Newsletter #7: Trenitalia Scraper

This newsletter was originally published on the Revue platform, which Twitter (now X) killed after being taken over by Elon Musk. I now republish it here. My latest newsletters are on Convertkit.

TrenItalia - the Italian operator of high speed trains - uploads their schedule around 3 months ahead of travel date.

It’s not exact 3 months, sometimes it’s later, sometimes it’s sooner.

I wanted a ticket for Dec 24. And was eagerly waiting, my assumption that Dec 24 is a popular travel date.

My fear became reality.

I went to the website on average once per week.

This time the tickets were available, but most tickets were already sold out.

I ended up buying a significantly more expensive ticket.

Why am I telling you this?

As an aspiring founder, I’m always looking for problems to solve, especially in the tech sphere.

I can slam myself in the head for not realising a bot could scrape this website daily or bi-daily, and send me an email when tickets are up.

The idea was right in front of my eyes!

Out of frustration, I decided to built it anyway. I outsourced the scraping part, and I’m building the mailing part right now.

I don’t think the world is waiting for a Trenitalia scraper. But my karma says I have to solve this problem now.

Your biggest frustrations are your biggest source of ideas!

With that, I wish you a great week from the Lobby Lounge in the Four Seasons Bangkok!

Edit Jan 2024: I found out a couple weeks later that only this route had this particular problem, it never became clear why, but it reduced the broader usefulness of the solution even more.