Returning to #14

Can take some time to return to #14, the idea of developing some niche useful utility based on understanding a very niche use case of some hard-to-acquire data or tooling, and then selling it. Using CryptoFinance as an inspiration – the creator basically built API integrations with exchange APIs, and then formatted that data to be available through an add-on in Google Sheets. It’s really quite intelligent, though must have taken a lot of work not only in the coding but also in the marketing. Being first to market with a functional product was probably awesome, although it’s actually a pretty broken product, though perhaps not his fault.

I was thinking about what I could do that is somewhat similar. So what are some of the key pieces?

  • He is grabbing data that is hard to grab and aggregate. For many people it’s basically impossible, for others it’s many hours of work. He just did the work for you, of writing integrations to like at least 5 exchanges though he actually has hundreds, and he actually aggregates it as well. Most people can’t talk to an API, let alone aggregate that all into one data pipeline. He has to pull from multiple APIs and then reformat so the API responses can play with one another.
  • He has great customer service; super responsive and super available on Twitter and Telegram and email.

I mean that might actually be it. It’s not even that functional due to constraints outside of his control, like Google Sheets putting a cap on API calls out of Sheets. It actually breaks for me all the time. There might even be a better way to do what he’s trying to do, but his product is super MVP. It’s probably good enough for most use cases, which is portfolio tracking on a daily basis (although that product is free). Then he has a product he charges $10/month for, which is based on an artificial performance constraint he can control.

So he purposefully delivers a product worse than he could for free, then charges $10 for a better product, then charges $39/month for a product that should be awesome but actually breaks all the freaking time and isn’t even very useful to use.

And he has some decent documentation.

So where I can do the work of aggregating data for people that they want? At first I thought maybe something to do with networking in crypto, but I don’t think that is it. Something like Roll Review is back in this arena, more about aggregating feedback on videos for them.

Aggregating newsletters is fully commoditized.

Maybe even just building the exact same thing as cryptofinance with some slight improvements could win over the entire market; although there are products like the CoinMarketCap API or the CryptoCompare API already. Maybe understanding Google Sheets Add-Ons. Maybe ContactOut for Google Sheets.

Or actually maybe making Google Sheet templates… no that is like not niche enough. The value prop has to be super clear – getting prices into Google Sheets from crypto exchanges (through primarily I only use one API, the CoinMarketCap API). Could build this and provide it for way cheaper to crowd him out of the market, that would be pretty simple actually. Especially if the integration were super simple, though then you have a migration cost as the cryptofinance function is already implemented in a spreadsheet. Unless you could Control-F the whole thing into a different function, but then what is the point.

No, it would be good to come up with something original. Researching available APIs and see what can be aggregated would be cool. Cryptonative would obviously be cool but it’s not necessary. What other types of data… needs to be a niche I can understand, or at least seek to understand.

Product Manager HQ is a niche providing value within that niche and people are also willing to pay. Build super niche services within a niche. That’s why I want to do something in jiu-jitsu, because it’s such a good niche that I have a passion for; but it’s unclear people will pay for it; well that’s not true, hundreds of people came out to this jiu jitsu tournament paying at least $100 each. Maybe like $50,000 worth of value there. Who try to film every single match but don’t get much value out of it.

The problem is the distribution on that is super hard. Actually if there were a way to aggregate attention for jiu-jitsu that would be great. I wonder how Occupy Democrats is doing it. Because Facebook owns all the attention, it’s really hard to get a differentiated viewership.

Hm maybe a good way to start would be to build something that solves a problem I have, because that’s an easy way to imagine CryptoFinance and Product Manager HQ starting… basically needing to build my own portfolio management tools; and then also trying to streamline my learning, development, and networking around being a product manager. Then opening up my solutions to other people. So find something that you’re solving in your own life in an interesting way that takes up a lot of time and energy, and sell that to other people who might want the same solution.

I’m not sure there is anything right now. That’s a good frame though; look for ways to solve problems in my own life in automated, streamlined ways that are scalable (easily shareable with others).

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