💡 Open Source Opportunities
- The Signal:
- Background: A new playbook is becoming increasingly popular among devpreneurs.
Step 1: Find a hyped SaaS product.
Step 2: Build an open source clone.
Step 3: Earn money by offering a hosted version of the software.
The second step is essential because this is how you get the attention. If you simply copy another tool, people will call you a cheap copycat. But if you release your clone under an open source license, you'll be celebrated as some kind of hero.
Of course, you'll lose a few potential customers who will download your code and host it themselves. But what makes this playbook so magical is that all big enterprise customers will be happy to pay for your hosted version of the software. They need proper support and a version of the software that's always up-to-date. And these enterprise customers are where all the real money is being made any way.
Super successful examples that used this playbook recently:
- Supabase, a Google Firebase clone with 11,700 GitHub stars, now YC funded.
- Nhost, another Google Firebase clone with 321 GitHub stars, recently raised $3 million.
- Athens Research, a Roam Research clone with 4,200 GitHub stars, got accepted into YC,
- Baserow, an Airtable clone with 410 GitHub stars.
- Calendso, a Calendly clone with 3,800 GitHub stars.
- Opportunities: Start by doing research on Crunchbase, for example, by filtering for SaaS tools that recently raised millions in VC funding. Then follow the steps outlined above.
For example, what about open source clones of Notion, Mighty, Linear, or Superhuman? You can use Alternativeto.net to check if there are already any serious open source alternatives.
Another useful source of inspiration is the /r/selfhosted subreddit where people often ask for alternatives to popular pieces of software.
- The Signal:
- Background: Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard the news: Miami is the new Silicon Valley. While these claims are of course a bit exaggerated, Miami is undoubtedly having a moment.
Almost every day an important figure from the tech world announces that they're moving to Miami. The impromptu Miami Tech Week is already dubbed "South by Southeast". And it all started because the major of Miami asked "How can I help?".
Will the hype continue? I have no idea. But the forces underlying the trend are here to stay.
There's no reason why you should live at a place you don't like if you have a remote job or your own company. Miami is just the first example of a new class of Startup Cities.
- Opportunities: Whenever cultural shifts like this happen, there are plenty of opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs.
The first question is, of course, which cities and countries will embrace the changes? Who works hard to attract remote workers and startups?
Lisbon (look up the non-habitual resident scheme), Malta, and Barcelona are popular answers. Also Georgia (the country) and Singapore are already well-established locations for online businesses. Along similar lines, Estonia is trying to position itself as a "digital country" for quite a while now. Unfortunately, there's little substance behind the grand claims so far.
Nomad List is a great place to do further research although it unfortunately offers little legal and tax information. A platform that merges the best parts of Nomad List and platforms like Incorporations.io and Residencies.io and thus helps people and startups decide where to move might be an interesting opportunity in itself. Also, more granular data (think: neighborhoods instead of cities) would be incredibly helpful.
Another angle could be to focus on personal stories instead of data. I loved reading these field notes on Miami and I wish there were similar notes on all cities from different people.
The second question is: how can you help people and companies move? Pieter Levels, for example, the founder of Nomad List is betting on Portugal and started experimenting with a dedicated visa, immigration and tax service.
The final question is: what do people need once they've relocated? If we assume that there will be a large influx of remote workers or startups into a given city, what kind of product or service will then be in demand?
In Miami, the correct answer is Yachts, obviously.
- The Signal:
- Background: In the mid-sized German town where I live already 50% of all stores are permanently out of business as a result of Covid restrictions. While online businesses aren't legally required to close, many are nevertheless directly affected.
For example, who's checking which bands are playing in town right now? Or who's looking for wellness hotel deals, if they're all closed anyway?
- Opportunities: There's probably never been a better time to buy distressed assets. Head over to Flippa and search for keywords related to industries that have been hit hard by Covid (for example, "Bands", "Coffee Shops", "Music School").
Alternatively you could reach out directly to website owners even if they're not listed for sale. To find them, simply type the same keywords into Google and look at the top search results.
- The Signal:
- Background: In case you've never heard of Toastmasters: it's a nonprofit that operates clubs worldwide where people train communication, public speaking and leadership. And well, Toastmasters is toast.
With podcasting on the rise and in-person events making a strong comeback soon, public speaking skills will only become more important.
The main reason why interest in Toastmasters has declined so dramatically is most likely once again Covid. In that case, the chart above clearly indicates that they've not been able to create a convincing online offering. But even long before Covid, the Toastmasters brand has always felt a bit antiquated and stiff.
- Opportunities: What would a modern, online-first version of Toastmasters look like?
Ultraspeaking (78k visitors per month) looks like a promising bet, but there's still plenty of room for newcomers.
For example, what would a Write of Passage style course (>$1M in total revenue) for public speaking instead of writing look like?
👨🌾 Vertical Farming
- The Signal:
- Background: The /r/verticalfarming subreddit is exploding right now. Gardening is one of these hobbies that skyrocketed during Covid lockdowns. But most people only have limited (indoor) space available. This is where vertical farming can help.
With slogans like "grow 128 plants in the size of a bookshelf" I can see many city dwellers picking up vertical farming as yet another expensive hobby.
- Opportunities: Depending on your level of ambition you could start by reviewing vertical farming kits and make some affiliate side income, start dropshipping vertical farming shelves, or reach out to manufacturers and design your own.
In the ladder case, it would make a lot of sense to start with a crowdfunding campaign to piggyback on the recent hype. Somewhat surprisingly I was only able to find one professional, recent vertical farming crowdfunding project.
Please do share with your friends. I spent 5+ hours on this so it would be nice if a few people read it.
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