Yesterday I stumbled across “Getting Real”, a book from 37Signals, the creators of Basecamp and other small business software. You can read it online here. Its a great book, very simple and to the point and goes along very well with the presentation I put on my blog on Start-ups that rely on advertising models only will die, also by one of the guys from 37Signals.
Its got myself and my business partners thinking seriously about the software-as-a-service business model for small businesses, or as 37Signals puts it – the Fortune 5,000,000! The fact is there’s a lot of players in this space, but most of them are targeted at the US or western market. Now I don’t think we’d start going to developing markets initially (and on the web you potentially target any market that’s interested in your product!) but what it means is we’re only just seeing the tip of the iceberg of things to come over the next few years! There are a lot of competitors moving in, notably Google, Microsoft & the original pioneer of this space, Salesforce.com, but in a huge market, there’s always space for newcomers, and the signs are all coming together to make it even easier for a new start-up to enter the market – good quality open source software like Alfresco to build new applications on, UI frameworks like Google Web Toolkit that allow you to rapidly build dynamic AJAX interfaces, and cloud computing infrastructure from Amazon web services, or a new one which looks far more user friendly, GoGrid.com. The book from 37Signals just tops the cake with a clear path on how to just get out there and do it!
None of this is revolutionary, most of this has been out there for a while and I’ve been thinking along these lines for the past month while trying to come up with a business idea, but reading the book just made things clearer. Take a look at the book yourself and it may inspire you too! As for our business idea, its too early to discuss it in this post, but I will be formally announcing our new company and product in the next couple of weeks. Watch this space!
Note: I will still be doing freelance consulting on the side so please feel free to contact me if you need my services!