Randy Morin, here in Canada, has an created an interesting application called Rmail which helps bloggers and blog readers by giving readers an easy way to get feeds into their email. Readers can just hit Randy's web site, type in the feed and an email address, while bloggers can put some code on their blog page to allow people to sign up.
Reading Randy’s About page, you can get a sense of what Randy is trying to do and a bit about Randy. You’ll find out that Randy has 20,000 users and he is cranking along solving a problem/providing a solution for a fairly nice chunk of people.
You might enjoy such entries as Japanese War Tubas.
A lot of people will probably conclude this isn’t a business. I’d like to offer up a view on this point since Randy does have a goal of making a stand alone business.
First, Randy did a reasonably smart thing; he didn’t quit his day job.
Second. It took a year for this to get to 20,000 people with basically word of mouth, word of blog ‘advertising.’ This, I believe is key because this is normal. You have a nice steady up tick. You can assume Mike Arrington and TechCrunch are busy and won’t notice when you launch your product or service. You can assume Microsoft is not likely to buy your product. Plan for steady progress in the absence of the exceptions.
Third. 20,000 people might present you an ah hah(!) moment. One of those 20,000 people might email Randy and say, I sure wish I could do X or your product could do W. And from that springs the killer app/feature/service that does interrupt Mike’s day and has Ray Ozzie looking for Randy’s email address.
My point, of course, is my continuing theme of “just code something”, go solve a problem because you never know.
So rather than dumping on Randy’s app as me too, feature light, not a real business, or any of the normal nonsense that tends to spring forth out here in blog-o-land, I offer up Commander Morin as an inspiration for everybody else: Just go do it and help 20,000 of your closest friends; you never know.
Enjoy the weekend, everybody.