My Next Piece of Software

I just got an idea for it yesterday and I’m quite excited, although I still have some design and thought to do before I greenlight the project.  Ah, its nice being my own boss.  As opposed to Bingo Card Creator is, well, radically different in just about every way.

Its much more ambitious than Bingo Card Creator, and would probably take 2+ months of development if I go ahead and do it — likely more, as there is no possible way I can or would do the “full time job on top of a full time job” deathmarch for that long (it nearly hospitalized me the first time).  The budget is still hyper-low, since I get to reuse a lot of what I learned on (and bought for) Bingo Card Creator: I think I can do this for probably $500 for the first 6 months.

This is aimed at a much less price-sensitive customer (although its primarily B2C rather than B2B, although some of my prospects are chucking around close to $500,000), and the target user belongs to a community of 4,000 which is currently experincing a Web 2.0-type growth curve, so I’m guessing by the time I start writing there will be 10,000 prospects or thereabouts.  I’d probably start writing in January, since I’ve got a major ongoing time commitment between now and December (I’m going to get JLPT level 1 this year or perish in the attempt*).

Speaking of Web 2.0, this application screams “Make part of me a web service and charge by the month”, so I’ll probably release a couple of versions targetting various segments within the community: free forever, freemium (free trial for paid version), premium, and premium + subscription.

If course, given that I’d be scarily dependent on a third-party not totally wrecking me by either a) failing or b) radically altering their own software/business to eliminate the pains I’m going to solve, this might not exactly be a sedate experience.  Ah well, its so fun breaking out ye olde project management package (I’m a big fan of Paper v1.0) and sketching out some specs.

Maybe I’ll do this one in Visual C# .NET.  It would be great to add another skill to the list before I go back on the job market at the end of my current contract.

* Explanatory note for the peanut gallery: JLPT stands for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.  I already have a sufficient oral skill and certifications of oral skill to work pretty much anywhere I darn well please, but I’m functionally illiterate.  I can get myself around a train system, buy a cellphone, navigate Visual Studio, and understand a letter from the apartment super about the water being off on Wednesday… but a memo about the recent accounting scandal in my prefecture might as well be written in Ancient Greek.  (At least I think it was about the accounting scandal… might have been someone’s favorite cookie recipe.)  Note only do I really, really hate it when I get a memo passed around the office and actually have to look at the individual words to understand the meaning (try to recall what it was like for you reading when you were 7 and had to sound out words like “dif, diffy, difficult — what does difficult mean, Mommy?”, now try imagine doing the same as a grown professional in real time with the boss standing over your shoulder), but it will greatly increase my chances that my next job will be one I really enjoy.

Anyhow, the JLPT comes in four flavors, level 4 (“I can order a beer”) through level 1 (“I can read Kirin’s annual shareholder guidance and scoff at their inadequate protection against currency fluctuations”).  Currently, I hold the level 2 certification (“I can tell a hostess that I can’t order a beer because a hereditary condition would make that potentially fatal”
).

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