Through a series of events that mostly consists of me forgetting to spend my vacation days, I'm off work for the rest of the year. Three weeks is probably enough time to at least start a project, right? Get a rough draft of it together and see if people are interested?
Here's what I'm thinking. Communication with your customers is vital when something goes wrong on their end and they need to reach out. That's fine for companies with dedicated Customer Support teams, ready to help whenever a question comes in. But what about for businesses without that? What about solopreneurs, micro-businesses, startups with just a programmer or two?
Back in the 80s, there were these things called Bulletin Board Systems. You would call into them with a modem, and special BBS software on the other end would provide services, in the form of games, message boards, mail, and so on. But the thing is, you were basically just phoning up some other person's computer. And sometimes, that person was sitting there in front of the computer, and you could do something that was really uncommon for that time frame.
You could chat with them, live.
The person running the BBS was called a sysop, short for System Operator. They could set a flag in their BBS software that would let the dialed in user know, usually in the main menu somewhere, that the “Sysop was available for chat”. And if you selected it, it would let them know that you wanted to chat, and open a two way communications screen and you could text chat about whatever, in real time.
The idea of sysop chat hit me the other day as I was researching potential projects for my time off. For small apps and services, chances are decent if you need support, you're getting it from the person running everything, just like the sysop was back in the BBS days. So, why not build a customer support platform specifically for those kinds of projects? And I'm (at least for now, maybe forever) calling it Sysop.
I'd like to keep this blog going as a diary of how this project goes down. Maybe it'll be interesting, maybe it'll just help me keep my thoughts organized. If you're reading this, I hope there's like 20 more posts underneath it talking about how I'm taking this thing from an idea and a nostalgic memory of the Good Ol' Days of 2400 baud, and turning into a real product that helps people.