Damian Mehers' Blog Evernote and Wearable devices. All opinions my own.

26Apr/090

Got a product idea? Don’t register the domain.

Since I started programming in the early eighties I’ve dreamed of ideas for software tools, utilities and products.  I’ve followed through and created some of them, but for many I’ve not, and I think I’ve finally figured out why:  it can only be because I registered the domain name before I created the product.  Let me explain …

Having an idea for a product or web site can be enormously seductive.  We can dream away, and if we never follow through, we can never fail.  Even better we can tell others about our fantastic idea, and almost know what it would feel like if it was a success.  Almost.

But the killer is that we can research domain names.  We can spend hours trying to find exactly the right domain for our product-to-be.  The one we haven’t even started creating yet.  And finally, when we’ve got that perfect domain, we can pull out our credit card, and register it.  Then, we are done.  That’s it.  No need to do anything else.  Dreamed about the success, got the domain name, and then … well, there isn’t really any need to take it any further, is there?

This post isn’t just about the dangers of premature registration, it is also to allow me to put some of my own overly-enthusiastic registrations to rest.  So here they are.  None of them are real, except in my imagination (and of course in the domain name registration) …

  • Asknearme.com : Transient, anonymous conversations.  A GPS-enabled mobile-phone location-based service that is an anti-social networking site, where you could anonymously ask questions to anyone who happens to be close to you geographically: where are the closest toilets?  Has anyone found a green hat? 
  • Askmystreet.com : do you know everyone on your street?  Anyone?  This site was to let you get in touch with people living near you, to help build physical communities out of virtual ones.
  • tracejs.com, jsprof.com, jsprofiler.com, javascriptprofiler.com : this product idea used the JavaScript debugger API on windows to continuously break into JavaScript code running in Internet Explorer, and let you see what JavaScript code was executed, and how much time each function took.   I got close on this one.

For balance, I have got it right a few times:

  • mcefm.com – listen to Last.fm in Windows Media Center.  I’ve stopped developing it since Last.fm cracked down on the use of their APIs in some countries.
  • beebmc.com – listen to BBC Radio within Windows Media Center.  Still exists, and still quite popular.
  • j-integra.com (not mine any more) – Java-COM interoperability, initially through my Java implementation of the DCOM wire protocol.
  • promptsql.com (not mine any more) – SQL Intellisense within Query Analyzer and SQL Server Management Studio

This post is a little tongue in cheek, although there is a kernel of truth.  It is important to follow through on our ideas, and not just live on the dream.  Don’t deflate the excitement by working on the incidental.  Tackle the core first.

Stop that dreaming, and get coding.

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