My useful secret projects and business ideas


A little note: Developers are craftsmen. They build things for a living. As a side effect, they’ll try to build a lot of things that they need or want for themselves. A handful, to an extent, dreams to run a business around what they’ve built. Most fail, not because they didn’t have enough time or it didn’t have enough features (trust me, we can build a lot of unwanted features). The main reason most fail is no one knows about the things they’ve built in the first place, and no one uses them, even themselves.

I know how most developers feel, because I’m a developer myself. This is more of a note to myself.

Developers tend to think of side projects as a way to “passive income”. In reality, there’s no such thing as true “passive income” except for “investment funds”. At some point you really have to email people, build relationships, go to a bank and sign some stuff. It’s actual work. Instead of thinking about building a way to earn “passive income”, reset your mind and think about building a “business”. It’ll end up as a “business” if you move forward with your side project. As a developer, the difference is that you just have more automation.

I have more notes to myself about this topic, but this isn’t the blog post to talk about it.


“Useful secret projects and business ideas”

This is a paradox. Obviously, business ideas aren’t useful since they’re only ideas, secret projects aren’t useful when no one’s using it. Moreover, these little apps and sideprojects will never be “finished”, because “finished” is a vague finish line unless someone uses it. Even then, it’s not “finished” if someone uses it.

I’ve decided to turn a new leaf this year. I had this in my ‘drafts’, but I’ll publish it. Being inspired by these guys, I’ve decided to open them all up for everyone.

These ideas and projects were born out of my personal frustrations and dreams that have been born after being in the software industry for 5+ years.

Just message me directly if any of you guys would desperately need any of these. If you’re interested in using some of the stuff that’s already made; we can talk it out so that I can set it up for you. Honestly, most of them have been done by other people/companies. I’ll link some of the ones that I know under each idea/project.


Developers Tools/Applications

Endpointy

Static websites need to have some semblance of functionality where people can give their email, or fill up a form. Endpointy gives you a POST endpoint for each form in your static websites, you can login and view the things being submitted. Formkeep does a great job at this.

Status: around 60-ish% done for an MVP

Softshelf

Your very own internal app store with an API for integrations in CI/git servers. Self-hosted. For companies that sell software and documents as products. A client portal where you can upload the artifact/release and your clients can download it from there. It also contains links to issue trackers, and other related stuff to the product.

Status: Need this for work, started it but on halt right now.

Aclys

An experimental attempt to make the smallest in-memory key-value database. A tiny experimental in-memory key/value store on top of Finagle.

Status: Code is in here


Finance

Pouchnote

A really small accounting system; an income and expense ledger. Write down income and expense entries like tweeting. It’s a very simple way to keep track of your incomes and expenses. Good for quickly jotting down income and expense entries without thinking excel sheet cell computations and following formats.

Status: Beta. 100% working, screenshots and code in my Github.

Quoteplate

Templated Word/PDF Documents. Let your salesmen and biz dev guys keep selling instead of worrying about keeping a document formatted. You know that one document they keep copy-pasting and they just change certain words and items in it? And they keep resending it to someone? Quoteplate was envisioned to be integrated to e-signatures, inventory, tables and contacts to make that way way easier. I worked on this with my friend Eric Wong.

Coinjobs

Job Board for the Cryptocurrency industry. Got in a little too late, since there were a lot of other job boards already popping around that time: coinality, bitgigs, bitcoinjobfair to name a few. I worked on this with my friend Ramon Tayag.

Status: coinjobs.link. Built it, contacted people and companies, traction never came. It was a nice try. Code is still good to go.

Philippine Mutual Funds API

I always wanted to compare Philippine Mutual Funds and categorize them easily. I thought of building an API endpoint for Philippine Mutual Funds, scrape data from public websites and make them available in an API.

Status: In the backburner


Storage

Filemailup

Snapchat for files. Open up your email account, and make an email, attach your files, and send your email to up@save.filemailup.com.

You would get an email reply from Filemailup with a link to a web page where you can get and share your files to people. If you wrote something in the subject and wrote something in the email, that would be displayed too. After 24 hours, that page gets deleted, because frankly you won’t need it anymore if you’re sending it by email anyway.

Status: Done in 2013. Beta stage. 100% working, code in Bitbucket, got 8 users, but barely had any activity.

Managed Data Storage for Photographers, Videographers and etc.

Need to archive some data? We’ll send you a hard drive, fill it with stuff and we’ll pick it up and store it for you. Access thumbnails, and other short snippets of the data (metadata) via cloud. Need to download a lot of your stuff? We’ll ship you back a hard drive within the day. Internet is bad in the Philippines. Either upload or set up your own NAS and manage your drives. We’ll handle the latter option.

Sometimes a person handing you a hard drive has better bandwidth and latency than sending it over the wire.


SaaS/Mobile Apps

Balikan

A simple bookmarking service that lets you make your own link aggregator out of your bookmarks. Save links into your own archive. They get scraped so even if the website goes down you have a personal copy of the web page. Organize them into reading lists. Share reading lists to your friends, family and officemates. Spotify for your bookmarks. Also worked on this with Eric.

Status: Beta stage. Got 5 users to test it. Went into a revamp after feedback, halted it because I got busy with work.

Game Knights

Minimalistic leaderboards for those who host Game Nights. Snap a photo of the winner for that nights’ game night, type in the game that he played, write a short description about how he won and how many points. Revenue model? Get game publishers to advertise. Provide “Pro accounts” for board game pubs and card game/hobby shops such as Ludo, Neutral Grounds and the like.

yrsay

Pay what you want for digital goods. Upload your song, art, software, ebook and get a link. Share that link with people, they’ll pay you in Bitcoin and they get the download. Close alternatives are: Gumroad and Plasso.co. Worked on this with Ramon Tayag as well.

Status: Ramon got it up and running, I mostly did the design. I’ll try to get this running to provide screenshots.

Simple Restaurant Reservations

Ticketbase for Restaurants (in terms of UI/UX). Instead of selling tickets, it takes reservations for restaurants.

Cyclonesign

Like Stormpulse and Riskpulse, but bringing it in the Philippines. The Philippines gets hit with over 20 storms per year, we lose a lot of money because of this. Enables companies to be at the same level of proactiveness as PAGASA and government agencies. Plot out your physical assets and routes in the Philippines using a map, set alerts for wind levels and temperature, person in-charge/cargo drivers gets SMS warnings when something reaches the threshold. B2B model.

Status: I developed large parts of this for a long time. Indexed and scraped a truckload of data from various international and national government weather sites. Wasn’t a fan of private API’s, government data for storms were more accurate.


Productivity

Report For Tasks Done: Self-hosted iDoneThis

Simple Team Performance Management in contrast of Project Management. Twitter/Dribbble like experience asking you about what you worked and what you accomplished on. You can only post once a day. Automatically builds a view of what your entire team has accomplished during a project using these tweets. Celebrate small wins and keep morale up. You can also get what you’ve accomplished during your tenure.

Minutes of the Meeting markup

I’m in the environment where I sometimes get to be faced with clients. I want to have a markup similar as Markdown, but specifically targetting the minutes of the meeting. More attention to the meeting, less attention to writing it all down and formatting it. Write Frontmatter, write it in a specified format, enter something in your command line, and it gets sent to all the contacts in the Frontmatter. Complete with actionable items and main highlights of the meeting.


Services

Uber for House Services

Have a plumbing problem? Snap a photo, make a few descriptions, select “Plumbing Service”, Service providers try to bid on it. It’s essentially a mobile application where you can easily get services for your home. Fortunately gawin.ph is a prime example of this, and I’m excited to try them out.

Creative Services Friends

Need a hip hop dance instructor? An events host? An graphic artist? A videographer? A photographer? An events coordinator? Baker? Acting coach? My group of friends offer these services. The app allows you to easily get their services. Just like ‘Uber for House Services’, but this targets creatives. The value? Curation. The app can be used to set up your own “Creative Services Group” with your friends.


And that’s it, I’ll keep updating this very same list. I’ll probably permalink this in my “about/contact” page

FAQ

Q: Hey some of these are great! Wouldn’t someone steal these? Why would you give that away?

Here are some good reads:

  1. You should be more afraid if no one wants to copy you
  2. “Idea’s are like blank books. Unless you have passion for the idea, you are not going to fill in the 400 blank pages with the details.”
  3. Idea’s are cheap, execution is worth millions
  4. “It’s a disease to think that a great idea is 90 percent of the work. The problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product” - Steve Jobs
  5. Facebook, Google+, MySpace, Friendster, Orkut all had the same idea. But execution and design is what matters.
  6. it’s been two years now, and nobody has stolen any of the ideas. It could just be that my ideas suck, but I suspect that the worry of people stealing ideas is nothing to worry about for any of us
  7. To be honest, each one of these ideas takes about 5-10 years to work on it and make it fruitful. At which point, either it stays true to the original idea throughout or evolves into something totally different. I only have one lifetime and I won’t have time to take on every one of these things.

Besides the idea of “stealing” is a “pessimists” view. Viewing this in an optimistic perspective, I may actually get in contact with people who definitely need someone to technically implement any of these ideas.