Back in 2019, I was brainstorming ideas for a business.
I already knew how to code in Python and knew the data stack pretty well.
At that time I was playing around with the Open Exoplanet Catalog dataset trying to find habitable planets. (Yes, I really did lol)
Then a few weeks passed and I found out about a side hustle called "Phone Flipping". Which consists of buying phones for a low price and reselling them at a higher price on sites like eBay.
I then decided to dig more so I joined a couple phone resale groups on Facebook.
And I noticed something, a recurring question from phone resellers.
A lot of them were asking others for help when appraising and estimating phone prices.
Asking questions such as:
Hey! I just bought an iPhone, how much should I resell it for?
I found what I was looking for.
A problem, now I needed a solution.
I knew that eBay was the main marketplace where iPhones were getting sold in the US.
And since I was into data science and I knew web scraping, that's exactly what I did.
I started pulling phone pricing data every single day of the week and running analysis on it inside a Jupyter Notebook on my Thinkpad X230.
I built an MVP in a couple weeks and released it to the world. Everything was built using Python and It was running on a local Debian Linux server in my bedroom.
This is how it worked:
- Pull pricing data from eBay using Scrapy
- Store data in text files
- Clean data and analyze
- Plot data in graphs inside Jupyter Notebook
- Generate PDF reports from Jupyter Notebook
- Send PDF reports using Gmail's SMTP Mail server
I had a free and paid monthly plan which I was charging $40 per month.
My first client was a Sprint store manager, when I saw that $40 deposited on my Paypal account I was the happiest man alive.
I then started sharing the pricing charts on multiple Facebook Groups every Friday morning.
I ended up with hundreds of free and paid users.
Then in 2020, the pandemic happened and I lost all my paying customers.
I took down everything.
I couldn't sustain it, it was too overwhelming for me.
I lost my business but I gained a ton of experience.
This is a short rewrite of another article of mine in Startup Stash.