I went on holiday (Campervanning around Cornwall) with a copy of “What Would Google Do” (I’m a big TWIG fan). While reading the book I found my self muttering, “yeah that’s obvious” and “I preach that to”. Problem was I kept putting the book down because it was giving me an uneasy feeling. Then it hit me – it may be what I preach but its not what I practise. Years of corporate indoctrination had me following their business model. The problem was this apparently doomed business model was finally paying my wages after 18 months of working 7 to 11. Changing this is a very frightening thought.
After a storm of swirling, eclectic, anything goes blue skyes thinking, an idea began for form. The simplicity of the idea was its beauty. Jeff Jarvis hit the nail on the head when he talked about “New Architecture” – be the platform! One of our earliest problems with iPassExam was writing the software. I didn’t have time to code it myself and hold down a day job. Writing good software is expensive to do, hard to get right and nigh on impossible to find good people. Eighteen months ago if I could have used a third party service (at the right price) I would have jumped at the chance. So why not do just that: build a marketplace and offer a hosted solution for training companies to get their exam preparation resources on-line for free. There are thousands of MCQ exams over the world. All being serviced by training organisations many of whom’s business model is residential classroom based training. Ill use my platform to host the material for them, Ill take-care of the technology, ecommerce and customer support they the learning material. My idea is to offer them an Apple style deal 1/3 of the asking price for cramba.com the rest for the vendor who provides the learning material. Upfront cost – zero, very little risk and everything to gain.
Since closing my web dev business, for 15 years I searched for a good business idea, but jaded from my time as a business/IT consultant (for Coda Group a business consultancy), most ideas I came across were boring, uninspiring, unoriginal – most of these were mine;-). This one felt different to me, dare I dream, dare I allow myself to be excited? I fired up a calc spreadsheet and began building some financial models. The conclusion; this business could be very profitable very quickly but it depends on two assumptions.
- That training companies who have great domain knowledge but have decided to not engage with the web can be enlightened to the opportunity that exists for them.
- That their resources sell.
So here we are a brave new idea, limited budget, unlimited amounts of enthusiasm and drive, and dream of what could be.
Next step build cramba.com (watch this space).