Product ideas wanted

Joannes Vermorel’s guest post ‘3 Low-Competition Niches In Retail Software’ got quite a lot of interest. I also have various ideas for software-based products and services that I am never likely to develop due to a lack of time, money, skills or interest. I’m sure many of you reading this do as well. It seems a shame to leave all these ideas gathering dust when there is someone out there just about to waste a huge amount of energy writing the 2,133th Twitter app (and counting) due to lack of a better idea.

So I am inviting you to email in promising but neglected software-based product and service ideas so that I can publish the best ones here. Maybe it is a tool you would like to use or something that you think might be a good business but, either way, you are never going to implement it. They can be ideas for: enterprise SAAS, Windows programming libraries, iPad games, development tools  – anything with a significant software component. It doesn’t have to be a radically new idea, it could be just a significantly different take on an existing idea. Hopefully some budding entrepreneurs will pick up some of these ideas and run with them. Note: By sending me your idea you are giving me permission to put it into the public domain for anyone to see.

Please email them to me at andy at oryxdigital at com with the subject line “product idea” by 12-Sep-11. They should be in plain text and conform to the following basic template:

——————————————————————————

Title:
A one sentence description of product.

Description:
A longer description of the product. Ideally 1 or 2 paragraphs.

Customer:
Who you think the typical customer would be.

Price point:
What you think the software would sell for.

Platform:
Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, web etc.

Competitors:
Closest competitors (URLs ideally).

Differentiation:
How your idea is different to the competitors.

Challenges:
Any particular challenges in creating or marketing this product.

Commercial potential:
What commercial potential does this product have? How many people do you think it could sustain full time?

Why not you?:
If it is such as great idea, why haven’t you created it?

Market research:
How much market research you have done. ‘None’ is an acceptable answer.

Contact:
(optional) Your contact details, if anyone wants to discuss the idea further. Can be an email, hyperlink, twitter account etc. It is also fine if you want to use a pseudonym or be anonymous.

——————————————————————————

For example:

Title:
Qt GUI checker.

Description:
Every time I create a new Windows using the Qt application framework I have to manually check all the controls have:

  • tooltips
  • non-conflicting keyboard shortcuts
  • the correct left-right and top-to-bottom tab order
  • correctly capitalised text
  • etc

It is quite tedious when you do a lot of GUI development.

Customer:
Qt developers.

Price point:
I’d pay $30.

Platform:
Windows, Mac, Linux and other Qt platforms.

Competitors:
None that I know of.

Differentiation:
QtDesigner lets you do these tasks manually, but I don’t know of any software that can do this automatically.

Challenges:
I don’t think it would be that difficult. You just need to parse the XML in a .ui file and present the results in a legible form.

Commercial potential:
Limited. Only of interest to Qt developers. Many people are using Qt for free, and people using free tools generally don’t like to pay for add-ons. It might make a good student or open source project though.

Why not you?:
I’ve got too much else on my plate! Also I am not convinced about the commercial potential.

Market research:
No formal research, but I’ve been using Qt for over 10 years.

Contact:
http://www.successfulsoftware.net .

14 thoughts on “Product ideas wanted

  1. configurator

    It can’t be that easy? I’ve been looking for good ideas for years, and I’ve only come by a couple that actually sounded like they even have a chance of being profitable.

    1. Andy Brice Post author

      There are thousands of profitable software businesses out there and they all started with an idea. I’m not saying its easy though, even with a good idea. And how do you know it’s a good idea until you start asking for money?

    2. Joannes Vermorel

      IMHO, good software ideas come by the truckload. After 4 decades, the software industry is still only scratching the surface of its potential. All it takes is to start emphasizing with other’s people pain. Most developers can’t see past their own very narrow problems, but there is nothing that prevent you to look beyond. :-)

  2. Nicholas Hebb

    Title: [insert UI framework] Demo Generator.

    Description:

    Instead of creating a demo by recording your actions, this toolkit would allow developers to script a demo mode function into their UI. This would eliminate a lot of the little nuisances when creating demos, such as erratic mouse movements, typos, dwell time, showing/hiding the mouse, modifying the demo after product updates. Plus, it could be a deployable component to act as a help feature.

    1. Oleg

      There are plenty of Windows scripting software + any screen recording software will do the job. Good idea if you already have screen recording software package. You could implement it as additional option.

  3. Dmitri

    I don’t think you’ll find many people (read ‘anyone’) willing to share product ideas with you. It’s like asking people to share their diamonds.

    1. Andy Brice Post author

      I’ve got more ideas than I will ever be able to do anything with, so I am happy to share some of them. Joannes Vermorel was happy to share some of his. But maybe we aren’t typical.

      1. Oleg

        Probably Joannes was happy because of simple fact: to implement his ideas person has to have significant domain knowledge. Though I may not 100% right here. There are so many good ideas but without the domain knowledge they are useless. Sometimes nobody wants to be first at market because it is hard to estimate the amount of potential clients and money. I also doubt he shared them If he new for sure they are profitable. I must admit you were quite brave to step in the area of unknown at time you started your software development. It is much easier to copy working app or business. Adding your vision or unique feature might be enough for success even if market is very crowded.

        1. Andy Brice Post author

          >It is much easier to copy working app or business.

          Possibly. It doesn’t strike me as a very interesting or fulfilling way to make a living though.

  4. Alen Dombaj

    I guess that my PE protector idea will be quite useless to the potential developer because it would take quite a while to explain the details and answer the questions. Also, it would take a great developer with great knowledge on PE formats produced by different compilers and a lot of resources to do the job correctly.
    It looks like an ideal idea to share. :-)
    I’ll send it to you as soon as I find the time to write it all down.

  5. Alf

    I’ve always been an ideas person. I have many commercial worthy software and non-software product ideas. I’m a software developer with no time to develop them (I work very slowly through the list as marketing/sales/support/enhancement of existing products chews a lot of time). I have evaluated at least 20 software product ideas in 12 criteria (in broader categories Cost, Revenue and Other) and in some cases carefully named and registered domains.

    I’ve been holding the ideas close to my chest and the list keeps growing. I’d give them up in a heartbeat if I could get some small financial benefit such as 5% of sales under agreement with a set time to bring to market (so the idea can be given to someone else if it isn’t developed). The road-block is finding a medium that attracts enough interest to sign an NDA without giving up the idea publicly.

    The alternative is to fund and outsourcing development but that involves disclosure too, losing a lead advantage and consumes some time.

  6. Alan

    Self-promotional plug:

    I can’t code my way out of a wet paper bag but market research, SEO and sales copy are my strong points.

    If you’re not sure about selling and that kind of thing then I’m more than happy to sign an NDA and work on a partnership basis with the right person.

    What makes a right person? Hard to say, someone I “gel with” and no large companies :)

    Normally I work on a fixed-fee basis ($1500 or so) per project, though I enjoy it that’s starting to feel a bit like a hamster wheel lately…

    Alf, you should ask for at least 10%. :)

    Alan

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