1162
8 min 8 sec

Programmer Automates Profit With Birthday Reminders

A software developer celebrates when his automatic birthday greeting software gives him the ultimate present: extra monthly income.
Birthday Service

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What It's About

A helpful browser extension that remembers birthdays and sends greetings.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Coding & Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Wondering if you're unique idea might be a good side hustle? Here's what Steven has to say about the subject; "People will pay for the most random things. Just because you wouldn't pay for something doesn't mean someone else won't. If you can find a way to make a subscription plan, it's worth it."

Fun Fact

If you had a group of just 23 people there's a 50-50 chance of at least two people having the same birthday. In a group of 75 there’s a 99.9% chance of at least two people matching. This weird and wonderful statistic doesn't seem to make sense but is totally true.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1162

Back in 2014 Steven Braverman was fresh out of college and starting his new career as a Software Developer in Malibu. The company had an interesting culture in that they encouraged failure in all their employees. Their unofficial mantra was “If you are not failing, then you are not trying hard enough.”

Steven embraced this way of thinking both at work and outside it. He spent much of his extracurricular time working on and improving his skills. He decided the best way to do that was to think of a problem, then apply a new technology in creating a solution for it.

His only rules were that it should solve a problem he himself had and that he would spend at most two weeks bringing it to life...

It was a Sunday afternoon when he first gave birth to the idea of creating an automatic birthday greeting service. This was something he wished existed because he was always forgetting to wish his friends and family a happy birthday. The idea fit both of his criteria, so he poured himself a cup of coffee, lit the birthday candles, and began the exploratory work.

It wasn’t long before he had reason to celebrate.

What he came up with was a lightweight coded script. It worked like this; when he opened up his web browser and logged into Facebook it would check if any of his friends had birthdays that day. If so, the script would automatically publish a message to that friend's Facebook wall.

Fast forward to 2017 and a discussion with a friend led Steven to check his download numbers. He noticed that the extension had matured quite a bit and hit nearly five thousand users. He realized that this little tool he’d made was growing up.

The one thing he disliked about Birthday Buddy was that you had to be logged into Facebook for it to work. If you didn’t log in one day, the system wouldn’t know who had birthdays and wouldn’t send the greetings. This was a big problem, and one Steven thought he could solve with a bit more coding.

So, he pulled out the keyboard and got to work on Birthday Buddy once more. He eventually figured out a way to solve the problem. A user could create an account, link their Facebook profile and Birthday Buddy would automatically send greetings even if you weren’t logged in.

By the time he got everything set up, almost another year had passed and it was approaching the end of 2018. There was no party, no big show, instead Steven silently launched Birthday Buddy to the world.

And like the perfect birthday gift, he got exactly what he wanted.

Over the next few weeks Steven began receiving subscribers. One at first, then a few more and a few more after that. Over the course of the next year, more users signed up and by the end of 2019 he was making around one thousand dollars per month in subscriptions.

While nowhere near enough to go full time, the money generated has earned him enough to more comfortably spend money on the things he likes: two new laptops, software, and dining out. It’s a level of success worth celebrating.

 
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Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"People will pay for the most random things. Just because you wouldn't pay for something doesn't mean someone else won't. If you can find a way to make a subscription plan, it's worth it."
—Steven Braverman #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau