It's Time to Get Scrappy

It's Time to Get Scrappy

Two of my entrepreneurial heros have given me some advice. Gary Vaynernchuk said at Big Omaha that it’s time to get scrappy. Do it what it takes. Jason Fried advised entrepreneurs to sell their by products in the book Rework. So, I’m listening to the both of them.

About four years ago, I was working with incredibly large CSV files. Some of them were as big as 64 GB! At times I needed to sort them to make my analysis a bit quicker. I needed to sort them by date, IP address, number, etc. So, I did what any good software hacker would do, I wrote a simple tool to do this.

I haven’t had much of a need for it lately, but after thinking a bit about Gary and Jason’s advice, I figured it made sense to find out if anyone else had this need. Plus, I had a \$100 coupon for AdWords… so it made sense to give it a shot.

Here’s what I needed to do:\ 1) Register a domain.\ 2) Setup a simple website.\ 3) Create the AdWords campaign.

I registered from Namecheap. I’ve been using Namecheap for about three years now and love their service. They are a bit more expensive than GoDaddy, but their service is so much better! I then grabbed a template and modified it to my liking. I wasn’t sure how I would solicit feedback though on the website. I just wanted someone to be able to enter in their email address and maybe a bit about problems they face when dealing with CSVs. I knew about Wufoo, but I didn’t want to pay for a service that I might not be using indefinitely. That’s when I remembered Google Forms. Google Forms is one of the most underrated utilities in Google Docs! You can create a survey/form and embed it on your website; when you get a response, it autoupdates a Google Spreadsheet! Very cool! I then created the AdWords campaign - I was set!

I didn’t post the actual product on the website, as I’m not sure there will be much demand. To get the product in a commercial state will take a bit more work. I’ll have to create an install package and some simple registration mechanism. I thought it might make sense to assess demand and perhaps follow Steve Blank’s Customer Development Model.

All in all, this took maybe two hours. Will this work? I have no idea. Maybe Excel can sort large CSV files now? I know back when I wrote this, Excel had a spreadsheet limit of approximately 65k lines. I know that has changed, but can Excel sort 16mm lines?

If you have any thoughts, questions, or feedback on or on this post, I would love to know.

You can follow me on Twitter @jprichardson

-JP Richardson

If you made it this far, you should follow me on Twitter.  


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