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I'm too lazy to look at a pdf/table when the next tram is, so I did a windows widget that always tells me when the next one is. You can add, edit and delete trams to be watched.

I don't work for this company, but I have tried to make it as professional as possible and I even threw the company logo into the widget. I believe other people could also use this and I would like to send this to the company.

What's the best way to send it? Should I send photos, a video explaining the widget, the widget itself? I don't think they would pay me for this, nor do I expect this, but I'd love to make an internship there, if the spot is available. I could see myself developing an iPhone/Android app for the company, seeing that the only thing their app does is sell tickets and I'm sure other people would love to be able to see on their phone when the next train is. Even if they don't have an internship available, I'd still find it pretty cool if they made it available at their website and I somehow got credits for it. I think it's a pretty nice thing to have in the CV. But I wouldn't be interested if they are just going to publish it without any credits. What do you guys think?

By the way, only a couple of trains and stations are available, as I don't have their database and right now what I have to do is manually insert the schedule. But this is very easy to add/change once they provide it.

PS: Seeing this is career advice, to make it general, I guess the question is, how do I send software that was not requested, but could be useful, to a company?

PS2: I'm sorry that I couldn't think up of a short concise title!

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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The problem is there are too many folks out there today who would love to install a virus / backdoor in a public company by sending them an app that looks useful. So the company won't be able to accept this without proper testing/certification from their trusted sources. So getting it on their site has only the mail them and hope for the best option (or you could walk in to their office and show a demo ...)

Having said that, you could put this up on a public site and try the regular advertising options, and maintain it yourself manually. You might get enough users prompting the company to talk to you.

Finally, I would remove their logo. This can be construed as a violation of trademark.

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Really? I had no idea it could be that bureaucratic! It's a small company, I live in a city of 300.000 inhabitants. Thanks for the tips though! –  Bernardo Pires May 28 '11 at 17:09
    
@Clash, small companies don't like downtime either. Would you open anything anybody sent you in a mail? –  user1249 Jul 8 '11 at 18:17
    
+1 for "remove the logo", you might want to use it for the demo, but if you propose the app to others, with the company's brand on it, you'll get into troubles. –  Matthieu M. Jul 8 '11 at 18:21

I'd suggest releasing it under a permissive FOSS license. That would get the most attention, and would likely make it easier to convince the company that the app is safe and virus-free.

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There was a situation like this years ago with Go Transit, the government-owned commuter trains. They had no website at all, so someone put one up and typed the schedule in. I believe the popularity of that site led to Go finally getting one, and these days it's really good. So you could write to them and ask permission to use the logo in your widget, which will bring you to their attention, and then give the widget away on your own site for a while, and see what happens. If the widget is super popular, you could contact them again and say "this was super popular and I want to write it for more platforms but can't afford to in my spare time, can you fund it please" and see what happens.

Even if they write back and say you can't use their logo, you can still release the widget with just descriptive text like "commuter train schedule". At least where I live -- you might want to get some free legal advice from a "citizens advice bureau" kind of entity.

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Thanks kate, your answer was really helpful! I'll edit the topic when I get a reply back. –  Bernardo Pires May 29 '11 at 20:22

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