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Fast Lane Plan: Internet Business

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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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Toledo, OH
This idea is still in its infancy, but wanted to post it since I have enjoyed following the progress of other fast lane plans (maybe this is better in the internet business subforum).

The business is essentially a platform (hope that is the right word) in which people load their information to help them process scientific data more effeciently.

The problem at the moment is that there a number of programs that do not 'flow' together in the sense that you have use intermediate programs to change the format.

As a hypothetical example, (unsure if this actually a problem) of if you have an open office spreadsheet on linux then want to open in excel from windows, you may need another conversion program.

The platform solves this problem by having the user select the programs that they want to use in the appropiate order then runs (our platform loads all the information into all the intermediate programs saving a lot of headache).

I have already drawn up the layout and am having a friend create the website. He just told me today that is going to be java based. I do not have the money to straight hire someone has an employee. I bring the idea, knowledge of how the programs link together and the ability to test the platform. In addition, the motivation is in the right spot for both of us.

We have not ironed out the business component so was wanting some feedback. He already has a LLC set up so I would be joining that if this pans out. I would also be interested in what you think would be the best way to generate revenue.

My thoughts have been in order:
1) charge a yearly fee for access to the program
2) have a beta version free then pay for the full version
3) totally free and try to make money from advertising on the webpage
4) sell the program to the user
Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Mr. Pink
 

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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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Toledo, OH
I have summerized all the different program inputs so that the user only has to enter their information once (instead of multiple times). Next step is going to have a version of the new interface, but without any sort of function to ensure the lay out is good.

Mr. Pink
 

son_of_slim_jim

New Contributor
Mar 11, 2008
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Sounds like a good idea to me, but i have one question. If you do the beta is free and pay for full program, what will keep them from just using the beta?

Ideas:
1. Have a limited # of uses
2. Make it a time limit thing.(I don't know if you could do this, but it might be worthing looking into)

SOSJ
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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35
Toledo, OH
I was thinking along the lines of a time limit.

The development still has a way to go, but would like feedback on the initial version so users that are willing to try it out - could then use it for free for awhile (60 days).

Mr. Pink
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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35
Toledo, OH
I am still thinking about what is the best way to create cash flow. I was curious if anyone out there knows the rates for advertising (sorry if this has been stated else where).

If a site gets 100 verse 1000 verse 5000 unique visitors per a day, what sort of rate could one get from businesses advertising on that site?

I am using this to help decide whether or not the program should be free and go for advertising revenue. Thanks,

Mr. Pink
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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35
Toledo, OH
I just got an email from the person who is programming the page stating that they didn't have time to work on the project until 'later'.

I am following up with an email in hopes of getting a better idea of what sort of time line they had in mind.

I feel a little stuck since I don't want to hire someone and would rather find a partner in the sense that they would be more motivated to get things done.

I will wait to hear a reply, but this could be turning point. Do I try to learn to program java on my own or start looking for someone else?

Mr. Pink
 

wildambitions

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 29, 2007
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Don't wait for a programmer. Don't wait, just do it. Do you due diligence but keep moving forward.

Be sure to protect your ideas (intellectual property, disclosure agreements, etc.).

You may also want to try www.getafreelancer.com to find a programmer that might be able to help you NOW and at a price that may be prudent.
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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35
Toledo, OH
Is there a good resource for protecting intellectual property and attaining discloser agreements?

I would rather split the profits with someone than just hire it out, but this could be unwise.

The two reasons are money to hire someone and the motivation of the other person to get it done right. I feel that if they have a direct stack in it then maybe they would more motivated. I maybe operating under the false assumption that I can't hire an employee that is not motivated. Thanks for the feedback.

Mr. Pink
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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Toledo, OH
I heard back from the programmer. I really wanted the interface designed (no actual function) by May, which has been deemed possible. I am going to visit the programmer in May so that I can explain how the program should function since it requires quite a bit of background.

Mr. Pink
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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Toledo, OH
I have confirmed that the design should be done in May. I have a meeting planned out in mid-may (to view the design) and more importantly show the programmer how the program should function.
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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Toledo, OH
I was able to meet with the programmer and knockout a lot of ideas. He thought the idea was promising and also brought in a designer to help with development.

It seems the programming end will not be as hard as originally thought which hopefully will lead to faster development (if we can use the existing programs). We sketched up the lay out and wrote out in detail two program updates that will greatly improve upon the existing software.

Issues:
We are currently using open source programs that ideally will run within our program. We need to get permission to put those programs within ours. My worry is that the developers won't release the program or charge a very high fee for usage/distribution.

Finally, as we progress we need to look into protecting the idea so once it is release it is just not copied freely.

Does anyone have any experience using open source software developed by another party?
Should I continue updating this thread? Hehehe.
 

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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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35
Toledo, OH
Expand?

The program development is moving along, but am considering expanding the idea.

The expansion would be into starting a website that not only has this computer program, which is in development, but a location that people can get other programs (I know of a couple that have not been released and would be helpful) and communicate (forum).

My worry is that by expanding, I will lose focus and not work on the program development - in contrast I am unsure if I can get permission to use the open source software from other companies, which in turn would make my computer program a 'waste' of time. Thoughts?

Mr. Pink
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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35
Toledo, OH
The programmer lost his normal 9-5 job so has had to put the project on the back burner. I have been working on developing contacts to bring together multiple programs when the site is launched.
 

psynapse

Contributor
May 19, 2008
62
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Los Angeles, California
There are definitely companies modifying open source and using it for commercial gain. One example is vTigerCRM, which utilizes SugarCRM's open source code.
 

Mrs. BRKb

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Mr. Pink, thank you for sharing this adventure
with us.

It reads like a novel. The reader is left wondering
what will happen next.
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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Toledo, OH
Thanks for taking the time to drop me a line. I have been wondering if anyone has been interested in this thread.

The programmer has still not found a job and I have started thinking about getting someone new. I am thinking by the end of July having the initial release ready (which would have been six months since we initially talked). I have to admit this has been a great learning process!

Interesting to know others have had success in this area, psynapse, thanks.
 

ricerocket63

New Contributor
Jan 31, 2008
15
5
27
Belmont, MA
I was just reading your thread, and had some thoughts..

On your project:
I am not clear on the project, but sounds like your offering Data Conversion Services, based on your example given.

Are you targeting B2B or B2C, that would impact your packaging/service pricing etc. I believe B2C would be a lot of 1 time users, eg: "Hey, someone emailed me a pdf, can you convert to doc format?" I could be misunderstanding your concept though, just something to keep in mind.

On Open Source:
You don't have to ask permission to use Open Source software, however, you DO have to abide by the license that is supplied with a particular
piece of software and how you use it and/or distribute it, or modify and redistribute it. Any open source software will have a copy of the license for you to review the terms of use.

Many companies are using Open Source software, like Google, yahoo, etc, that make a lot of money with it, so it can be done.

Good Luck!
B...
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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Toledo, OH
I have been somewhat vague about the function of the program due to having a hard time getting going (as you can read above). The service would be B2C and would be a lot of 1 time uses, but very helpful. To use your example:

If you had something emailed to you as a pdf and you want it as a word doc.

Currently, you can easily convert from a pdf to a word doc in one step, but imagine if you had to do many conversions between each such as

pdf -> open office -> claris works -> word doc
(this example shows a number of unneeded steps that waste time)

I have been talking with a number of programmers about open source, but feel that before the actual release need to sit down with an attorney. Does anyone know what type of an attorney would be best?
 

EComGuy

Contributor
Jun 19, 2008
66
26
33
Expand?

The program development is moving along, but am considering expanding the idea.

The expansion would be into starting a website that not only has this computer program, which is in development, but a location that people can get other programs (I know of a couple that have not been released and would be helpful) and communicate (forum).

My worry is that by expanding, I will lose focus and not work on the program development - in contrast I am unsure if I can get permission to use the open source software from other companies, which in turn would make my computer program a 'waste' of time. Thoughts?

Mr. Pink
My answer to that question.

Beginning stage: Infrastructure

Three questions that I deem most important in e-biz infrastructure construction.

1) What is the main product of my e-biz?

Sporting Goods, Electronics, Furniture, Technology Services, etc.

2) How am I going to market this product effectively to establish a customer base?

Magazines, Word of mouth, E-advertising, Mail outs, etc.

3) How am I going to maintain the functionality of the site for the customers?

Hiring a web content manager, Independent firm, Self Managed, etc.


Elaboration on each question and their importance

1) What is the main product of my e-biz?

You have to get to the nuts and bolts of this business. Are you going to sale just one product, or are you going to sale products for one category. To try and sale multiple products, you're going to be hard pressed to beat a giant like E-bay. Try to specialize your content/products so that the customer knows that what you are doing is centralizing your product base. Know the product back and forth, and customers will fall in love with your dedication to whatever they me in the market to purchase. By doing this, you are able to focus on the new products and news relating to your category. Specialization in any category can help customers with making the decision because your business is in the know. Who wants to buy a car/bike from someone that also sales houses and office equiptment? Where is the focus of the company? What makes this customer know that if there is a problem with your product they are going to speak with a represenative that is in tune to their needs? Not much. Make them know that.
Im currently writing an Ecommerce how-to from what worked for me and my 3 companies. You can check the thread out Here and I will be constantly adding new material.

I hope this is what you were looking for.


Best,


PerryC
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
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35
Toledo, OH
Thanks for the info PerryC! +rep

I just found out that my programmer is no longer able to work on the project due to losing his normal job. I think this creates an opportunity for me to take a fresh look about the project. I have learned a lot so far and am looking forward to pushing ahead.
 

PEERless

Bronze Contributor
Jan 23, 2008
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How is this different from Adobe Acrobat Reader?
 

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fanocks2003

Banned
Mar 31, 2008
1,324
176
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Sweden
My thoughts have been in order:
1) charge a yearly fee for access to the program
2) have a beta version free then pay for the full version
3) totally free and try to make money from advertising on the webpage
4) sell the program to the user
Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Revenue model number 1 would be my number one choice. You can then easilly show the concept from a branding standpoint. You can have people signing up for 12 months and you will have reccuring revenue during 1 year. Then you find ways of getting the same people to sign up for another 12 months etc.

That kind of revenue model would have me sign up as an investor. Because then I can see that this concept has credibility. The next step would be the management, but just the brand promise would make me interested.

Renting the program is much better than selling it right of the bat (my view).
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
29
35
Toledo, OH
Alright, I have started a different approach with this project since losing the computer programmer.

I decided to start a blog about the topic which is crystallography. I guess I don't have to worry about having a niche blog :)

My hope is that if I can generate interest in the blog then I will already have an audience to promote software in the future. Finally, I will be happy if the blog becomes self sufficient and ideally hit 100/month in 6 months. This is my first attempt at a blog so have been learning a lot, let me know your thoughts (other than needing more posts, hehe).

Macromolecule crystallography is used to determine the structure of proteins which is useful in understanding biochemical reactions. For example, pharmaceutical companies need to know the 3D structure of proteins if they want to inhibit (stop) a reaction from occurring.
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
29
35
Toledo, OH
So the blog has been up for about a month and so far have 14 posts and 330 views. Andrew's blog is crushing mine, hehe. Anyway, the american crystallography assocation has about 2000 members so my audience is pretty targeted.

I ended up getting a couple views from people on here - thanks for checking out the site even though it probably didn't make much sense. I did however decide to make a post that is actually fast lane relative. I will keep you posted as the blog progresses.
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
29
35
Toledo, OH
I have been reading about various ways to promote a blog. I have mostly been using this link that was kindly posted by another member on this forum then reading.

I have been trying to post on a number of related forums and websites. Well, last night I ended up posting one reply a bulletin board with a link to my blog in sig. and bingo (check out the jpeg).

If you can't see the image

I posted a couple days ago stating that I had a total of about 330 in 30 days. Well, today just did 291 views so goes to show to stick with things. I have no illusion of any of my articles getting on digg since they are so specialized, but who knows :)
 
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MrPink

Contributor
Feb 26, 2008
443
29
35
Toledo, OH
Thanks for the support LightHouse!

I haven't ever really told biophase this, but he has been a real inspiration for looking into generating revenue from online.

just a month ago it was an idea and now it is in action.

My blog made the front page of one of the major software programs in my field, which was cool.

I find it amazing how rapidly my perspective changes:
one day - 30 views is a lot
another - 300 views is a lot

I will put a couple more posts then work on adding adsense.

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask...
 

kwerner

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I haven't ever really told biophase this, but he has been a real inspiration for looking into generating revenue from online.

Ditto.


Good luck on your progress Mr. Pink.
 

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