Jan 9

Many a times I have been asked by my friends, “How do you come up with a business idea?”. My instant reply is “Look around. Find a problem thats hurting people. If you can find a way to solve that problem, you have got your business idea.”

Today I want to glorify the above statement with an example in the content of rails development community.

Consider this report The State of the Stack: A Ruby on Rails Benchmarking Report – 10 June 2009 which lists the most commonly used versions of Ruby, Rails, and plugins in actual 1800 production applications. Go to the plugins portion of the report. The image showing the usability of  plugins is as follows:

Rails Plugin usage - june 2009

Now consider the same report but the January 2010 version. The image below shows the the plugin usage in about 3000 rails apps.

Do you see a major difference at the top. The top used plugin in January 2010 doesn’t even exist in June 2009. And what does hoptoad do. In principle it does the same work as exception notification(the top plugin of June 2009) but in a much better way. The problem with exception notification was that you had to manage all your exceptions via email. This means you weren’t able to do the following things:

  • Club exceptions and record the counts.
  • Keep a record of which exceptions have been resolved and which are unresolved.

Hoptoad made it easy to manage your exceptions and in 6 months its one of the most used rails plugins. And mind you its not totally free. Its based on the freemium business model. If you have a decent sized app then the free model wont suit you. (from personal experience). Thus hoptoad solves a critical problem in a better way than existing methods and also earns a handsome revenue. Kudos to the hoptoad team!!

Report Source: http://railslab.newrelic.com/

Jan 5

Be it email, to-do lists, expense sheets, future plans, customers leads or reminders, you can manage all of this on the web. You just need a browser with internet connection and you are up and running. Many a times i have been asked “What kind of softwares do you make?”. My instant reply is, “We make web based softwares.”. “Do you make websites?” comes the question. My only reply is “You know Gmail. Think of it as a email software running on the web. We make similar softwares for Learning and Management.”

What are web based softwares anyway?

Web-Based Software is software you use over the internet with a web browser. You don’t have to install any software on your personal machine and neither you have to worry about upgrades. Examples of web based softwares:

Why is web based software better for your business?

Better safety

Desktop based softwares store data on your machines/laptops. Machines may crash and laptops may be stolen. If your company has many employees, then you have to ensure that no machine is compromised. However web based software stores data in secure web servers which are placed in secured data centres. You data is regularly backed up and always available.

No Installation

Web based are run via web browsers  and never require installation on your personal machine. Thus even if you loose your hard disk or machine, you can continue from where you left.

Updates are not your headache

Desktop based softwares have different copies for each installation. Its your headache to keep the softwares updated to the latest version. However web based softwares have only one version for all its users. Hence its always at the latest version.

Universally Compatible

No matter which operating system you use ( or read which windows you use XP, Vista or Windows 7), you will never have to worry whether this software is compatible.

Universally Accessible

You can use your software from wherever you want. Be it your home, a coffee shop or a hotel, you can get your work done. Now with mobiles with internet becoming common, you can have access to your data virtually from anywhere.

No Upfront Cost

Web based softwares are either free or follow a Pay as you use model. You only have to a recurring fixed amount to use the software. No Investing huge sums of money.

No Maintenance Cost

The only cost you bear is the recurring fee. You don’t have to maintain

  • IT staff for looking after the servers
  • No servers in the first place

Better Support

Web based softwares are usually offered as a service. This is called “Software as a Service (SaaS)”. SaaS will put an obligation on the provider to give the best possible service and uptime, otherwise you are not going to pay. Gone are times when marketing executives sold you softwares in CD’s which you were not able to use. No more paying the support guy for site visits.

Tracking is possible

Web based software is usually accessed through logins. Thus work done by a user/employee is tracking. Next time some work is incomplete or done wrong, you know who to blame.

Sharing is easier

Work done by one person can be used by other person seamlessly. No more transferring data via CDs or USB drives. Realtime sharing is also possible.