I'm a developer in Melbourne, Australia, and co-founder of Hello Code.

Published Mon 05 November 2007

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Startups need more than an idea (unfortunately)

I think it's safe to say that a lot of us think big. We have some great ideas, and given the chance, would definitely be the next Google. Without a doubt.

Well, perhaps that's a bit far from the truth. But there are a lot of ideas out there which are never going to be realised. Some of them are undoubtedly rubbish, but think of all those really nifty, practical services or products that are never going to see the light of day because we just don't have the time or the money.

Good ideas

I have a couple of ideas that I think could work quite nicely. The big one, that's been kicking around for quite a while now, is a social network (groan) based around a local community. Yes, it's been done, yes, there's a million reasons why it wouldn't work, but damn — I really like this idea. There's more to it than that brief overview, of course, and I think it's those little extras that would make it work, but at the moment it's nothing more than a registered domain and the wild dreams of little developer in Australia. The odds aren't good.

There's just no time

The problem, I think, is that big ideas need big resources. Where are those resources supposed to come from? If you run your own business, and don't need to fill every business hour with actually making money, then you're probably in the best position to do something about your idea. Or if you're already successful, you have the resources to follow that idea and (hopefully) make yourself even more money. But for all of us who don't have that sort of time or money to spare, what are we supposed to do?

What to do with all these ideas then?

Ideas without implementation aren't worth much. The only advantage we have over Average Joe user is that we can implement this stuff ourselves. Being a developer means you're already in a better position than the majority of the community because you have the skills to realise your idea.

But as previously mentioned, if you only have a piddling amount of time to offer, then the amount you can actually implement isn't going to be much.

By your powers combined, I am Captain Startup

Wouldn't it be great if there was a big group of developers who believed in an idea so much that they were willing to each put that little bit of time towards a common idea? Do you think it would work? I have been toying with this idea as a way for people like us to use the power of the internet to realise these big ideas that are just a bit out of reach. Obviously massive ideas wouldn't work, but a social application or a simple service might actually come together.

As an example:

Users submit their idea to this site, where it joins the pool of ideas. Ideas get voted on and the best, say, ten ideas get picked. Other users (developers and designers and what-not) with relevant skills join the groups and work together on this common idea, each receiving a proportional amount of the profit once the idea gets off the ground. The best way for it to work, of course, would be if a massive amount of people got involved and the average developer had to create perhaps only a couple of functions.

Leveraging the power of Web 2.0 user-generated content into actually creating a startup.

Of course, all the usual caveats for user-generated content apply: it wouldn't all be good content, people are lazy anyway, and the finished product may not be something worth striving for anyway. But perhaps it's worth a go.

Thoughts please

Do you think this would work? Would you be interested? Or do you have some feedback on a better way this sort of approach could be run?

I personally would love to be involved in this sort of thing if the idea was great and the amount of time I had to commit wasn't massive :)

I'm really looking for community feedback here guys, so help me out with a comment, and maybe my little idea of realising other big ideas could actually come to life.

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