Building A Prototype
I’ve spent the last couple of months building a prototype in my spare time. It solves a fairly simple problem that I have a deep connection with. As to whether this app can become a product (save a business) remains to be seen. For now, I have a couple of users and the proto seems to be doing it’s job.
For now I’m calling my prototype “smstolist” - it’s not an exciting name but neither is my app for the moment. Simply, smstolist enables users to push out frequent updates to a private list of subscribers via text messages (SMS) and email. Publishers (the users who wish to send the updates) send text message Updates to a certain mobile number and my app takes the Update and then emails it to all of the Subscribers (those who wish to receive the updates) on a list. The app responds to the Publisher with another text message confirming that the Updates were (or were not) sent.
smstolist is designed for those of us who are perhaps a little less tech savvy. One might be thinking, “why do I need an app to do what my phone already does?” Or “why do I need this app when I can set up an email alias or distribution list?” The answer: “you don’t!” The thing is, many will find setting up that sort of configuration messy and my app makes it simple, particularly for those who consider just sending a SMS message a significant accomplishment.
I used the words “frequent” and “updates” earlier because my app does not attempt to do what Twitter or Facebook does - smstolist Lists are not public or for long “campaign” style email messages. If a user subscribers to an smstolist list then they are saying they want to receive semi-frequent updates and they want them “pushed” to them, rather than having to check some site to see the updates. In the future, it might make sense to give subscribers the option to receive SMS’ as well as emails for the receiving of Updates. This would help more with the “push” concept I think.
Scratching An Itch
smstolist solves a fairly specific problem for my case-in-point user at the moment. However I am interested in discovering whether this application could have value to others. It’s just an idea, turned tool which works fairly well for now for a certain problem. Can it work elsewhere?
If you can think of any other applications for which this tool might be useful, please let me know in the comments. I’m really keen to know if this is a can be a thing.
Can You Help?
I’m also inviting those who are interested in trialing this idea with me to set up a list or two if you think this can be of some value. Your feedback is the only way I’m going to know if this can work. Hit me up on twitter or in the comments and I’ll get you set up. It’s pretty painless.