I have recently started making a new web application called RemoteBase. It is a collection of the best remote companies and remote jobs around the world.
The above picture is my current progress since I began working on it two days ago.
I have recently moved on from my last project Vym because it was not going anywhere. Having launched it at the beginning of April, I could not get a single active user so far. In this article, You can read about what I learned from this experience.
Anyway, I needed a next project. After a discussion with Jack, who is sort of mentoring me at Fishburners, I decided that I should build something that I am proud of, will enjoy building, and will make money.
I made a list of problems that I will enjoy solving:
- nomad lifestyle/remote work
- social dynamics/dating
Recently, I have been dabbling with some prototypes in social dynamics/dating field but there was one problem. I was not proud of the products I was making. I would get fired up for the first 48 hours and then the passion would rapidly subside because I wouldn’t want to put my name on my own creation.
After failing to continue with those prototypes, I decided to solve a problem in remote work area. I experienced some problems in this field before when I was searching for a remote job last December.
The problem is that there is a knowledge gap in the remote job market. Remote job seekers need to know something much more than what is included in a job description in the remote job listing.
What do we need to know about a remote company?
The possibly isolating nature of remote work makes it necessary to look at some of the following things before applying for a job:
- Communication method: slack, email, phone, SMS, IM? How do the teammates communicate with one another?
- Does the company organize regular retreats?
Also, as a coder, I want to know as much as possible about the technology stack, collaboration method, and developer culture. For example, does the team do morning stand-ups? Does it have sprints?
Of course, I can spent some time researching these aspects of companies I am applying for. But I would rather spend my time doing something else than manual research. I want to blend all this remote job specific information into one place.
In this light, I think maybe something like Pieter Levels’ NomadList can be beneficial for remote job seekers. It would be nice to have a go-to destination to find out everything there is to know about remote companies so that remote job seekers can make informed career decisions.
Following advices from makebook.io, I decided to test the idea as rapidly as I can. I made a spreadsheet of remote companies before I wrote any code.
I shared it on Reddit /r/telecommute and /r/digitalnomad. Not much responses, but I was getting a constant influx of visitors.
Due to the lack of feedback, I don’t know if what I am building is truly useful. I don’t have a conclusive data to prove that it is. Having this in mind, I have to focus on shipping a viable product as soon as possible.
By the way, the spreadsheet was so heavily vandalized within a day it went live. I had to disable editing and start working on the web app.
Before I disabled the public edit, someone added a company to the spreadsheet. I would have left it open to allow possibly more participation from the community, but doing so seems a pipe dream in the Wild West that is the Internet.
Will it make money?
One obvious monetization strategy that comes to my mind is selling ads. Native ads might just work on this kind of platform. Another strategy would be to sell the ability to post jobs on company’s profiles and charge monthly.
An app without business model is a charity, and I do not intend to build a charity. I am trying to think of many possible monetization strategies as I am writing the app.
It is not possible to tell which strategy will work. I will therefore have to rapidly learn from the users and implement the best strategy while I have some runway left.
My goal is simple. Create something that people will use and I can monetize.
Also, I am trying hard not to lose originality in design and thinking. I don’t want to build yet another clone of NomadList. Although the idea of RemoteBase is somewhat inspired by it, I want my product to have that little spark that only I can instill.
Everything has a spark of soul. Some call it anima mundi. That is perhaps what makes or breaks a product. We need not invent something completely novel or groundbreaking to make a product work; but the product must have that soul spark.