@andrewchen

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My second bad website :)

In a previous blog, I had mentioned some of the random stuff I’ve tried to build with my friends that really didn’t get anywhere. I also wrote, in an even earlier blog, how I screwed up my first website – that might be an interesting glancing at also, if you haven’t seen anything.

If you’re the impatient type, here are the slides for my website idea:
Download the PowerPoint: SwiftHarbor_Customer_blog.ppt (103.5K)

The story behind the slides
After trying to build some web stuff as a sophomore in college and not being able to even ship a small version, I realized that I probably needed some more industry experience. I spent 3 more years working on that, and eventually got good enough to know how to build some small things.

When I was 19, my friend Jake Kreutzer and I started talking about random things we could do to make money on the side, while we were both essentially unemployed. We brainstormed a bunch of stuff, and we ended up coming up with the idea of going to used bookstores, charities, and other places with lots of remnant “junk” and trying to identify the valuable stuff from the not valuable stuff.

Huge numbers of remnant books
The thing that was really attractive about charities was that they get a TREMENDOUS number of book donations every day. When I volunteered at a charity, I saw garbage containers literally 40-feet long filled with books and sold for scrap every day.

When we called up charities and asked them how many books they were getting per day, here were all the actual data points:

  • 22,000 books every other day
  • 4,500 books every day
  • 100,000 books every 3 months
  • 100 books per day (after they started explicitly discouraging book donations)
  • 60,000 books per week

We thought at this rate, at 10,000s of books per day in total, that we’d probably be able to do this as a nice side gig. The idea was to start with books and then try other donated items, like CDs, DVDs, etc.

… to be continued
I’ll write more about what happened after we came up with the idea – until then, flip through the powerpoint to get a better sense of what we were trying to do.

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