I suppose like anyone who spends a great deal of time online and who makes a living from the web I occasionally spend time dreaming up my own web businesses, imagining life as the founder of a start-up and becoming wildly successful doing something I genuinely care about. Then I realise someone else has already had the idea, is doing it really well and anyway do I really have the drive to make something like that happen..
That said 2008 is the year of living dangerously for me! I have quit the security of my University of Bristol contract and have plans to set the freelance world alight! Well not really – hopefully I’ll get enough freelance work to get by and still have enough time to really focus on one of these start-up ideas – see if I can’t at least get it off the ground. Its not one that is going to make me rich but I think it could be fun – and it combines two of my favourite things – the web and beer!
The core of the idea is a weekly, ten/fifteen minute video show reviewing different real ales, ciders etc, with occasional reports from beer festivals (both small and large) and visits to breweries, filmed on location at a good local real ale pub. The presenter would need to know his/her beer but also have the kind of personality that appeals to a younger audience – the target of the site is not the traditional CAMRA crowd but people a little younger. I actually have someone in mind – an old friend from uni who is now a Master Brewer in Cheltenham – he is a born performer as well.
The site would aim to build a community around the videos – offering visitors the chance to add reviews, comment on videos, contribute to listings of beer festivals. Using Google Maps for various mashups around pubs, breweries, festivals etc shouldn’t be too hard and I’ve even though short Twitter reviews using hashtags might make for some interesting content as well. Getting involved with ‘real life’ communities as well would be a big part of it – especially targetting Student Union Real Ale societies and smaller, niche festivals.
I think the potential for sponsorship from smaller breweries is there – especially once any kind of audience is attracted. Like I said I doubt it’ll make anyone rich but should do well enough to fund itself reasonably quickly.
I will try and build the site using WordPress and make use of as many open source or freely available tools as possible and I will of course stretch a number of friendships in order to get free help!
I’d like to do as much of the work as I can – the only things I’m sure to pass on is the hosting and I’ll need some help with the design work – everything else I figure I’ll learn as I go!
I’ve been mulling these ideas for quite a while now but they crystalised at FOWA: Miami (http://futureofwebapps.wordpress.com/) after seeing and hearing the buzz around Gary Vaynerchuk and Wine Library TV (http://tv.winelibrary.com). Despite initially finding him hard work he speaks alot of sense and has built a real following by taking a down-to-earth approach to talking about wine – something I think real ale could do with learning a lesson from!
The Carsonified team recently ran a Start-Up clinic workshop (http://carsonworkshops.com/start-ups/) that covered the dos and don’ts of running a start-up and I think I’ll see about attending if they do it again – I figure I’ll need all the help I can get!
Oh and in case you didn’t guess the site will be called QuickPint – I already own the quickpint.org domain and currently use it for my Tumblr blog but I have grander plans for it longer term!
Anyway it may be crazy posting this publicly before I’ve really got started on it – but its not like there are loads of people reading this blog so I figure I’m safe enough!