agraddy.com (Anthony Graddy)

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Startup #3: FeedRiv.com - Simple RSS Feed Reader

FeedRiv.com

Startup #3 has officially launched! FeedRiv.com is a simple RSS feed reader that lets you tag and rate items. I use FeedRiv to track freelance developer opportunities. The open source code is available on Github: DashboardQ FeedRiv.

  1. Overview
  2. Inspiration
  3. Drawbacks
  4. Schedule
  5. Next Steps

Overview

The goal of FeedRiv is to provide the tools needed to quickly filter RSS feeds and pull out the most important information. FeedRiv allows users to rate individual feed items. Those ratings are then used to provide an "auto rating" to future items. The list of items can be sorted so that the items with the highest auto rating appear first in the list.

Along with ratings, the system also provides a custom tagging and filtering system. Users can create tags and then apply them to individual items. There are filter links so that users can then filter the displayed items that have been tagged. For example, you could tag items where you want to respond with "To Respond" and then when you have time to respond, you can filter the list to only show items with the "To Respond" tag.

Inspiration

Blogs and RSS feeds were very popular between 2005-2013 when the Google Reader app was launched and free to use. During this time I would often use Google Reader to track freelance contractor jobs from Craigslist. I would subscribe to all the major metro areas and look for jobs that matched my skillset. Eventually Craigslist fell out of favor for posting freelance job opportunities and Google Reader was shut down in 2013.

The freelance marketplace Upwork still provides an RSS feed of the jobs in the marketplace. One of the really nice things about the RSS feed is that you can filter it so that it will only show jobs that match a certain criteria. Even though you can filter it, there is often still a lot of jobs that come through that don't match what I'm looking for. A while back I created a simple bare bones app made just for me that would further filter the Upwork RSS feed.

When I start the 12 startups in 12 months challenge, I knew that creating an RSS feed reader that matched the functionality I needed would be one of the startups I would launch. Although RSS has lost a lot of popularity over the years, it still has a fan base and is still regularly used.

Drawbacks

FeedRiv is mainly designed for my own needs. It has a number of limitations that could be improved. Some of the basic drawbacks are that the interactions are not fully integrated. For example, when you archive an item, the item is removed from the page but the item counts don't change until you reload the page. This could be improved with additional coding but I had already spent more time thant I had anticipated on this project and it was meeting my basic needs. I'm not expecting a lot of people to use this project so spending a lot of time on features that didn't bother me too much did not seem like a wise use of time.

One of the biggest ways RSS feeds are still used is with podcasts. Podcasts use RSS to broadcast episodes. I don't have any plans to use FeedRiv as a podcast player so at this time, it does not have the functionality to display/play podcast episodes.

Schedule

The launch of this project is well outside of the 12 months for the 12 startups in 12 months project. I was about halfway through with this project when the 12 months were up. Even though the 12 months were complete, I wanted to finish the project I was working on.

One of my next goals is to write a wrap-up post summarizing my experience doing the 12 in 12 challenge. Even though I wasn't successful, I would highly recommend it to anyone with a lot of ideas who can't figure out which project they want to focus on.

Next Steps

Along with the wrap-up post I mentioned, my future plans are to focus on marketing MetricRiv and instead of building more apps, I'm considering reaching out to potential customers before building anything to get customer feedback from the very beginning. Sales and marketing are my weakest skills and I really want to work on improving those skills going forward.