I developed a superior product. Now what?

Discussion in 'Business Ideas' started by foodstamps, May 25, 2013.

  1. foodstamps

    foodstamps
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    Hey everyone, I'm new to this forum and am looking for some advice.

    I just completed my masters degree in Geography. For my thesis project, I developed an address matching script which matches input addresses to an authoritative dataset. The script successfully managed to match a very high number of addresses compared to the software used for parallel testing. After completing the thesis, I've found that it actually outperforms nearly all of the existing software that I've used for comparative purposes (those that are CASS certified by the United States Postal Service, no less).

    I've now been pressed by friends and family to patent this script, and either a.) leverage my understanding of address matching to find a job in that field, b.) sell the patent, or c.) develop my own CASS certified address matching service.

    I would love to do option c, but these are my concerns:

    • I have limited programming experience
    • I would have to recruit a team of developers, database administrators, web developers, etc.
    • There are a number of CASS certified products that already exist, so the supply of this service is pretty saturated (not to mention potentially declining)
    • I will not know where my script stands until I perform parallel testing on all existing services (I think roughly 20 currently exist)
    • There will be a big up front cost to development
    • CASS certification looks like an arduous process


    I loved working on this project, but am considering a second masters in Computer Science before seriously considering any of these options.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Rocky

    Rocky
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    It's great that you made something better than the standard ones.

    If you think your product is better than you should go for it, As far as cost is concerned you can get finance from investors but since you say that the market is saturated you need to assess the earning potential of your product and if it can be sold since there are already established ones in the market.
     
  3. Fergal

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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum foodstamps and thanks for posting your business questions.

    Sorry but I'm not familiar with the type of software you have developed, you say that it "matches input addresses to an authoritative dataset" can you please give a little more info on the benefits of that and who might use your product?
     
  4. foodstamps

    foodstamps
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    Rocky - I agree. If the service is already heavily provided then it may not be worth the effort. However, if I can demonstrate to potential clients the advantages of subscribing to my service over those of my competitors, this problem could become a non-issue.

    Fergal - Data linking is an important component of master data management. Consider a merger/acquisition scenario - a company may acquire an address list of the clients of the acquired company, which they will want to append to their own. To avoid listing the same client's address twice, records will have to be deduplicated. A preliminary step to the deduplication process is normalizing the data, so that records containing the addresses 'North Main St Apt #3R' and 'N Main Street 3R' will both point to the same address.

    Address matching is also the primary step within the geocoding process. If you want to retrieve the XY coordinates of an address, and project these coordinates onto a map, you will first have to match your input addresses to the authoritative dataset containing all of the addresses of a given area and their corresponding coordinates.

    Hope this helps!
     
  5. thealchemist

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    I'm not really sure of exactly what the product does that you've created, but it sounds amazing!! I say follow whatever your heart is telling you to go; and don't worry about the "how's", just remember that "What ever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve." You already most of the way there! :)
     
  6. bobsmith

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    I can't speak to the product because I am not really sure what it does.

    But I can tell you how we manage out intellectual property and it is not through patents.

    The issue with patents is that you have to disclose all of the code. Since that is the only thing you have of any value, you don't want to share it. Once you release it, anyone can copy it and you really have no way of enforcing it since you will never see their code.

    The same is true for registering copyrights. We only do this for coding such as javascript which is open and accessible and people will be tempted to copy.

    Building a business around something like software is a big deal and it does not sound like you have the experience to do that.

    Any business is complicated and if you miss one element, the whole business is done.

    Lets say you missed some of the legal issues associated with accounting, you could lose everything. Or you are not able to market the product, 99% of business fail with great products because they don't have the skills and money to sell it.

    So my advice would be to license the technology to someone that can use it. Take a percentage and then move on to the next thing.

    Too many people spend their whole lives trying to turn something into nothing and never give up until it kills them.

    Running a business is hard.

    With something that specialized, it will be even harder than say, selling mattresses, which everyone needs.

    So look for companies that need the technology or sell that type of technology and license it and let them do the work while you make more money that you would chasing a dream.
     

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