Looking for a niche that'd benefit from seeing links inside the company

Dear friends,

I feel like I’m going in circles with this project, so I’m reaching out to this generous community for a fresh perspective.

What I’m trying to offer with wwwas.it is a service for extracting, storing and summarizing links exchanges inside a company. I want this to be just a backend service, but I’m ready to build the frontend experience/integrations for the early testers. I have a prototype of the backend ready and a sample fronted experience (here).

What made me come up with this are the following observations:

  • People are annoyed by links in their inboxes, they forget to check, feel that it is a chore, or have trouble recalling them
  • Some of my interviewees complain that even though they use a modern chat platform (ex. Hipchat), they still struggle to get locate the links they want to recall.
  • There is a general trend towards aggregation and centralising all communications but that requires buying into a whole stack or switching platforms (ex. Some corporate social software, Slack, Delve by Microsoft etc. etc.) - there are lots of companies who are going to stick to e-mail no matter what, but would appreciate ‘smarter’ inboxes.
  • Corporations find it important to know what are the interests and knowledge already possess by the employees

What I feel bad about:

  • The language I use on the landing page more appropriate to talk to an IT department, but the service is supposed to be valuable for managers or teams
  • The feature is cool, but is only considered nice to have, or a noteworthy addition to other service providers

My immediate steps are to identify a niche audience that would in the long run help me develop and refine the service.

Just to clarify, this was never meant to be a bookmarking service, and I’m don’t feel I’d have an edge there.

If I could post a direct question, that would be - who do you believe could this be valuable for? Or, do you believe this is valuable as a addon/service in general.

So that I can better assist you…in creating this service, did you interact/speak with people that identified this as a pain they needed solving? If so, can you go back to them and ask what sort of work they do and how they would use this?

@ShawnArnwine my interviewees who saw this as beneficial were:

  • a developer in a telecommunications company (they use Hipchat, but have trouble getting the links ‘out’ of it)
  • a couple who works at a big corporation and is tired with the daily newsletters/memos/announcements
  • an IT manager who would like to spice up the intranet of a mid-sized public sector institution.
    However, it seems to me that I can get into their companies because the value/feature I provide is pretty narrow or soft - it doesn’t yet solve a real business need.

I have trouble locating links that came up in conversation sometimes, but more often I have trouble finding specific conversations & specific decisions that were made. (e.g., “On August 28th, you said you wanted X Y and Z and we agreed those would be delivered December 15th.” That sort of thing.) Those are the bits I’m always trying to find in email & chat history. So, it’s not always links for me.

If you could piggyback on a popular chat application & automatically manage the links that come up in conversation, that might be a good way to start. Can you integrate with or add on to HipChat, Slack, or Skype?

@coreysnipes Having reviewed my leads and options, I’ve decided to start it off as an add on to popular chat platforms. Your reply came just in time to reaffirm me that this direction is a viable way into the market - thank for your input.

Before you write another line of code, I’d work on getting in front of as many people as possible to reaffirm this problem/pain and insure you can make money off of it. Could those folks refer you to others to speak to? Have you asked these folks if they’d pay you for this? Building on top of an existing platform is a great way to get an audience. Good luck!

Kind of an interesting idea. I was searching for a couple of links just the other day. Would have been nice to be able to search for them easily.

That said this feels like a feature and not a product. Doesn’t feel substantial enough to pay for.

If you were gonna do it, I’d start with a gmail or slack plugin.

Hate to say it but this feels like the kind of thing that could work with an advertising revenue model. Because it’s useful to everyone but it’s hard to imagine people paying for it.

@ShawnArnwine @kalenjordan @coreysnipes
Thanks for you feedback, after some consideration I built a prototype for Hipchat users only - for now - I have some leads to companies using it in my network, so it was an obvious pick.

Here’s how the it feels like (this are links we exchange over Hipchat with a friend): http://beta.wwwas.it/r/07b82a3429dae21492b0d79ca0567f6a4df33fb1

And here’s the landing page and a how you can give it a whirl yourself: http://wwwas.it/

Again, thank you for your feedback.
My next steps are to search my network for more beta testers and see if I can tap into the Hipchat community itself.

You bet. Sounds like a good approach. If I encounter Hipchat users I’ll send them your way.