Here’s a nifty service in Beta. RunAlong.se is a small Swedish startup that came about because its founder, Heidi Harman, wanted to go for a run but figured it would be nicer if she could invite her girl friends to come along. This proves the point, even thought obvious but many times forgotten, how easy it is to build a service if you just pull up your sleeves and decide to do it. One of the biggest barriers to entry into the wonderful world of running your own service is no more: The money you need to set up a consumer Internet service is fraction of a fraction of a cost what it used to be.
Here’s how to you start. Post a message for example to http://www.arcticindex.com/jobs/ saying you’re looking for a developer and designer to hire or to find a co-founder with the right skill-set. You could also use a service like iFreelance or just walk into your local technical university and post a message to the bulletin board saying “looking for a developer. will pay real money!”. Do the same for the art school to find your designer. Then set up Amazon S3 or Google App Engine to ensure your infrastructure can scale in the beginning. Then all you need to do is do it. Really!
It might not be easy and believe me, many things can and will go wrong before you have a working service let alone a service with active users. But that’s called learning on the job and I guarantee you get there if you don’t give up, so all it really takes is little fire in the eyes, lot of work and you deciding you’re going to do it. If you’re working this means long evenings and minimal social life. If you’re still in school consider yourself fortunate -Now you only need to skip classes and concentrate on building your service until it pays your salary and you can drop out, since the institution did its job, namely prepared you for the real world.
Partly, this is very likely much along the lines what happened with RunAlong.se. I met Heidi a while back in the 24 Hour Business Camp, where she was just getting started in building the service. Back then it was just her and one developer. Now she has a working service ready to go live.
So if you still have the urge to build your own Internet service, you just effectively ran out of excuses not to make the first steps tomorrow. To misquote Hugh MacLeod: “Ignore everybody, put in the hours, avoid the watercooler gang and keep your day job. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.”
Here’s Heidi telling about RunAlong.se at ArcticEvening in Copenhangen a while back.