A project in the works

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a personal software project to work on. Today I’d like to share how I’m slowly rectifying that to move towards a project that I’ll enjoy working on in my spare time.

In the previous post I mentioned that I have difficulty sticking with one project for long enough to finish it. That was certainly a problem with the previous software project I worked on, called TickTickDone. As a response to that, I’ve been leaning towards blogging as an alternative outlet. Since a blog post doesn’t take very long to write, I could easily blog about one topic as long as it interests me, then switch topics when a new interest comes along.

That idea seems great at first glance, until you consider where my skills lie. I’ve been interested (some would say obsessed) with computers since I was 7, and I’ve been programming for about the same period of time (16 years and counting). In contrast, I never liked English in school and was never a particularly good writer. Maybe you disagree? You are reading this… or maybe you don’t. Either way, I’m far more skilled at expressing myself through code than with words.

The second thing that I considered was that maybe my fluctuating desire wasn’t itself a problem. Maybe I was just bad at choosing ideas? If my idea wasn’t worth pursuing for more than a few weeks, then my intuition would let me know through my waning interest. So today I asked myself the question “What are the characteristics of an idea that I could commit to developing?”. I came up with a bunch of ideas, but here are the essential ones:

  • It should address the most important need that I can identify in the world.
  • No one else would be as perfectly suited to doing it as I am.
  • There is a large enough market to make the idea worth pursuing.

Those sounded great, until I tried to come up with an idea that fit them. Nothing. I’m still holding out for an amazing idea to fall from the sky and enlighten me, but right now I think an incremental approach might be easier to apply, and a bit more trustworthy too.

I’d been looking at this as a venture that would make money, which was a big leap since I haven’t made a significant amount of money over the internet yet. At this point I loosened my grip and tried looking at this undertaking as an extension of a hobby instead of as a business that HAD to make money. I asked: “What would be fun and interesting to do next?”

The answer to that question was a little different. It was to “solve small, fun and interesting problems, and share the solutions with people”. In particular, I plan to give MissionMap and ComicHub a quick facelift and practice getting the word out to people who would enjoy using them. That will be great because I could really use the practice in marketing and promotion.

So that’s a summary of my train of thought. I’ll work on some small projects, build my skills where they’re lacking and gradually move on to bigger and more impactful projects, all the while keeping it fun and interesting. Stay tuned!

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