Timothy Ferriss’ book “The 4-Hour Workweek” advocates the concept of a business muse. Because the ultimate goal is a high life style, one should try to keep as much spare time as one can fill with enjoyable activities, while generating a steady cash flow to support those activities. The idea is to build multiple companies, that can be automated or at least outsourced to a very high degree.

Keeping the Pareto principle in mind, he advices us to try and make 80 percent of the money with 20 percent of the effort, even to “fire” customers who cause too much work.

With a mashup, that displays real estate foreclosures in Germany on a google map, zwangsversteigerung.ma (Zwangsversteigerung is German for foreclosure sale) is an attempt to create such a muse by Jan Bromberger, a guy who studied in the same program as I did back in Munich. All its content is automatically taken from official court sites and used to build a search engine friendly page, while email notifications for stored search criteria is sold as a premium service. Payment is automatically processed via PayPal only.

Jan claims, that after four weeks of building the site with Ruby on Rails, he doesn’t invest more than an hour per week now for maintenance and the sporadic customer support (email only). Three more hours are spent on promotion. During the first month after the launch of the premium service, $1,700  were generated. Today it receives its traffic only from long tail search requests. This number is likely to grow as the site is establishing itself and gets more popularity…

Also quite in the tradition of the 4-Hour Workweek, Jan is a serial entrepreneur. You can find more on Jan and his projects here: http://www.janbromberger.de/portfolio