Monday, October 06, 2008

Escape Text

Update Final : I have closed this down. Works fine but I can't see how it would ever pay. Think I'll be able to cope with my loss of my £2.47 investment.


Have there been times when you've wished your mobile would ring so that you could escape from a meeting ?

Thanks to Stan Industries you can escape in three easy steps
  1. Send an empty text message to ????????? (+?????????? if outside the UK - it should work anywhere in the world; please could someone with a non-UK mobile try it.)
  2. My computer will phone you back. As soon as you answer, it will hang up.
  3. You leave the room pretending that you're on a call.
Give it a go. It costs only the usual price of a text message and is only very slightly immoral. Let me know if it worked, and tell me what it was you were escaping from.

Text Stan.

Update 1.0

This application is running on my second-best computer at home which is rather ancient and produces a wicked amount of fan noise, so I'm going to switch it off at nights. So you'll just have to feign a heart attack if you want to get out of an uncomfortable meeting in the small hours.

My plan was to see if anyone would use the service for free, then if there was sufficient interest I would move it onto a premium rate number so that I could actually get some revenue.

My costs are very low :-

* Machine : old computer that was gathering dust - £0.00
* Software : all free - Linux, Skype, SMS Tools, some self-written Python code - £0.00
* Internet Access : using my home connection so no extra cost - £0.00
* Mobile hardware : old Nokia 6230i, otherwise gathering dust, with the USB cable that it came with - £0.00
* Mobile service : Cheapie SIM card from Tesco - £2.47
* Outbound calls : I use Skype (an internet phone service) and my program hangs up the phone in less than 1 second, so I am not charged for the calls - £0.00
* Inbound SMS : You don't pay for receiving text messages - £0.00
* Electricity : my biggest cost - not sure how much it costs to keep an antique PC and mobile phone juiced

So I wouldn't need much revenue to make a profit, but I have a sinking feeling that only-a-few people would be willing to pay not-very-much for this service. I suspect the Dragons in "Dragon's Den" would laugh me out of the room - let me know what you think.

Update 2.0

My ex-colleague Fiona has successfully tested the application with her German "Handy", which just goes to prove that my potential audience is everyone in the world who owns a mobile phone - about 2,000,000,000 people. I'm not greedy - I just want 1% of them to sign up and for 1% of those to pay 10p for the service every day.

That would be £20k per day - anyone who's been in IT for a while knows this kind of false business case only too well - it's how Web companies got such absurd valuations during the dot-com era.


Fiona said...

It worked. Sadly I was only testing it as I am not important enough to be in any meetings at the moment, let alone need to get out of them. Great idea, though!

Kenny said...

Stan -- you need a marketing man. I'm available for 2% of your turnover (a miserly £400?).