A Simple Plan

Posted in Software Development by Dan on February 17th, 2019

“You have customers, they pay you money for the product or service, and you get profits! It’s almost too simple to work.”

DHH

Build something of value and charge money for it. That’s the whole plan – minus some detail. No freemium loss leaders, no selling advertising space to the surveillance capitalism machine, just ask people for money and give them something worthwhile in return.

Since my previous post work and life have intervened to slow my progress, so there’s nothing to show yet as most of the code remains unwritten. The basic idea is to provide a SaaS product for managing sports tournaments – with a specific focus on social, youth and amateur tournaments. The kind of events that people give up their weekends to compete in. Events that the rest of the world takes little notice of but that are taken very seriously by those involved.

There are some products in this space currently but none of them are particularly compelling. Most tournament administrators seem to get by with a spreadsheet that they’ve cobbled together or inherited from some Excel wizard, handling registrations and entry fees is usually done manually, and often the only way of finding out what’s happening on game day is from the man on the crackly P.A. system in a tent on the other side of the field.

As somebody who has helped to run a couple of these tournaments and played or refereed in several others in different sports, I believe we can do better. Whether my idea of better resonates with the people who organise and compete in these competitions is the fundamental question to be answered.

Another question I’ve had to think about is who is it for? I’ve gone back and forth over whether to cast the net wide initially or stick to those sports I know well. After reading Seth Godin’s new book this week with its emphasis on addressing the smallest viable audience, I’ve opted for the latter, which means focusing on sports that have high participation in the UK to start with (most of these are also popular in other English-speaking countries outside of North America) – particularly football (soccer), rugby (in all its forms) and netball.

Over the two years or so that I’ve been ruminating on this idea, I researched over 100 available domain names. I ultimately decided that the word tournament should be part of the name and had a strong preference for a .com domain. Having registered my initial choice, and renewed it 12 months later, I eventually changed my mind and registered something else. And so the future of online tournament control is called Tournamenteer and will be found at tournamenteer.com.