One for the Little Guy

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Motivation

Those who may know me know that I was recently laid off. During that time one of my uncles gave me a challenge I could not refuse, “Could you put all of my customer contacts in a computer?” I was intrigued because I thought everyone put information that valuable in a database for lightning quick look-ups. I was also in need of money so I jumped at the chance to help family.  After further discussion, I found that he had a worse problem, no website.

Persistent Problem Needs a Solution

While I took up the cause to place the virtual placard for his business on the web, the first problem was still knocking at the door of my mind persistent and unyielding.  I starting thinking about how many times this problem has been solved and wouldn’t solving it be like reinventing the wheel.  So I looked at other solutions but none of them really wanted me to jump up and say, “Eureka!”  I even thought of just using MS Outlook to solve the problem.  On further internal discussions, MS Outlook is actually almost perfect for their needs.  Even storing directions to the customer’s homes could be done in the notes section.

Solution Found

Well now that I figured it out, it is only a matter of implementing the plan putting in notebooks upon notebooks of customer data into MS Outlook.  That thought exercise was a  lot of fun and now I can get to the business of Java development.  My uncle is a small business owner who doesn’t need to have access to enterprise level software.  In fact, some would saw he doesn’t deserve it.  Wait a minute!  The only thing that is small in a small business is the number of workers in the company.  Everything else is big, why can’t software grow with the company too?

New Solution for a Old Problem

The answer to the question is money.  An enterprise class solution gets enterprise class money.  Not everyone can afford enterprise solutions because they all don’t have enterprise money coming in.  Even those that have the money are told by busy, honest consultants that they don’t need it.  They say things like, “Use Outlook” and go on to the next project.  However, to show future employers what I can do, designing a enterprise PIM (Personal Information Management) software would be a good way to do it.  It is familiar enough to identify, but not as simple as “Hello World.”  It also can be solved in a number of ways.  I could make a solution that is strictly for an enterprise but that would not be for the “little guy.”  If I could form a solution that can run on a single PC just as well as a network that would be for the “little guy.”  Then people like my uncle can dream big and have a solution that can grow with them.

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