I am keen to develop a "lightweight" service or product that can be quickly created and delivered to market.
The primary goal is to build a business that can be helpful to a solo or co-founder as an ongoing income stream. Speed to market is key, not so much the size of the opportunity. The idea is to have a service launched in 48 hours (amazing) or one week of work. I am still interested in businesses that take a month or more to develop, but that is not the direct focus here. If I'm not successful in obtaining an income stream, the secondary benefit is to develop the skills to quickly assess ideas and deliver services or products to market.
Much of the inspiration for the approach comes from Indie Hackers and the awesome businesses there.
In light of the above, I was inspired to map out an idea for a service to help people make better decisions related to the weather.
While I believe the idea is solid, in my initial research I discovered:
- an existing app covers off the idea in full (Dark Sky); and
- there is a significant amount of work to build the service.
What follows is my outline of the service I imagine.
Weather Beacon provides users with a notification service in advance of weather systems.
- backcountry skiers and snowboarders
- bikers etc.
Authenticate from iPhone app with mobile phone number to server to provide your GPS location (interval options).
Server connects to weather API and notifies you when weather systems are within radius of your location (distance options).
Receive notification on your phone if weather system close by (text message option).
Free app to download with in-app subscription for advanced features.
Free features - when do I leave work user:
- notification if weather close-by (10 km away)
- update location every 4 hours
- notification via phone only (no backcountry usage)
Paid features - backcountry user:
- set distance for notification (10, 20 or 50 kms)
- set location update interval (15 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour or 4 hours)
- text message service (backcountry usage)
$1 per month or $5 annual fee.
Phase One - validate market and business model
Customer development interviews:
- resort skiers
- backcountry skiers
Would this be useful? Would it be valuable enough to pay $5 for?
Phase Two - develop and test critical technology
GPS and weather system interplay.
- do you actually receive a useful notification, or is too inaccurate?
- how can weather data be obtained and mapped to location?
- test without building iPhone app using hard-coded location
Phase Three - develop remainder of service
- signup and authentication
- Core Location update of GPS coordiates or iPhone location
- Notification Center notification of approaching weather system
- in-app subscription purchases
- settings for upgrade path: location update interval option, weather distance option
- user database and signup and authenticate endpoints
- user settings and payments database and update endpoints
- user location database, update user location endpoints
- weather API polling service
- push approaching weather to iPhone
- Twilio text message service
Phase 4 - launch app
Press in ski industry
What weather API, and what type of storms, or weather information.
Can real-time location-based weather information actually be sourced, to match up with iPhone location?
How can either radar or satellite information be used, if at all?