5 votes

I had an idea for an app and I'd like to talk about it

Simply put, I encountered a practical problem a several weeks back. From that experience an idea for an app came to mind so I went online looking for what I thought would have been offered by several organizations. Surprisingly, I only found one solution being offered but it didn't quite cover everything that I thought would be possible.

I'd rather not let the cat out of the bag yet. So, I'd prefer that we talk about it through private messages with the understanding that you won't shout it from the rooftops. If this is a good idea (which I believe that it is), then I'd like the app to be developed with the GNU-GPL3 license (open source).

27 comments

  1. [6]
    pseudolobster
    Link
    I think you're going to get a lot of developers rolling their eyes at this. Anyone who know anything about computers constantly gets pitches from friends and relatives talking about how they've...

    I think you're going to get a lot of developers rolling their eyes at this. Anyone who know anything about computers constantly gets pitches from friends and relatives talking about how they've come up with the most revolutionary idea for an app. It's so common that not only is it a joke on every IT-related comedy, but the joke has actually been run into the ground at this point.

    As Edison is famously paraphrased, developing an app is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. Another common saying is "ideas are worthless."

    I don't mean to discourage you, but the coming up with an idea part is maaaaybe 1% of the process, probably less. Implementing it, doing the development, putting in hundreds of hours actually creating the thing is another 10%. The other 89.99% is marketing. Unless they have a really solid business plan that involves a lot of marketing, it's really not worth the time listening to anyone who says they have a great app idea. Unless you're stuck in the elevator with them it's best to just walk away when you hear that, which is really, really often.

    29 votes
    1. [4]
      emdash
      Link Parent
      For proof of this, just look at how so many successful products and services today ended up pivoting from their original goals—in fact, there's entire books written on "lean startup pivoting",...

      For proof of this, just look at how so many successful products and services today ended up pivoting from their original goals—in fact, there's entire books written on "lean startup pivoting", just because it's so insanely common to have an idea that just doesn't have a good product-market fit, and recognising the need to shift your approach to match the needs of your prospective customers.

      Ideas are meaningless. It's all in the implementation and having a marketing campaign that matches your audience.

      9 votes
      1. [3]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        Thanks for the feedback. I hadn't heard of this. I'll look into it.

        Thanks for the feedback.

        lean startup pivoting

        I hadn't heard of this. I'll look into it.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          emdash
          Link Parent
          I do encourage you to release your idea as GPL or whatever mind you! If this were some proprietary SaaS product, then I could totally understand your desire to keep it close to your chest. That's...

          I do encourage you to release your idea as GPL or whatever mind you! If this were some proprietary SaaS product, then I could totally understand your desire to keep it close to your chest. That's where my mind is at anyway, we're deep in the weeds building out our first software offering at the moment, and it's a hell of a ride for sure. Being open to feedback and change is definitely a prerequisite to getting off the ground.

          3 votes
          1. suspended
            Link Parent
            I'm certainly open to feedback and thanks again.

            Being open to feedback and change is definitely a prerequisite to getting off the ground.

            I'm certainly open to feedback and thanks again.

            2 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      I appreciate the feedback. I didn't use the terms 'revolutionary' nor 'great app idea'. I may or may not move forward with this. I thought, at least, it was good enough to talk about.

      I appreciate the feedback. I didn't use the terms 'revolutionary' nor 'great app idea'. I may or may not move forward with this. I thought, at least, it was good enough to talk about.

      5 votes
  2. [14]
    vakieh
    Link
    If you're talking about open source why do you need to be so sketchy about the details? Why not make the idea open source?

    If you're talking about open source why do you need to be so sketchy about the details? Why not make the idea open source?

    13 votes
    1. [12]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      Fair enough. I had an idea for an app after I experienced a conundrum with Patreon. The short story is that I facilitate a project with several volunteers. I’m the one who set up the Patreon...

      Fair enough.

      I had an idea for an app after I experienced a conundrum with Patreon. The short story is that I facilitate a project with several volunteers. I’m the one who set up the Patreon account in order to generate funds for that project. One day I thought: What if I’m in an accident and have to be put up in a hospital for over six months? Could someone else handle the Patreon account in my stead?

      So, I contacted Patreon about this and they responded that they have nothing set up like this on their end.

      One of the only choices that I was left with was to, for example, leave my Patreon login information with my wife. So, I wrote this information and other helpful tidbits about how to contact the other volunteers on an index card and put it in our safe.

      Then I wondered if there was anything out there like a service on the Internet that could handle something like this. The only thing I could find was Lastpass which allows its users to share their password database with other trusted users of one’s choice.

      Why couldn’t we build an open source app that could handle a scenario like this as well as other similar scenarios? Besides deaths or accidents there could be a number of reasons why someone would want to transmit this type of information to others in a secure environment.

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        There have definitely been quite a few services for this purpose (and a number of them that have gone out of business or otherwise shut down). They're often referred to as something like "a...

        There have definitely been quite a few services for this purpose (and a number of them that have gone out of business or otherwise shut down). They're often referred to as something like "a digital dead man's switch", so searching for that might find some more info.

        Here are a few I found very quickly (not endorsing any of these in particular, I haven't looked into any of them at all):

        15 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          Thanks for finding these. I'll be looking into them to see where I believe there could be improvements/tweaks. EDIT: One important feature that most of these could be lacking is trust or, at...

          Thanks for finding these. I'll be looking into them to see where I believe there could be improvements/tweaks.

          EDIT: One important feature that most of these could be lacking is trust or, at least, the perception of trust. Open source could help in this regard.

          4 votes
      2. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          I was thinking of this, primarily, as well as outside-of-the-box scenarios that others may not address.

          need for improved convenience/usability

          I was thinking of this, primarily, as well as outside-of-the-box scenarios that others may not address.

          1 vote
      3. [2]
        heady
        Link Parent
        One possible solution is dark crystal which can encrypt your emergency info and provide keys to your volunteers in such a way as that it can only be decrypted if a specified quorum of your...

        One possible solution is dark crystal which can encrypt your emergency info and provide keys to your volunteers in such a way as that it can only be decrypted if a specified quorum of your volunteers agreed.

        7 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          That's fascinating! Thanks for the feedback.

          That's fascinating! Thanks for the feedback.

          3 votes
      4. [2]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        One gotcha might be that if you ever need to change your password, the backup copy of your password that you saved won't work anymore. It's usually better if the service itself has "backup codes"...

        One gotcha might be that if you ever need to change your password, the backup copy of your password that you saved won't work anymore.

        It's usually better if the service itself has "backup codes" that you can print out and put in your wallet or safe. (Some of the bigger companies like Google do this.)

        I don't have a Patreon account, but I see from their security page for two-factor authentication that they have "Two Factor Recovery Codes." Saving them might do the trick, but you'd want to make sure your wife actually knows how to use them. (I think maybe Patreon support didn't mention this because you asked for something more specific.)

        But beware that when changing account settings there are two risks (1) you lock yourself out and (2) you leave things unlocked in a way that a bad guy can get in. Locking yourself out is the more immediate danger, so make sure you understand what you're changing before you change it.

        5 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          Thanks for the feedback and I'll keep all of this in mind.

          Thanks for the feedback and I'll keep all of this in mind.

          2 votes
      5. ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Liberapay solves this problem with teams. You donate to the team, instead of individuals. Patreon may have something like this too?

        Liberapay solves this problem with teams. You donate to the team, instead of individuals. Patreon may have something like this too?

        5 votes
      6. [3]
        Moonchild
        Link Parent
        This problem has a known solution. It's not key sharding, or a dead man's switch, but trust. You find someone you trust and give them the password, and if either person is incapacitated the other...

        This problem has a known solution. It's not key sharding, or a dead man's switch, but trust. You find someone you trust and give them the password, and if either person is incapacitated the other one will be capable of handling it.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          suspended
          Link Parent
          Right! My edited comment to @Deimos in this thread:

          Right!

          My edited comment to @Deimos in this thread:

          One important feature that most of these could be lacking is trust or, at least, the perception of trust. Open source could help in this regard.

          3 votes
          1. Moonchild
            Link Parent
            You don't need an app to share a password with someone. If you don't trust someone, you shouldn't be willing to give them access to your accounts, whether you're living or not.

            You don't need an app to share a password with someone.

            If you don't trust someone, you shouldn't be willing to give them access to your accounts, whether you're living or not.

            4 votes
    2. Keegan
      Link Parent
      I'm assuming so nobody else does it first.

      I'm assuming so nobody else does it first.

      1 vote
  3. [4]
    ainar-g
    Link
    I'm not interested in mobile app development right now (or ever, heh), but that phrase made me want to share with you a quote from Paul Graham's How To Start A Startup: The whole essay is...
    I'd rather not let the cat out of the bag yet. (…)

    I'm not interested in mobile app development right now (or ever, heh), but that phrase made me want to share with you a quote from Paul Graham's How To Start A Startup:

    An idea for a startup, however, is only a beginning. A lot of would-be startup founders think the key to the whole process is the initial idea, and from that point all you have to do is execute. Venture capitalists know better. If you go to VC firms with a brilliant idea that you'll tell them about if they sign a nondisclosure agreement, most will tell you to get lost. That shows how much a mere idea is worth. The market price is less than the inconvenience of signing an NDA.

    The whole essay is legendary (that is, worthy or reading and reciting, probably aloud), but this passage in particular struck a chord with me as I first read it, because before reading that I was exactly this kind of “anxious creator” who thought that his ideas are worth ten billion roubles each. Worse yet, I didn't think of the implementation in any way preferring to keep basking in the greatness of my ideas. What foolery!

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      I'll read the essay and thanks for the feedback. I'm not invested in this idea for the money and I may drop it altogether. I'll just do more research and thinking about it in the meantime....

      I'll read the essay and thanks for the feedback. I'm not invested in this idea for the money and I may drop it altogether. I'll just do more research and thinking about it in the meantime. Initially, I thought it would be a good service to provide.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        At the risk of offending some people here, don't feel bad or "dirty" for wanting your idea to generate money. People have to live, and software developers give away a lot of their time for free...

        At the risk of offending some people here, don't feel bad or "dirty" for wanting your idea to generate money. People have to live, and software developers give away a lot of their time for free going after the holy goal of open source.

        You can do good things as a for-profit too. You can become a B-Corp or Social Purpose Corporation and do meaningful good for your prospective employees, you can champion a privacy-focused product, you can help the planet, or try and solve climate change.

        That's what drives me to build my products. I'm not writing software to become a unicorn, or a billionaire. I just want to break the 40 hour work week, live an okay life, and support causes I believe in.

        5 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          Excellent points. Thank you.

          Excellent points. Thank you.

          2 votes
  4. [3]
    vord
    (edited )
    Link
    Some great ideas so far in this thread, but the reply from @Deimos inspired me to devise another option: A self-executing living will for a Gitlab project. Create a CI/CD pipeline to act as your...

    Some great ideas so far in this thread, but the reply from @Deimos inspired me to devise another option: A self-executing living will for a Gitlab project.

    Create a CI/CD pipeline to act as your deadman's switch, which can promote your trusted successors as needed. I've laid out the basics below. It might be over-engineered for a single username/password combo, but it might be a fantastic idea if there's a number of detailed steps that should be followed if you meet an untimely demise.

    • Create a private top-level group, do not grant access to anyone else.
    • Create a private project under that group.
    • In that project create documentation, scripts, and a CI/CD pipeline to implement the deadman's switch and trigger the transition process when desired. Don't put any passwords or other secrets in the project repository.
    • Store secrets and other sensitive information as CI/CD variables at the group level, not the project. Gitlab CI/CD variables are reasonably secure, especially if self-hosted.
    • After the above is finished, grant your trusted successors read-only access to the project, but not the group. When your CI/CD pipeline detects desired condition to execute the "will", leverage the Gitlab API to promote the trusted successor(s) to owner of the group and project (and also any other relevant groups/projects that they should take over). When they become owners of the group, they'll gain access to the CI/CD variables defined at the group level.
    • Once this process has been tested thoroughly to insure proper behavior (preferably before any real sensitive data is added), schedule the pipeline to run at a reasonably frequent interval (I'd probably say daily or weekly).

    Any collaborators (if not the public at large) should be aware of the "line of succession." This insures that nobody is caught off-guard, and gives visibility to what might otherwise be a secretive process.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        Have fun and toss me a PM if you get stuck. I'm sure this is achievable from Github as well, but I don't have any experience building pipelines on Github. One problem I just remembered having when...

        Have fun and toss me a PM if you get stuck. I'm sure this is achievable from Github as well, but I don't have any experience building pipelines on Github.

        One problem I just remembered having when trying to call the Gitlab API from within a runner was authentication. If I remember correctly, a full API access token must be created and stored as a CI/CD variable in your private group as well.

        5 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      Great! This is inspiring!

      Great! This is inspiring!

      1 vote