I'm pretty discouraged, I'm 37 and I've tried numerous attempts over the last 20 years to start a software business as a solo founder and none have worked. I've been working part-time to cover the bills while I work on creating the software I hoped to turn into business. My wife and I plan to start a family in the next two years, and I need to start getting serious here for my family's future. The industry is really hot right now, and I can make great money if I just get a full-time job.
I'm building a programmable PostgreSQL proxy in Rust. The idea is to make it easy to consume the replication stream so it can do query caching with automatic invalidation, and so that people can build custom partitioning, caching, or real-time features on top of PostgreSQL. The proxy part is implemented, but there's still a lot of work to add the replication and caching features, and to test and polish everything to production standards - databases are serious business. The project is on github here: https://github.com/riverdb/riverdb
I don't even know if this is something people would want or pay for if I completed it. And then there's the task of marketing/selling it, which is way outside of my skillset.
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Node.js & Browser SDK & React UI components for Elasticsearch.
I think you are probably spending too much of your time on software and too little time on marketing.
When I look at an open-source project, I ask myself three things:
1) What does it do exactly?
2) Is this easy to get started with?
3) Does it have any documentation?
For example, I have a use case for wanting to use graphql to communicate with elasticsearch. I google "graphql + elasticsearch" and somewhere a link to https://www.searchkit.co/ comes up. I look at it and I find my answers within 60 seconds:
1) Top of the page I see "Searchkit is an open source library which helps you build a great search experience with Elasticsearch. Powered by Apollo GraphQL." This makes me think that yeah, it's probably looking to solve a similar problem to me. In case I had any doubts, there's a demo.
2) Yes, easy to get started. There's a big "get started" button at the top of the page. And a get-started-video link at the bottom of the homepage.
3) At a glance, yes, it has decent documentation.
Given that I quickly got answers to these 3 questions, yes, I might consider using this project, or at least trying it out.
When I go to your page, I see:
1) River DB is a Rust connection pool and middleware proxy... ok... why do i need that? What problem is this solving? There's a long paragraph I can read after that, but when i'm browsing the web i don't usually read long paragraphs, so you've lost me already.
2) I have no idea how to get started
3) Doesn't look like there's any docs
Given the above, why would I use your software?
Note that the above has nothing to do with your software quality. But people only care about your code if things are breaking. Marketing material is what gets them in the door. For example, I use React all the time. I have NO IDEA if the underlying code is any good. And I don't really care. What I care about is that it's easy to use.
Anyway, long story short... if you want to build a software business, coding is maybe 30-40% of the job. Marketing, sales, documentation and all that jazz is probably the majority of the work. If you don't want to do that and you just want to code, then great, get a job. People will pay you good money for that.
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I really admire your ambition. It sounds like you are deeply technical person who understands issues of scale in a way most others don't. You likely also understand the business aspect of it deeply, even though you didn't articulate it here.
I think joining a company in the space is a good idea. I had a friend join https://aiven.io/ and they seem like they are a pretty great place to work. I believe they offer stock option compensation.
Having the context, technical capacity, and business context would be invaluable to a company like that. With your skills you may find it possible to grow into a higher leadership role which may equip you with the skills and insight you need for your own journey.
Once you've done time there you can set yourself up to circle back in 5 years and try again yourself.
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