Christmas in the dorms


It was a sad and quiet Christmas in the dorms. Most of the students had gone home - to spend Christmas with their parents, significant others and potatoes. Those left behind had gone to the Old town to get wasted. Only two guys had stayed in the dorms since they didn't have any money or friends with money. Or any real friends even without money for that matter.

The sad and miserable evening got even sadder and more miserable when Kristaps' laptop crashed and decided not to start again. That meant an end to the last frontier of Christmas fun - video gaming. "Jebal! This sucks!" with a slow sigh said Kristaps. "It's still better than Christmas with your stepmom and stepdad" Jānis tried to cheer him up. "You're probably right," admitted Kristaps, "but this still sucks." - "Yeah..." nodded Jānis, "if only we had some beer, our outlook on life would become much better." - "If only we had some money, we could buy some beer," Kristaps was unstoppable in his logic. "We need to finally start working on one of our startup ideas. That way we could make some money. And we could buy some beer," suggested Jānis, "Viktors is doing so great with the Sex as a Service idea that he stole from us. We should be enjoying the luxurious life in the Silicon Valley, not him." - "But where are we going to get another idea as powerful as SaaS? I haven't had an epiphany for months, even re-watching all seven movies about Steve Jobs didn't help," pessimistically stated Kristaps. "But I do have an idea that could potentially work!" Jānis praised himself, "in fact I'm pretty sure that I've found a niche which hasn't been properly exploited by anyone, despite being right there in plain sight!" - "Is it about sex?" - "No." - "Is it about alcohol?" - "Yes!" - "You're quite predictable, don't you know?" - "Hear me out before making hasty conclusions!"

As it is typical for an ambitious yet inexperienced wannabe entrepreneur, Jānis began pacing around the room as he talked: "Everyone is familiar with those eat-as-much-as-you-can-per-fixed-price restaurants. You pay a set amount of money which is slightly more than you would normally pay for one meal, and you can eat as much as you can. However in practice you won't eat THAT much, considering the capacity of your stomach. Plus the food isn't the biggest expense position for restaurants anyway. However, " - the pace of Jānis walking increased with every word, as did the waving of his arms - " there's no such thing for drinking. A place where you pay a fixed price and are allowed to drink as much as you want to for a fixed, but rather brief period of time. Let's say - 15 minutes. I read this newspaper article about a new museum of moonshine opening in Daugavpils, and that lead me to this concept - after you finish the tour of the museum, you get three shots of moonshine included in the price. And if you want to go on (and obviously you do want to continue!) you can pay a set price for an unlimited number of moonshine shots during a limited amount of time. Hence the name of the concept - Shooting Range!" Jānis triumphantly finished the sentence and sat down again.

At first Kristaps was stunned. The idea sounded good. "Drink all you want!" was one of his lifelong dreams. And he knew immediately that people would be willing to pay for such a service. It could be an awesome addition to stag parties, a very different way of ice breaking for company team building activities and maybe - even a good first date. No, the last bit did not make much sense. But then he turned to skepticism:

"Where's the point? If you have the money to buy that much alcohol, why don't you do that simply in a shop where it is cheaper? And drinking that much in 15 minutes - where's the fun in that? You'll just end up puking all over yourself, and that will be perfectly wasted alcohol. Plus we'd have every goddamn conservative all over us because according to them we would be leading the people to alcoholism. Which would be sorta true."

"I see your point," without much enthusiasm complied Jānis. "Certain aspects of this still need to be worked upon. However I still believe this is a good idea. The potential market is enormous. And in order for people to fall for this and not just buy generic booze at the liquor store, we could offer thematic drinks at the Shooting Range - for example, mulled wine for Christmas. What's great about this form of startup is that the monetization model is right in your face - you charge people for drinking. No freemium model. No upgrade packages. No in-app purchases. No app whatsoever for that matter. And this means - no need for coding skills. All we need is to make a Wordpress page and to get the first bottle of moonshine. Minimum viable product is as easy as it gets!"

"When you put it like this, it does sound nice and easy," responded Kristaps. "But where do we get the first bottle of moonshine, considering that we don't have five cents between us right now. And when we get it - how do we ensure that we just don't drink it ourselves but invest it in our business?"

"Stop putting my ideas down! We will make it, because we are passionate about what we do. Nobody handed anything to Steve Jobs on a silver plate - and he still became the greatest man in the Universe!" Jānis decided to employ the lazy reductio ad jobsum fallacy which you can use in any life situation where you don't have any real arguments in your favour.

"Oh, ok. I get your point," there was nothing that Kristaps could counter to the strongest trump in the deck, "if we are doing it the Jobs way, I'm with you."

Thus began the story of If you haven't heard anything about it just yet, don't despair - one day, I'm very positive about it, it will be launched as a private alpha version, and only then it will fail completely and entirely and will be forgotten for all time.