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2012/02/18

Maker vs Developer

I've noticed I have a tendency. I solve things once.

Let's take a specific example. Google Plus does not have RSS feeds. It does have an API, for which you can get a key, where you get a JSON output, and you can parse it down and push it into RSS. I didn't, at first, want to do my own stuff. There are a few people who tried to get into the game, but they fall down due to the limits put on G+ by Google.

So, I felt pushed to make it myself. In Perl, that's a little YAML to kick the API key out of the code so you can put it on Github, LWP to get the feed, JSON to parse it and XML::RSS to spit it into the desired format. I have it on a server somewhere. I want it specifically so I can put it into Google Reader, then plus the things I really care about, which ifttt then pushes out to my Twitter feed.

So, I'm the one who uses it.

Only me.

This could go on to Google+, Y U No RSS? but that isn't really the point here. The point here is that this, and similar tools I write, are designed to be things I want and end at being things I want. I think this is a very Maker thought. It's Adam and Jamie in their workshop, saying "I need a rig to drop a ball off a table, so how do I do that?" I have this problem. I solved this problem. I no longer have the problem. If you can do anything with it, fine. That's fine, but — and it pains me to say this — it isn't really scalable. Which is to say, it isn't a way to make scratching your own itch a business.

I do want to think more like an entrepreneur, trying to turn what can I do? more toward what can I do for others? which is how to make money off these things. This is why I liked the Greater Lafayette Startup Weekend. That's something that could be better for me.