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Wesley Harris
Wesley Harris

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Feedback on startup ideas

Hey all! Me and my business partner are throwing around ideas for a startup. We've come up with the following (links are to landing pages which explain the concept a little better):

2 & 4 are related, yes. We're trying to see if there's any interest in any of these ideas. Your feedback would be great! Would you use any of these if they existed?

We also put together a survey if you like that sort of thing :)

Thank you so much for your time! Really appreciate it! If any of these turn into a reality, we'd love to give back by offering discounts/free periods/etc.

Top comments (3)

ssimontis profile image
Scott Simontis • Edited

You're going to need a large dataset to build a predictive model...I still believe some things in development cannot be estimated accurately at all, so you'll need to become very adept at spotting those red flags. Honestly, you'll probably end up consulting and leading team seminars on requirements gathering everywhere you go. I have not worked at many places where requirements were thorough or consistent.

1 just seems dangerous if the wrong thing gets sent to the wrong person. Especially with GDPR I wouldn't want to touch that one with a ten foot pole. It feels like a band-aid over a .30-06 wound. Companies should be using knowledge management systems that are actually useful in the first place. There's no one tool to rule them all (trust me, I've been looking for years) and with the pace of technology advancements, many things become outdated and irrelevant and suddenly no one is using the system because the search results suck.

The knowledge people forget to capture is people and relationships. Remembering what company cultures are like, so your contractor doesn't get kicked off the job on day one at Coke's HQ for bringing a Pepsi into work (totally unintentional, absent-minded gesture, they were not amused). Observations on leadership hierarchies and politics with your client that you need to keep an eye on if you still want a project sponsor in six months.

I think there's also a risk of companies weaponizing this information and totally missing the point of your service. Instead of trying to improve estimation times to improve scheduling and lower stress, they're going to use it to push people to their limits and walk away learning nothing but a formula to penalize the people who unfortunately weren't the best at estimating the handful of tasks you observed them estimate while engaged.

wesmharris profile image
Wesley Harris

Thanks for the detailed & considered response!

Do you mean a knowledge system like Confluence or a Wiki? What have you used before? What didn't you like?

It's certainly a challenge to get people to document what they know, maintain it, and then to get people to actually read it. Do you think that a slight change of the 1st idea to automatically pull out people's discussions into the company knowledge system would work? Being an internal system, perhaps GDPR is less of a concern.

weaponizing this information

It's always a company culture issue around estimates becoming deadlines. We've been speaking to a lot of agencies lately where estimates are done early, quickly and, while they have big consequences, are usually semi-fluid (or at least the scope is). Improving estimates here could lead to more profit for the agency as we want to avoid under-estimating (over estimating is far more tolerable).

ssimontis profile image
Scott Simontis

I've tried setting up wikis, but setting them up can be too much of a hassle for personal knowledge. For some software I am writing with a group of friends, I experimented with setting a wiki up in Documize for us, but it has not been as widely used as I wanted it to. There's a lot of external documentation we need to organize, and it isn't helping us with that. Ideally, we would go through and extract knowledge from all those files, but one only has so much time...

I use Bear on OS X for my PIM system right now. I like its tagging functionality and overall its just a very pleasant editor to use. I'm working on setting up my own website to store/share knowledge as well.

Internal is better, but you'll see different silos/hierarchies of knowledge at different companies. In some companies, communicating openly with another department about certain things amounts to treason. There's some things senior management needs to know that staff don't and depending on your beliefs, some of that knowledge should not be transferred. You would need to be able to tweak the barriers for each company you work with.

You've brought up a lot of interesting things to think about. I think figuring out the value of knowledge would be huge. Are 80% of the devs googling how to rebase every week? It's probably time for some training sessions. What files do people access the most? What are the most common helpdesk tickets? Find deficiencies, and eliminate them. Make the underlying more accessible, and figure out why that knowledge couldn't proliferate on its own. Rinse and repeat.