Day 13: Early Proof of Concept

Finally I got a chance to do some programming!  I have worked the kinks out of my incredibly edibly basic early proof of concept of the widget functionality and have incorporated it into the live Bingo Card Creator site. 

You can see the distribution of the proof-of-concept widget at my most popular bingo cards page and the actual widget itself displayed on my stripped-down mock-up page.  Before you click there, let me warn you: it is boring as all heck.  I would like to say that is because I wanted cross-website compatibility, but mainly it is because I am not meeting Keith (my good friend and the CSS guy who will be assisting me a bit this month) until tomorrow and, independently, I have the artistic ability of paint.  Not MSPaint, no, just paint.

I also took out the embedded viral distribution for the proof of concept because a) its late and b) I’m lazy.

Hopefully this shows off why a small businessman would want to pay for this functionality.  Imagine that spread over a few dozen teacher blogs — it propagates itself, for no marginal cost whatsoever, spreads the content I spent so much time and money creating, and gets me new visitors and eventually customers at a bare fraction of the cost of CPC advertising… all the while allowing me to deepen my relationship with my core followers by giving them free stuff that they like.  That is a win-win-win. 

Now if I can just generalize it and make it possible to do without a few hours of Rails programming, I can start printing money hats.  Small, modest money hats to start with. 

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6 Comments on “Day 13: Early Proof of Concept”

  1. Sohail Says:

    I think it does show that quite nicely. You’ve gotta make it REALLY REALLY easy to use though.


  2. “Before you click there, let me warn you: it is boring as all heck.” You’re really very wrong about that – it’s very exciting! In fact your “boring” example is a lot more exciting than your initial description, which (rightly or wrongly) made me think of it as a Web 2.0 Shiny Button Thing. Now I’ve seen that it can carry unexciting *but useful* (as opposed to shiny but useless) content, I can start to see its real value.

    Now I need to figure out how I can apply it to any of my stuff. 🙂

    And Sohail’s right. I’d be interested to know how much work “Patrick with his Bingo Card Hat On” had to do in order to make “Patrick with his Widget Hat On”‘s widget work with his content.

  3. Patrick Says:

    This time, it was actually quite a bit of work for Bingo Hat. Once the product gets released, this example will be as simple as “type in the URL of the page whose list you want me to scrape” -> “Did you mean the list … ?” -> “Pick a template for display of this information” -> “Right now your widget looks like this. That sound right to you?” -> “Here is the code!”

  4. ColinM Says:

    You could probably have a nice little version wrapped up inside a wordpress plugin, as they are easy-peasy to install. But again it’s the getting data into the widget in the first place that I think will prove the challenge. Interesting scraping idea though.


  5. It’s that “Did you mean the list … ?” that makes me a bit skeptical. I’ve done a fair bit of web page parsing and spidering, and generically-applicable code to scrape content out of arbitrary web pages is hard. Especially when your users really really don’t want to learn XPath. 🙂

    I think the “Did you mean the list … ?” step is the proverbial step before “Profit” for this product.


  6. Hi Patrick – I saw this on Ajaxian and thought of you (or at least, of Widget Bakery 😎 http://ajaxian.com/archives/yql-converting-the-web-to-json-with-mock-sql

    Sounds like a technology that could make your life easier.


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