Houston #24 - There's a big opportunity to redefine data science tools

Find great problems to solve.

Hi, there 👋 This is Houston issue #24 and here are the five interesting problems that we found this week:

It's incredibly hard to contact your users via WhatsApp

If you're a developer, you know how incredibly hard it can be to use WhatsApp to contact your users, collect feedback, send notifications, etc.

Facebook group migration is incredibly inefficient

“Is there any product that makes it easier to migrate a Facebook group and invite the members to @SlackHQ, @discordapp, or other chat platforms? It is the one thing that keeps some people from deleting Facebook” via Pedro Souto

Switching between email/text and calendar to find a suitable meeting time is a bad experience

"Would love to see a calendar app with this workflow:

  • take screenshot of meeting request (text, email)

  • open screenshot in calendar

  • calendar parses screenshot context and populates event" via Victor Pontis

I wish I could get articles read to me similarly to how I listen to podcasts

"There are so many articles that I want to read online, but I simply don't have time given my commute. I wish I could just listen to interesting articles in the same way I listen to podcasts. I know that apps like Pocket let you do this but is computer narrated, so it sounds weird. I would definitely pay a small monthly subscription to get access to the top articles from the New York Times, New Yorker, TechCrunch, etc. narrated to me."

Jupyter Notebooks (tools data scientists use) could be a lot better

"With the rise of all of these 'prosumer' applications like Superhuman and Notion I am surprised that we haven't seen a modern and elegant tool to substitute Jupyter notebooks. The data science market seems to need a de facto tool in the same way designers have Figma and Sketch. Some interesting features to differentiate it could include seamless collaboration features, support for your IDE, etc."


If you find Houston useful, then please send this email to a friend. Let's see and share more great problems to solve 🙌


🚀Houston+ is a weekly addition to Houston where we go more in-depth into the market opportunity, current solutions, and potential challenges of every problem we publish on Houston. It's $5/month and the best way to support this project(:

Houston #23 - We're back! Well Kind Of...

Find great problems to solve.

Hi, there 👋 This is Houston issue #23 and here are the five interesting problems that we found this week:

Minimalism is one of the biggest trends but it's hard to get started

"I am really getting into this whole idea of minimalism because one of my really good friends is into it. I feel that there's this broader trend of minimalism going on thanks to Marie Kondo, the minimalists, Instagram aesthetics, etc. But I don't know where to start?... It does feel that there will be a category leader that takes over this space in the way Headspace did for meditation."

Quora for personal healthcare.

“Seems most sites are split between disparate forums peddling "bro-science" and informational sites run by providers.” Via Sam Cash

A Pocket or Instapaper but for design components

"Request for tool: I want a chrome extension that will capture components I see out in the wild that I like. Still trying to figure out the best way to facilitate this workflow." via Peter Zakin

People Ops as a Service for Remote Teams (multiple problems to solve) "

Every remote company is figuring out nonsense like this themselves. From payroll, insurance, taxes, benefits, etc. just hiring people in various US States is a huge burden (forget about international hires)" via Phil Freo

Aggregating feedback from users across channels is still a pain

"Request for Startup: Tool for synthesizing customer feedback and issues from email, reviews, dedicated support systems, etc. and making it available to the development/product teams" via Max Child


Quick Community Updates

  1. Surprise! We're back! We're incredibly sorry for disappearing for the last few weeks. We have a lot of updates so buckle up!:

  2. Did we die? You might know that there are two peeps behind Houston. For the past couple of months, we've been working incredibly hard on a new project/product and that has made it really hard to work on anything else (including Houston). This is not an excuse but we wanted to keep you in the loop ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  3. Houston: we will continue to send weekly newsletters in the format you love. Period❤️

  4. Houston+: we're changing the format! Based on the feedback we received we think it might be a lot more useful for you guys if we focus on highlighting key trends that will open up interesting problems to solve (e.g. Machine Learning → Data Labeling) and going deep on one problem. The current format elaborates on a lot of the problem but it might not provide a lot of depth/insights. If you're a subscriber please reply and let us know what you think. We respond to every email! New email format goes out today! Thank you so so much for your patience as we figure this out(:

  5. This week was YC's demo day! The bad news is that it made impossible for us to post. The good news is that a lot of the problems we listed this week (and maybe next week😉) are heavily influenced by some of the emergent trends we saw last week. Enjoy(:

If you find Houston useful then please send this email to a friend. Let's see and share more great problems to solve 🙌


🚀Houston+ is a weekly addition to Houston where we go more in-depth into the market opportunity, current solutions, and potential challenges of every problem we publish on Houston. It's $5/month and the best way to support this project(:


Houston #19 - Gift cards are useless, finding coding gigs is hard...

Find great problems to solve.

Hi there 👋 This is Houston issue #19 and here are the five interesting problems that we found this week:

I want to have a website where I can find coding gigs

"Being between jobs or on a longer holiday I really missed a platform where I could find coding gigs/projects. Not freelance work but just a project for a single website or app with a fixed price.

As a dev, you often get questions for making an MVP, a website or an app. But often I don't have time until a holiday or being between jobs. I want to have a gig board that I can just visit and see projects that I can complete for a fixed price."

Gift cards are a pain because I either have money left in the card or I just don't care about the store

"I got a $25 gift card at work for In-N-Out [American restaurant], and I felt a little pissed to be honest because I will never be able to use it because I don't like that place. I wish I could just take the cash. Overall the gift card experience can be a lot better." The gift card market is a +$300B with little to no innovation in the past 30 years.

There's no easy way to search and analyze trends on Google Trends

Google Trends seems like a very promising product, but unless you know what you're looking for, it's hard to find interesting insights. I wish that there was a tool that would aggregate relevant trends and would allow me to easily search for relevant keywords rather than having to guess what may or may not be trending.

Finding Spotify playlists can be incredibly frustrating

"So I Iove finding great Spotify playlist, but it's not friendly. It would be great, for example, to find playlists that contain song X AND song Y (or based on two artists). Is it just me?" Music discovery (specially as it relates to lyrics) is still incredibly broken.

There should be a way to generate a simple invoice automatically

There is no way just to use an API or something like that to generate a PDF invoice automatically after payment. The only solution seems to be by using PayPal or Stripe which have APIs, but then you have to go through their system and can't just give the customer an invoice.


Quick Community Updates

  1. Sorry for the delay on this issue. This past weekend was the 4th of July weekend in the U.S. Houston took a well-deserved break 🇺🇸

    ice hockey astronaut costume GIF by NHL
  2. Based on your feedback we decided to stick to the weekly set of 5 problems. Power to the people!(: (if you prefer one in-depth problem every week please hit reply and we might reconsider)

  3. We've decided to stop working on the Houston.do site (in its current form). It was a great experiment but we realized that doing a daily set of problems lowered the quality of engagement and problems that we could curate for you guys. We want to focus on quality > quantity. However, this experiment inspired us to start building a cool tool that we think you will like a lot. More info on that coming very soon(:

  4. We're working through your submissions to last week's announcement. We will try to get back to everyone but we still have a lot of submissions to go through!

If you find Houston useful then please send this email to a friend. Let's see and share more great problems to solve ❤️


🚀Houston+ is a weekly addition to Houston where we go more in-depth into the market opportunity, current solutions, and potential challenges of every problem we publish on Houston. It's $5/month and the best way to support this project(:


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