Thinking Too Big - Ship Smaller Products

18 Dec 2014

So I had an idea, like most people like me do. That itch you want to scratch for whatever reason.

If it's one thing I've learned along my entrepreneurial journey, it is to always, always, always scratch that itch. It will all pay off soon enough.

Back to the product idea. The idea is to curate images from Instagram, and others eventually, into a feed business owners could use. This is using IFTTT to geo-fence the images for a particular business or organization.

After setting up the initial prototype, I hand built about 80 IFTTT recipes for various restaurants, colleges, and places. In less than three weeks, I had populated a Google Data Store with almost 20,000 images.

Shortly there after, all of the IFTTT recipes expired, and I never bothered to turn them off. At this point I was back to client work to pay the bills.

You can see the prototype here, for The College of William and Mary. Or Virginia Commonwealth University. I should disclaim that all of these images are made public by public Instagram accounts. The links for the pictures are the ones used by Instagram, and I have not stored any bytes of the images.

Why didn't I go back to this? I grew the idea too big. I made the app with too much in mind and had no idea who would buy this thing. And frankly, I don't have the time or resources to go on this endeavour, right now.

Last night I was enjoying some delicious wings,

Wings
when I looked up and read the giant banner next to the TV I'd been watching football on. It said something like "Tag your Instagrams with hashtag #shorebreak and be automatically entered to win a $25 dollar gift card. Drawings each week".

While the contest aspect of that is interesting enough, I began to wonder how many people forget to actually hash tag their images.

Most marketing sites, tell restaurants and other business to use hashtags. Very few, seem to know about geo-fencing and how easy it is to setup with the Instagram API.

I'm pivoting, freshimag.es, to initially target restaurants who already have a hashtagging convention in place. The features would be a filtered list of images that are in the geo-fenced but do not contain the desired hashtag. I'll make it very easy for the restaurant owner to comment on this image and remind the person to use hashtag "#ourhashtag".

This will be taking place over the next few months, as I already have a well scoped product in the works.

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