My goal last week was to “finish backend and overhaul frontend”, which definitely did not happen.
My work on the backend unfortunately came to another dead end. I was trying automate the training of the AI so that I could just give it melodies and it would train on them with little oversight. It worked, but too inefficiently; it must be continually tweaked to work well, so the whole endeavor ends up taking even more time. For now, it seems it will be more efficient time-wise to train it manually. In other words, I think it will be more time-efficient to use supervised learning rather than unsupervised learning. (Which is perhaps an obvious outcome, but it was worth a try.)
So I’m already weeks behind! Schedule now looks like this:
- This week and next week: Finish backend and overhaul frontend
- Week 3: Soundfont and user account system, start releasing samples
- Week 4: Register company, install payment and analyctics systems
- Week 5: Set up trial, stress testing, front page update, and launch!
Admittedly, it will still likely take longer than that…
Questions about startup idea:
The last startup school webinar was about evaluating your idea for a startup, and included a number of good questions to ask yourself about an idea to help with that. Granted, I’ve already chosen an idea (AI music SaaS), but I thought it still might be interesting to answer the questions:
- Does your team have founder / market fit to work on this idea? I don’t really have a team, but yes, as a programmer and a music composer, I think I have good founder / market fit. The product is something I want for myself and would use.
- How big is the market for this idea today? I don’t know. There are other AI music services out there, but I don’t know how good their profits are. The market for music software in general, however, is huge.
- How big could it be in a few years? Again, I don’t know, but I haven’t seen any indication that it’s growing rapidly at the moment.
- What is the problem you hope this product will solve? Have you seen this problem first hand? How are confident are you that it’s actually a problem? For your users, how acute and frequent is the problem? Composing music can be time consuming; there are lots of creative decisions to make. It can also be difficult to get going if you’re just getting started or haven’t done it in a while. Yes, I have experienced this first hand. I know others have this problem as well, as my previous melody generating apps attracted some users. As for how frequent and acute the problem is, I don’t know; I’ll have to talk to more users.
- Do you have entrenched competition? If so, how will you beat them? Yes, there are a few competitors in AI music. I need to do some more research on them, but in my opinion, they’re of limited use, particularly because they do not generate interesting melodies. They’re output tends to sound either too random or too bland. My focus on melody may be a good starting point to beat them.
- Is this something you personally want and would use? Definitely!
- Did this idea only recently become possible, or only recently become necessary? Yes and no. The algorithms would certainly be possible to run on older computers, but they take time to come up with.
- If not, why has no one solved it before? The algorithms are not obvious, I suppose, even with popular modern AI paradigms.
- What are the proxies – large, successful companies that do something similar to this? I don’t know if there are any. None that I know of, anyway.
- Is this a problem that you personally care about? Is it something that you would be willing to work on for a long time? Yes and yes.
- Can your solution scale? Could this be a consulting business in disguise? Since it’s an SaaS, yes, scaling is possible.
- Is this idea in a good “idea space”? I think? I’m not really sure what the “idea space” for AI music is.
- How did you come up with this idea? Did you start with the problem or the solution? Started with the problem. In fact, don’t even have solutions to all the problems yet! But I think the solutions are reachable.
- Do you have a new insight about this idea, one that few others have? Yes, I think my approach to generating melodies is a new insight; I don’t see any other service offering decent melody generation at the moment.
- What are the current alternatives that people use instead of your product? Why will people switch to your product? How difficult will it be to get them to switch? I admittedly don’t know; I’ll have to talk to users.
- How will you make money? SaaS!
- If this the kind of business that has a chicken-and-egg problem (i.e., a marketplace, a dating site), how will you solve it? No chicken-egg problem here!