Planning A Startup

My freelance web development work has pretty much dried up. I am currently selling stuff on eBay to reduce the clutter in my house and make a little extra money. You can check out the stuff I’m selling at http://www.ebay.com/sch/rrobbins/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1 So far I have only sold four items.

So I have decided to create my own startup. I have found the perfect opportunity. Yahoo! Pipes has discontinued their very useful service. I only discovered this when I investigated why my AJAX demo pages were not working. Yahoo! did not bother to inform their users when they discontinued their service so I didn’t have a chance to save my pipes. Fortunately I was able to get all of my AJAX examples working again except for the RSS feed one.

I have tried various replacements for Yahoo! Pipes but none of them did exactly what I need or they are too expensive. This gave me the idea to create my own alternative to Yahoo! Pipes. And since I’m not supplementing my income I figured I might as well offer this as a service.

This is an excellent idea for a startup because it is well within my technical expertise. One of the big problems with some startups is that they tackle problems which they don’t know how to solve or they underestimate the technical requirements. Fortunately, I am quite familiar with web services and the technical problems which Yahoo! Pipes helped to solve. I don’t plan to be too ambitious with this startup. I will only offer this service to programmers and other technical users. I won’t have the slick consumer interface that Yahoo! Pipes had. I will also only promote this service well enough to give me enough customers to supplement my income. Too many customers could create a serious customer support problem. It could also create increased costs for the bandwidth.

Like any technical problem, creating this startup service should be approached step by step. My first step will be to create something to fix my own AJAX example for consuming a RSS feed using client side JavaScript. The next step will be to generate unique access keys for users. Then I need to limit the access rates. A database will be needed to handle all that. Then I’ll probably need a way to block IP addresses to handle abuse of the service. Finally I will need a dedicated web server to host my service. I will probably name my startup WWD Pipes.

I’m confident that my startup will be mildly successful because it is not too ambitious. It fulfills a real need and the general concept is relatively simple to implement.

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