I have spent most of this year building an internal product at Credit Karma:
The greatest thing about coming up with such a product idea is that after the first delivered version – you start coming up with other ideas that either aid and abet such a product – or you come up with other product ideas altogether. But this product is a mere “child proof of concept”. It is the tiniest seed of what is on my mind these days. But it is complete as it is and fully usable. It has gotten steady and growing adoption – and everyone who works with data at CK has told me how important this is.
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This experience this year was fantastic – and my mind is swimming with ideas that go WAY beyond what I designed and built at Credit Karma – and I am way ahead of anyone in management – in fact too far “out there”. This is a really good thing – but I feel like a very frustrated “inventor”. Now I know how Tesla and Armstrong felt when they had a set of ideas that were largely overlooked – until after they spun off this mortal coil. Timing and contacts seem to be critical – I’m not sure if that means “luck”? But the key lesson here is not to get frustrated – because the frustration I am experiencing means that I know the idea is solid – and worth being passionate about. In a word – it is filled with possibility.
Oddly, (or maybe not so oddly) – my work a year ago “inventing” the URAT and “Mod Bob” influenced this – not because they had anything to do with this subject matter wise – but because it trained me to think in terms of designing a product – not just an “app”. I fully know the difference now – and this is exciting. This is why after 38 years in the field I am actually MORE passionate about what I do than ever.
The most important questions I have kept in my mind:
Now I also completely understand how products like Oracle, PeopleSoft, Workday, SQLBase and SQLWindows, Informatica and Salesforce became what they are / were – and guess what? I worked with the principals of all of these companies when they were the new products on the block. Some of these people were designing their products while doing contract work for the government (Oracle), and some were designing their next generation product while maintaining their old product (Integral – PeopleSoft – Workday).
My new product idea(s) have the technology and even a business plan (currently in my head). Now all I need is a VC to believe in me and back (fund) the development of my ideas!
I might just be an inventor . . .