Product Idea for Micro-ISV

Eric Sink’s latest column describes a series of steps to help find a good product idea for starting a micro-ISV (independent software vendor). One of the points made is to “think about problems, not technologies.”

Finding a product idea will probably require you to think exactly the opposite of the way you usually think. You need to focus on problems to be solved, not on technologies to be applied.

You are a geek. You think about technologies first. You see a cool new platform and try to think of a way to use it. You discover the Opacity property in Windows Forms and you start trying to think of ways to apply it. If you are not already using the .NET Framework, you are frustrated, because everybody else is talking about how cool it is.

You probably won’t find a good software product idea until you stop thinking so much about software. Instead, think about problems that need to be solved. Then, think about how software could be used to solve them.

Newsmap

[via Greg Linden] Mike Davidson writes about Newsmap: [It] is a visual representation of whats going on in the world as aggregated by Google News and visualized by Marcos Weskamp. It may appear confusing at first, because it is. Its clearly not smart enough to derive meaning and importance from news based on our own preferences, but its a step in the right direction. It illustrates the fluidity with which will can manipulate information on a page. It demonstrates how what will eventually be web services from Google can be displayed in the most non-Googlelike manner possible. Sure, right now Newsmap does all sorts of weird and counterproductive things to headlines like rotate them 90 degrees and squeeze them into an unreadable space, but what if this was a sane layout which metamorphosed productively as news arrived and your viewing habits were keening observed? What if, knowing Im a huge Survivor fan, Newsmap always bumped Survivor-related news above other, less relevant news? What if Newsmap wasnt a webpage at all and acted as my screensaver instead? It would be gangbusters to run Newsmap run as a screensaver and then be able to activate it by simply moving my mouse to a certain corner of the screen.”

Mike adds: “The key to our information gathering lives is all about smart aggregation. The days of media companies deciding whats on your front page are numbered. Within five years, I believe customizable newsreader technology (whether client-side like Net News Wire, or server-side like Bloglines), will be as prevalent as the web is right now. The web will still be there for viewing entire bodies of content like full stories and video, but the web will not be the notification source that this content is available. Instead, it will be simple aggregators like we have today, and then eventually, creative ones like Newsmap albeit in a much more effective form.”

Grid Wave

Computerworld has an interview with Wolfgang Gentzsch, managing director of grid computing and networking services at MCNC Inc. ComputerWorld writes: “Gentzsch says grid computing will come in three waves. The first, well under way, primarily involves the academic research community. The second, just beginning, brings in corporations as users. The third, still some years off, will add individual consumers to the grid. At that point, the Internet will be ‘the grid.'”