Unvalidated Ideas #022
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Online Timing Service / System of Record
The world is increasingly being automated and exposed via API -- companies need to know that their service agreements are being upheld. How do you prove that a certain operation happened at a certain time?
For example large cloud providers like AWS and GCP have SLAs but they're rarely held to it by smaller companies -- they routinely have status pages that do not reflect the uptime of their systems.
The problem is more general -- if I pay some service to perform some unit of work, how can I know that they did it at, before, or after a certain time?
Here's how the flow goes:
- User requests some work (digital, physical, etc)
- Service A reaches out to the timing oracle, requests a start code
- Service A performs the service
- The code is used to verify completion, with one of the following:
- (Optional) Service A uses the start code to request an end code
- (Optional) External Service B uses the start code (from Service A) to request an end code, after receiving a response from A.
- User receives their result with the start and end codes, and can verify when the operation took place
Build a timing service and system of record, so companies don't have to build ther own.
Corporations who would otherwise have to build a functional system-of-record don't have to build one if they can use your service (and possibly your authorized hardware!).
So where is your first customer? These industries stand out:
- Logistics and Shipping
- Blockchain (they love oracles for smart contract execution)
It probably makes the most sense to target logistics/shipping first. Figure out what systems people currently use, how bad they are, and whether you can sell someone on your solution before it exists.
Read my raw notes >
NOTE It might be tempting to go straight to building this -- but I'd like to remind you that market validation should usually come first.
The use cases are hard to imagine, and you need to find the person whose eyes light up when they hear of this idea. Maybe get in touch with a company like FlexPort and see if they needed a service like this (after you've built it of course, otherwise they'd build it themselves maybe!).
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