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Craig Petterson

Side Projects continued...

Following reading the 101 side projects article from @anthilemoon, I thought I would share my current, growing list of ideas I might never attempt to implement. I started writing these ideas down after reading MAKEBOOK - which I still haven’t completed, as per @levelsio advice, I started making instead. Although, I’ve still stumbled and not fully released any of my side projects.

I’m currently building The Cake Pays, a quote builder platform for cakes and bakes. Although, after discussions with my initial user base, a slight pivot is required. ANYWAY… where was I? Ahh, yes, here is my list of “problems” that could be transformed into side projects:

1) Client discussions

There is too much disparity between clients, managers and makers. Meetings are poison for productivity but Clients and Managers love them - it makes sense, they want to know what they are paying for. Makers want to be left to make and get their creative juices flowing.

2) Bug Hat Selector

Our company randomly selects “bug hats” per day based on who is at the table when we have our sprint kick off thingy-jig. Ignoring the fact this splits up a developer’s week, we sometimes hit issues when people are off or two people are pairing. Obviously, this kind of “pick a random person” could be used for many situations.

3) UK VAT Submission bridging software

HMRC have released Making Tax Digital into the wild. We were looking into making a separate, self-service application that would deal solely in VAT Submissions.

4) Ethical products, rating system

A database of rated, ethical products so user can find suggestions of new apps that meet certain criteria or are recommended, eg; an email service.

5) Anonymous feedback

It can be difficult to talk openly and honestly at work, even with positive feedback. I’ve been looking for a way to share positive sentiments with my team, but sometimes it feels weird to pull them to the side and tell them in person. This is especially true if you find it difficult with social interaction.

6) Anonymous wages

It’s difficult looking for jobs when you don’t know how much your really worth - trust me, it’s probably more than you think. What’s worse, is not being sure what the market average is or having a baseline to compare to.

It would be cool to have an open database that collects how much you make, where you’re from and what industry you’re in would be great for people to see if they’re underpaid or aiming too low (or too high) in the market.

7) Subscriber

An app that lets you subscribe to other things but prevents you getting spam with marketing emails.

8) Work In Progress

I like making “product build threads” where I write what I’ve done to help keep me accountable and progressing. Keeping this separate would allow us to keep an easier-to-find record, for referencing or updating as we go.

9) Best Meeting Time

Pick the best day and time from a calendar to satisfy or fit as many people as possible.

10) Productivity / TODO app (yawn)

Keeping productive with what I need to do today.

11) UK Car Pool

Carpooling isn’t really a thing in the UK, but Merseyrail sucks! So much! Why not all travel to work together and split the costs?

12) Booking System

a) College/University Admission system

During University, we had a project involving this that I always thought was interesting, but never got round to building.

b) Cinema booking system

Odeon only lets you book online using 1 limitless card. It’s annoying. I typically go with another person who also has Limitless and it’s infinitely frustrating.

13) Memory list

Log good memories to review when you’re down.

14) Pic-A-Day

Those year long flip books of pictures are amazing. It’s great to keep a record and see progression.

15) Food dairy

Slimming World has this concept of syns. Their food diary is horrific, but the idea of keeping track is so useful. It would be great if we could list the food we’ve eaten and it automatically counts syns, calories and sort in the specific categories to help keep us healthy and on track.

16) Habit tracker

Monthly “resolutions” with small, achievable goals.

New year’s resolutions are incredible difficult to keep. The problem is that you have to keep up this new found good habit for an entire year!

17) Non-zero Days

/u/ryans01 posted an incredible reply to a post on Reddit - well worth a read. The idea is to make every day count, even if it’s just doing something small.

Ryan’s idea was essentially tapping into 3 hobbies by setting up your goals to make money, keep you in shape and let you be creative.

18) Today I Have

Where I work currently, we get trial days to build a “Today I Have” app, which is a great way to give a trial a specification and something tangible to build in a short space of time. I’ve always wanted to expand on this just to see what else could be added to it, but mostly to keep accountable.

Makerlog is a great example of this, and I’m incredibly impressed with @matteing for his recent Wellness update.

19) Inventory / Stock control

Does this need explaining…? Fine… keeping track of what stock you have and how much it’s worth.

20) Time tracker for invoicing

I often get lost in the world of making. How long did that feature take? How much do I need to bill for again? It would be great to be able to time work we do and link that together on a per project or per client basis.

21) Rocket League Rankings

I play Rocket League (or did until earlier this year). I never knew how close I was to the next rank, not really or what my win ratio was for my current session. I just like having access to some cool stats, which explains a lot about my personal habits page.

22) Image requests from non-technical users for events

A place to upload pictures for anyone to share if they were at an event. Preferably with no log in or technical experience required to use.

This was first posted on Twitter by Nate Berkopec and I really like the concept.

23) Cheese board

My god. Cheese is the greatest (I resisted this pun…) thing ever.

Over Christmas, I went to a market in London, where I had the best sales experience and walked away with a magnificent set of cheese and chutneys.

It would be great to replicate that online (although sadly without tasters) and provide selections and recommendations of cheese and chutney combinations.

24) Multi-host chat app

I hate having many different apps for effectively the same thing. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, Slack, Discord, Google, Telegram, the list goes on… It would be great if they could all be collated into one place where we can send and receive all messages.

25) Amazon ShopperBot for Slack

At work, we have an Amazon channel. People post something they want to be added to the shopping list and - if it’s not ridiculous - it gets bought. The problem is, someone has to keep track of what actually gets bought through the clutter of jokes, spam and general chat that happens. This chat bot would need to allow this person to easily keep track and find what is on the list with a simple command.

26) Pagy Tables

I love Pagy for pagination, but tables often need much more. Pagination, ordering, searching, exporting, customisation. There is never a single place to achieve all of this. There are examples that are close, but something is always missing from what I want.


Huge thank you to anyone who read this and gave me some pointers. Particularly @anthilemoon for the feedback :)

(I should have posted this on 24th March 2019, but here we are…)