Coin in the Couch

So I've been thinking lately about how I can someday make a living with CouchDb, and one option is to try to build a real software company behind this thing. I'm not at all sure this is the path I want to take, but I'm also thinking about taking some external funding. That of course means I'll need some sort of a business plan, or at least, a revenue model.

Original Business Plan:
1. Build CouchDb.
2. Annouce to world "Look what I did".
3. People send checks for my total awesomeness.

I've been informed many people embark on a similar plan and it hardly ever works. So instead this is what I've come up with:

Give Away the Core
The CouchDb application server with simplified web based IDE. The idea is to make it extremely easy to build form and document based applications, with little development and zero database knowledge necessary.

This part will be open source, probably GPL or some compatible variant. Free to download, free to use, free to host.

Charge for Add-ons
Offline application client host. This is essentially a locally installed Couch application server that integrate with browsers. It allows users to bi-directionally replicate any Couch applications and data for offline use.

Advance server services. Server clustering and/or partioning can be enterprise grade add-ons. Management tools tend to also be a revenue maker.

The Hook
The idea is to let people freely install CouchDb server and create and share custom applications. CouchDb development will be very simple with little coding or planning required. The database is specifically designed for document oriented applications, making document application creation and customization simple enough for average office workers.

Once custom applications are built and put into use, people will have increasing needs for add-ons, like the ability take it offline. Sometimes a user will only be somewhere for a few days where they won't have reliable access, but that alone is often enough to justify the cost of a software license.

And then I got you. Mwahahaha!

Ok, this is just the roughest of business outlines. But I'd like to know what you think. Is this at all a good approach? What will I be in for I decide to look for funding? Should I take on a business partner first? Should I just not go the external funding route at all?

Posted June 20, 2006 12:39 PM