More than a year ago, I prototyped a little application that would ping a data endpoint somewhere on the Internet, cache the data, and then allow for various clients to display it, primarily in their browser to start off. My motivation for this was that I thought it would be neat to have a dashboard of stuff going on for my Web sites. Sure, I could display boring stuff like CPU usage and free memory, though there are plenty of products out there that already do that. I wanted it to be more agnostic than that, so I could literally display anything... like aggregate reports of ad revenue, current number of visitors on the site, number of club members, etc.
I've either used or built stuff that performed some flavor of this functionality countless times. I recall at ICOM we had monitors up displaying the current count of policies sold for the day, and one dude built a small desktop client that showed how various services were performing. Just recently, I read a magazine article about the explosive growth predicted in software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings in relation to a very specific dashboarding app, and I thought, wow, why even lock it down with that kind of specificity?
So for quite some time, I felt like there might be a business opportunity for this product if I build it out and make it easily shared. Yes, it very much has a developer angle to it, because someone has to expose that data you want to visualize. But at the very least, it's something I very much would use and pay for. Maybe others will too.
I started to think more about it after CoasterBuzz was relaunched, and about a month ago, I really sat down and figured out how it should work. Since that time, I've spent a few hours here and there working on it, but not a lot. Tonight and last night, I hit a nice stride and worked on it quite a bit, to the point that I feel like I've finally got some momentum on it.
I work on it because there are some really interesting technical aspects to it, so that it can scale and perform well. I also happen to think that the feature aspect of it also has some interesting angles. I truly don't know if it's something that could sell, but I see so many of these kinds of services that I think it's worth a shot to see what happens.