It’s not hard to find a story about a geek who made a website and a year later is a high-tech millionaire. You might even be thinking “yeah, I’ve got an idea that’s a least half that good”. Here’s the rub: you’re not a coder. You’re not web developer or java programmer, and don’t know a thing about running web services.
If you’re just a regular Jane, you might be thinking: “OK, I’m good at managing projects but I’m not a coder or a web developer”. If you’re Guy Kawasaki, you already know what to do. Guy started Truemors on a sum of money he describes as “credit card debt”. If you have any inclination toward entrepreneurship, I highly recommend reading about it on his blog (also found on the Running With It blogroll). The specific entry is here.
I was having dinner with a “Regular Jane” a couple days ago. She has an idea worth looking into and had some questions about what was possible as far as connecting the web and SMS messages. Since my job involves the frontier between the internet and the phone I was in a pretty good place to answer her questions. (She asked about how one would generate SMS messages to a mobile phone from a web-based application. The short answer is to use an SMS gateway provider, which you can throw into Google or read the wikipedia article about it.) I also told her about a blog entry by someone who is not a web developer built a Web 2.0 company in short order.
Giving a friend regurgitated advice from the web isn’t so hard. In fact I have not much in qualifications other than what I’ve read in blogs and books (to be fair, this is not a trivial body of work). In the interest of gaining empirical knowledge of the kinds ideas I think are good, I just opened a research project on Elance (sounds like freelance). Elance is a site that aggregates freelancers from around the world to bid on your project. It can be anything from customer service, web design, application development, or in my case, research. I have an angle on a traditional business that I think might be worth my time to persue. I need to determine what the start up costs to get in are. If it’s on the scale of a ten year old car, I’m in. If its on the scale of a luxury car, I’m out. I’ll let you know if a couple of weeks when the research is done.