Earlier today I was making some notes about an application I am considering pitching to the day job, outlining how the tool would work, who would use it, what they would use it for, and how the existing gigabytes of data that already exists would be adapted to work within this system with minimal effort on anyone's part. The concept is less than a week old, making it far too immature to discuss with colleagues in any real sense, but there is certainly a need for this sort of mechanism within the organization given that our current process is complicated, expensive, and prone to error. As I read through the rough notes to confirm nothing was missed, a familiar thought crossed my mind: why not make this for the world instead?
Every few months it seems another idea pops into my head for something that could help a specific group of people at the day job. Most of these concepts never leave their notebook. A small number receive further refinements or feature ideas over a period of months without moving into the demo or exploratory phase. Others still seem to be made into a functional proof of concept before a single note is written. A lot of the problems that colleagues face within the organization are hardly unique so, by creating something that might enjoy a wider audience, more people might benefit from whatever tool I create.
At least, that's how it's supposed to work in theory.
In reality the vast majority of the things that I've created for the world have seen very little uptake because I'm quite poor at marketing and I invest the vast majority of my day in spending time with family and accomplishing tasks for the day job. The hour or so I have outside of these two areas is generally spent reading articles online or writing new ones here. So by planning a tool that can be used within the day job, there's not just a better possibility that the project will succeed, but a better possibility that time can be dedicated to make it a success.
Time is a key ingredient for most forms of success. Unfortunately, it's forever in short supply and there is generally an endless of active priorities that require attention. Looking at the number of different software solutions that have not yet been — or never will be — pitched at the day job, there is an overnumerousness of tasks that can be optimized and automated away to allow people to focus on the more important elements of their work. Most of these can be generalized and created for a wider audience but, given the struggle I have finding consistent blocks of time for 10C development, would anything ever get completed to such a degree that it might get shipped?
There is a lot that can be shared with the world but, given the complexities of some of the problems at the day job, it would make far more sense to focus on the captive audience I know than the general population I don't.