be for sale at 100x the MRR of the product. The fixed price will start at $5000 and increase by $1000 each month. So people who are paying attention and want to jump in will be able to do so early, and will be able to work alongside me for the month if they want.
Second, I'm going to sell NFTs each month that will be the basis for a community. In addition, each NFT holder will be able to purchase a company at 1/2 the listed price. The price for the NFT will start at $250, and then double until it reaches $4000, with a final increase to $5000.
Finally, instead of selling the 12th product, I'm going to give it away. I'm going to set up an "attention scoreboard". It's going to go to the person who paid attention the most and helped the entire process. As an example, there will be points awarded based on things like finding users, challenges I issue throughout the process, etc. More details coming as I develop them.
My financial goal is to make $150K from this process. That should be enough to keep things going and start accelerating the process of building, including others in the process, and building out both the product and open-source communities around the ideas.
I'm constantly torn between the idea of raising money, and just turning it into a profitable venture and letting it grow at its own rate. I'll potentially raise money at some point, but this would be a great way to validate the idea, promote the idea, and build up a little capital while doing so.
But I've also got another goal. The money would be nice, for sure. But the more important goal: force me out of my "building in silence" comfort mode that I sit in. Instead, I'm putting myself on the stage as a way to push myself to talk about what I'm doing. I want it to be a compelling story, I want it to test the boundaries of what's possible, and I want it to show people that you don't always need to follow the rules when building businesses.
Sometimes, you've got to step outside the box and see what you're truly capable of.
And that's what I'm doing: so let's see what I've got. Win or lose, I'll learn a lot about myself in the process, and hopefully kickstart things that will change the way we view the internet.