The next facebook
July 21, 2011 4:05 AM   Subscribe

Need ideas for websites I could build. I am going to be in between jobs in the next few months. That gap could be a week or it could be a year depending on how long it takes to find my next gig. During that gap I would like to stay productive. I am a project manager, but I can write decent python/js/css/html. I need ideas for websites I could build that 1) I would have fun doing, 2) Would be something I could talk about in interviews, and 3) Could maybe produce a community, traffic, or a few dollars.

This thread about Ravelry inspired my ambitions for a new project. Since I am going to be in between jobs for an indefinite amount of time, why not start building something. I have many ideas of my own but I thought I would put it to the green for inspiration.

I am open to any concept for a website. My personal interests hover around making music, fitness, reading, kids, project management, travel so that may be a good place to start. But I am also open to any other interesting project idea. And yes I know that ideas are a dime a dozen and it is all about execution. I am not worried about the execution. I just want ideas.

What are are some ideas for website projects that you have had? What are some niche areas that haven't been tackled or have been poorly executed. I am not looking for something grand. I am looking for ideas that are simple and can be understood by my grandmother. Help me find my next project.
posted by jasondigitized to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Choose a problem and make it go away.

Get the word out about something your passionate about. Get behind a nonprofit that needs an awesome new site. Work with local museums, schools, children's hospitals, whatever.
posted by Murray M at 4:30 AM on July 21, 2011

I think you need to combine this site project with another aim of yours: to learn more about your new place of residence. How about a better food cart location service that takes advantage of existing data? Or similarly, a better cultural events / music calendar? Or an area specific fitness / recreation site that combines public info in a way that would be super useful for people looking to get their exercise on. Or a site that aggregates family events that can be filtered not only on type but also age appropriateness for the kids. Essentially any project that will also teach you something about your new locale would be awesome for the knowledge you gain but might also hook you into a part of the community you share an interest with as well. And finally since most of these ideas are out there and you intend to excel at the execution you'll be surveying the landscape -- all of the competitive analysis and research you do will also serve to further what you know about your new hometown.

Lastly, I think the best fit for you are site ideas where you do not generate the content. This seems wise given you don't know how long your break is for and it plays better to the skills I think you are looking to showcase. Have fun!
posted by safetyfork at 4:57 AM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Call around local non-profits and advocacy groups and ask if they need volunteer coders. We recently had a group of coders sign up with us to redevelop our website. You would essentially be doing work for a client, but with few resources and a broader range of possibilities, and if it's a cause you care about, doing something meaningful. That way, you end up with an end product you can talk about at job interviews that showcases your skills, and you also - if it's a local office - can meet new people and possibly go into the office semi-regularly, which is helpful when you're in between jobs for the social structure. We've got a couple of volunteers who come in regularly for that reason.
posted by viggorlijah at 5:16 AM on July 21, 2011

Fitness/diet apps on Android are quite poor. I don't think there's a Ravelry or Etsy in that space, but there are a lot of third-grade operations. If you're going to do this, and you're interested in community, study AskMeFi and StackOverflow.
posted by Leon at 5:36 AM on July 21, 2011

I have wanted to build a new genealogy site - the one I'd like to use - but have never pursued it seriously. Mostly because I don't have the skills to build the robust, scalable, complex database necessary for this project, and because I know I wouldn't be able to manage it as a business if it showed signs of being successful.

When searching genealogies, the first places you are told to look for ancestors are the primary records, things like the census and b-m-d records. This site would link together mentions of ancestors over multiple records. If an ancestor was born in a village in England and appeared there on the 1851 census, moved to Birmingham for the 1861 census, was in Canada in 1871, to Montana in 1881 and died in California in 1895, all those mentions would be linked together. Once that was done they'd appear in the index for those documents, so next time a descendant (a third cousin once removed, maybe) came looking for that person, they'd find him in the indexes. Each person found in the primary documents would have a profile page with links to parents, spouses and children. At the side, like friends on Facebook, would be all the descendants who are member of the site, so that members who are interested in the same ancestors can easily find each other and share information.

Members would be able to access a feature called the attic, where they can upload found photographs, letters and documents, linkable to all the people mentioned within them.

Large databases would be needed for document indexes, historical person profiles, member profiles and uploaded material. This is why it requires greater computer science knowledge and database skill than I can manage.

Possible revenue streams: Since the site would be restricted to people found in historical available censuses (no recently born grandchildren, no Charlemagne), but members might still be interested in building greater family trees, private family groups would be available for a fee (similar to Meetup's $75 for three groups for a half year). Also advertising could be targeted to geographical areas (someone looking for ancestors in Scotland is a potential customer for hotels in Scotland).

Anyone interested in taking on the database challenges should feel free to contact me. I can share with you the possibilities in greater detail.
posted by TimTypeZed at 9:04 AM on July 21, 2011

« Older Reason and the Passions, How do I make one control...   |   Something wicked this way comes. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.