How can we help local budding software firms with the new products they are trying to get off the ground? This is one of those questions along the lines of how can I use the resources within the service that I look after to help the local economy? In a legal way that is. We still need to adhere to the treaty of Rome for some time to come.
Having thought about it, perhaps one way in which we can help is with beta testing of their product. Helping to shape it.
They have had a good idea. The lean-start up approach suggests that it has legs and they have written the code. How are they going to test that it actually works? The developers are not best placed as they already understand what it is supposed to do. They need someone independent to give them it warts and all. A critical friend.
Perhaps that is where we step in. Could I use my service to beta test products that could be something we would use? Even if they are something that we are not in the market for at the time? Why not? Someone has a good idea and who am I to say otherwise. As a public resource though the least we can do is to try and support local enterprise and innovation. At least that’s the theory and so I shouldn’t have been surprised when someone asked us that very thing. They were developing a piece of software to fil a gap in the market that they could see and needed someone to give it a good go.
Now, it is a product that I had never heard of before, which I suppose is a good start and it fills a need that I’m not sure I have, which is more of a concern. I listened to his pitch and it took me a while to get my head around how we could help. In the end though we both thought of a few ways that would work.
He is going to drop me a note describing exactly what it is that he needs from me (or rather us) in order to test his ideas and while I am getting that organised he is going to polish off the software. I need to speak to a couple of people and get them involved as well and then we will be ready. Let’s see what happens. This may be the start of something exciting.