I try, with mixed success, to spend a day a week working on personal projects. This often means something web-based, since I spend a lot of time online.
One project that I'm still kicking around is a sharing / loaning / tracking web app.
I'd like to be able keep track of who has my stuff, and let my friends know what stuff I have they might want to borrow.
For example: we have a drill in the shed. If a friend needs a drill for a few days for a once-off project, it makes sense for them to borrow ours rather than buy one for themselves.
I've seen NeighborGoods pop up a few times recently, and I like the look of it.
Since it's got a lot in common with My Project Without A Name, I had a poke around to see if I could use it instead of building something myself.
Neighborgoods is great and I really jive on their simple, clear, message: "Save money and resources by sharing stuff with your friends".
It doesn't quite align with what I'm looking for, though.
I've always been a fan of lean and mean. Work-wise I'm very much moving in the direction of Mobile First Responsive Web Design: everything should start lean and fast, and build up from there. (I'm sure I'll also be re-reading Bagchecking in the Command Line once I get started on my project again.)
Applied to my loaning app, this would mean that at first there should be very little going on apart from the loaning and returning of items.
The target audience is groups of friends who already know and trust each other, so there's no need for lots of personal information: just a name may be enough.
Items descriptions can be short too: price, condition, exact model number probably won't be needed.
The focus is on the in and outs of of your stuff: showing what's in and tracking what's out.
One big item that I still need to work out is money.
If I manage to find the time to put it together and get it up and running, how do I keep it going and keep improving it?
Will Google ads, or sponsored ads, earn enough to keep it going? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Also, I really don't like ads.
Do I charge a membership fee then? How much? Don't Be A Free User on the Pinboard blog reminded me that it's okay to charge money for providing a service. In fact, it's often necessary.
I think that if I want to be able to offer a really good product, I have to fund it somehow.