Archive for October 2007

We won’t call you. We won’t email you. We won’t bother you. Period.

October 2, 2007

Anyone ever been duped while trying to buy insurance or refinance your home on the Internet? One day you were quietly minding your business, curious, then for a couple of weeks you’re getting calls multiple times per day. The commercial said I’d “win” but I’m just getting a bunch of calls and they’re all offering the same lousy rates.

What happens is sales people are new or having a lag in sales, so they buy “leads” from these web sites. They might have paid $50 for your name and phone number. You, dear friend, are now a “warm lead,” which overrides your status on the do not call list, and now you’re fair game for awhile. You’re fair game and they’re cash out of pocket to find out about you. Expect some calls, maybe some hard sell.

I want to do something different. I want to take this whole dirty game and turn it on its head. I’ll explain below. For those in a hurry, I’m building this now. The site is called “House Chat Monkeys.” You can search for Indianapolis Real Estate now. Once I’ve built this site up and get regular traffic I’m moving on to building the chat. After that it’s on to a bigger town and then a rapid expansion into other markets.

So follow my thinking out loud here. What if I put up a real estate search engine of my own. Mine will be cool and all, but what if on my search engine my super charismatic talented agent wife could talk with you directly?

Ok, that sounds less cool. You’re getting hassled. That’s not going to work.

See because half the problem is that when you ask a question and give your email address out, someone is going to follow up. So you’re going to have to go to all kinds of trouble telling them you were just curious. No, you are not thinking about moving right now. No, you would not like a free report on the current value of your home. No, get lost. Better to keep your question to yourself, no?

So what if you can ask your question, get an answer from a licensed agent, but they can’t hassle you. They can answer your question, and for as long as you like they can help you search, answer your questions, but they can’t know who you are or your email address or your phone number. Now we’re getting into some cool uncharted territory.

What if my search engine had two paths. Path 1, search for homes, ask questions, get answers, meet real estate agents, they can’t bother you. Path 2, describe the home you’d like, a real estate agent starts searching for you and showing you homes. Agent not getting it? Try a new one. They’ll never know who you are.

Our motto would be: “We won’t call you. We won’t email you. We won’t bother you. Period.” Too many words. I need a better motto.

Are you a real estate agent? How about his motto: “We get paid when you get paid.”

I’m interested in technical help and capital. (317) 753-8526

Maybe later we can sell some cars.

My New Day Job: Data Backup Made Perfect

October 2, 2007

My new day job since I left the now defunct Progeny is working on delivering the most wicked cool data backup system I have ever seen.

It isn’t out yet, but it’s complete enough that we are mostly shaking out bugs now.

One of the main problems with backup to teh intarwebs is that everyone can see your data, and if there was ever a compromise of the remote server, someone would have your data forever.

So first of all, all your data is encrypted from the moment it leaves your system, and stays that way until it comes back to your system, to the point that if you lose your password, we can’t recover it. The advantage there is that there’s just no way for us or someone else to steal your data, even if they had physical access to one of our machines.

Backups should be incremental, so if only 5 things have changed since your last backup, only 5 things should have to go over the wire and be stored. That’s tricky when we can’t actually see your data, so our client is smart and figures all that out before sending us more data to store. The backup client is quite sophisticated about finding redundancy, so it saves you money and keeps our storage requirements under control, all while keeping your data under encrypted wraps.

I’ve grown a lot from working on this project. This is the closest I’ve been to shrink wrap software. Our client software has to run on the user’s machine and therefore has to be cross platform, Windows, Universal OS X binaries and 2 Linux architectures. While I’ll agree that python has been helpful in this regard, there’s still a LOT of work to be done beyond out of the box Python to get here.

And we need to be able to push updates out to all those platforms. I’ve come to appreciate the completeness of the Linux desktop platform. Between apt and dbus you can easily package up your software and have it restart itself when updates happen. On OS X and Windows we need to download, verify, and update our software ourselves.

All in all this is a fun project to work on, an excellent day job.