Monthly Archives: March 2007

Just 1 vote in for $50 contest – ends at midnight tonight!

OK.  So there are only 7 2 hours left in the Find the Fake contest and there’s only been one vote submitted.  Here’s your chance to win!  I’ve posted five startup ideas this past week – four of them are real, one is a fake.  To enter, just post a comment on the idea that you think is the fake, and at midnight (PST) tonight (3/31), I’ll have a random drawing to choose a winner out of all the correct guesses.  See this post and this post for more details.

Here are the ideas:

Still stumped?  I’ve buried a few clues throughout my posts. 

Here’s another one: It’s related to a NeverEnding mmog Game

Good luck!

Startup #16 – Inspiration Engine

I was going to post an idea about a Twitter add-on that shared your favorite music tracks, but Pluggd beat me to the punch.  Well played, Pluggd.  Well played indeed.  Instead, check out this idea for an inspiration engine for designers.

Imagine you’re a designer who is looking to come up with a slick new design for your latest Web x.0 project. You’re out of ideas and need some inspiration ASAP. Last month’s design magazine was a bore and you don’t have time to run down to IKEA to find your creative muses. Instead, you head over to the Inspiration Engine website where you get a random sampling of some of the sickest, dopest, most sweetly-designed sites on the web today.

The site would prompt you to install a simple toolbar (similar to StumbleUpon). To find inspiration, you would click a button and you’d instantly be whisked away to a (precached) site with an amazing design. You could vote if you like the site or not, and move on to the next random site when you are ready. The sites would be chosen by a team of professional designers, and users could submit new sites to be added as well.

That’s it, all five entries are in.  Can you guess the fake?  Guess correctly and you could win $50 worth of free advertising on Steve Poland’s Ringside Startup site.  You’ve got until 10pm Saturday to make your choice – just post a comment including the word “fake”, only one guess per IP address!

Startup Case Study: MerchantOS (and Jamglue rocks!)

I had the extreme pleasure of attending a monthly meeting of the Seattle Tech Startups group recently.  For any of you 206 geeks out there, you should definitely check it out.  Lots of smart people, fun demos, and great content.  

This time we got some demos - my personal favorite was JamGlue Jamglue.  DO NOT go to that site unless you have several free hours to remix music on the baddest-assedest flash app Continue reading

Startup #15 – IamCool.com

You’re cool. Why not make some cash off your popularity? Let’s say you’re a hardcore MySpacer. You’ve got hundreds of friends and tons of visitors each day. You’re a marketer’s dream – getting a widget on your page can start a viral chain reaction. That can be extremely valuable to the widget owner. And since you were instrumental in getting it into the public eye, why shouldn’t you get a piece of the pie?

My idea is a platform where widgeteers looking for an audience can post their widgets and offer a cash-per-click rate. You choose cool (or high-paying) widgets to display on your site, and for each user that clicks-through, you get paid. The best part? The MySpacer doesn’t need to embed each widget in their site by hand. Instead, they do a one-time embed and the site automatically feeds the selected widgets to your site. You’d be able to swap out poorly performing widgets and pick hot new ones as often as you want through the IamCool site.

Still need help visualizing this one? Think AdSense for widgets.

One more day in the contest!  Fake?  Guess correctly and you could win $50 worth of free advertising on Steve Poland’s Ringside Startup site.  If you’re stumped, check out some past blog posts – may just find a hint or two…

Startup #14 – Coughr.com

cough.gif

Health insurance companies lose billions each year due to people heading to the emergency room over the slightest cough or runny nose. Anything that could save even a few trips to the doctor could be very valuable to the right company.

The idea behind Coughr.com is simple. Cough into a microphone and the site tells you whether you’ve likely got a bad case of bronchitis or just need to hock a quick lugie. While the front end looks simple enough, it would use advanced signal processing in the backend to look for tell-tale signs of various diseases. It would also have a few simple questions to help reduce the chance of a false diagnosis.

Don’t have a mic?  No problem!  Just dial 1-800-COUGHRR, wait for the prompt, and cough away.  You might get a series of yes/no questions to answer, and then you’d receive your preliminary diagnosis.

OK.  I’ve had some bad ideas in the past, but this one really blows!  Is it a fake?  Or is does it just plain suck?  Guess correctly and you could win $50 worth of free advertising on Steve Poland’s Ringside Startup site.

Startup #13 – House Party 4: The Return

One of my new year’s resolutions was to insert at least one Kid N Play reference into a casual conversation each day.  Does this count?

Anyway, quick background for this idea.  Back in the day we used to throw big parties where we’d basically open up our craphole college house, turn down the lights, throw up the music, and party.  Over the years I fine-tuned my party throwing skills into an art form.  First you had to build the buzz by crafting a humorous Email to blast out to 500 of your closest friends, along with a VIP invite to the cool kids.  Timing was key (Wednesday evening) and whatever you do, don’t forget to bcc!  Then you need to decide how many kegs/cups/ice to get, put together a playlist of music (very key!) taking into account the theme if necessary.  There are plenty of other little things that can make or break the party (lighting, keg placement, etc..), and when it’s all over you need to clean up and figure out all the money stuff.

See where I’m going with this?  It’s a party-planning site that walks you through the details of throwing the ultimate house party.  The site would be broken down into various functions, roughly what I outlined above.  Users could network with their fellow party throwers to share their playlists, techniques, themes, etc..  The key is bringing it all together in a fun way that also adds a ton of value. 

The inspiration for this idea came from the Kegulator.  Check it out, it’s a great little site.

This one is so bad it’s gotta be a fake!  Or is it…?  Anyone interested in joining the Christopher Reid Fan Club?

Find the Fake prize update and Steve’s new gig

Big news today – Steve Poland of the Techquilia Shots blog annouced that he’s starting a new venture called “Ringside Startup“.  He’ll be taking one of his ideas from his blog (which was the inspiration for this site) and developing it into a fully-functioning web startup. 

I personally think it’s a fantastic idea.  To help him raise the necessary funds to get started, I’m going to change the prize for this week’s “Find the Fake” contest – the winner will get a $50-level sponsership in his/her name which can be used to plug a website, send a message, whatever you choose. 

A quick note: for legal reasons I’ll actually be the one making the donation and posting the sponsership, but I’ll ask the winner for suggestions of what name/domain and message to post.  I know, it’s stupid, but gotta play by the rules, eh?

I’d definitely encourage you to check out the site and if you’ve got the extra cash, throw a little in Steve’s direction.  Think of it as tuition into a really interesting college course – Ideapreneuring 101.

Startup #12 – Number One Super Cool Fan Club

Have you ever dreamed of being the president of the Bob Saget fan club?  What if you could be the one to start up a fan club for that local band that’s going to be the next big thing?  How about member #5 of the I Heart Bald Chicks fan club?

The basic idea is a site where you could join fan clubs or create your own.  They could range from serious to stupid, everything from real celebrities/bands to a fan club for the cute girl that copies your math homework.  Popular clubs would be elevated to the front page and club members would be able to interact using all the typical social networking features.

Overall site design would be very kitchy – maybe either a psuedo-japanese-game-show theme or a late-80′s Tiger Beat theme.  Also, there’s easy money to be made by selling t-shirts, oversized buttons, framed certificates, etc…

Anyone interested in joining the crappy ideas fan club?  Think this is a real idea or a fake?  Vote now for a chance to become a featured sponsor on Steve Poland’s new Ringside Startup site.

Contest: Find the Fake

I’ve got a few more juicy ideas coming up this week, but I’m also going to throw in one fake startup idea just to spice things up a bit.  I know, I know, most of you are thinking “But Kevin, all your ideas suck, how are we going to know which is the fake?” 

Fair enough, so let’s have a contest.  One of the five startup ideas for the week of March 26 – 30 is going to be a fake.  If you think you’ve spotted it, post a comment that contains the word “fake”.  Next Saturday I’ll take all the correct guessers, throw them into a hat, and pick a winner. 

A few quick rules:

  • Only one guess per person.  If you guess more than once, all entries will be thrown out
  • There are all kinds of crazy legal rules around contests that give away something of value.  I’m not a lawyer.  So don’t expect anything great for winning.  :)

Hope you all had a great weekend, thanks for reading and good luck!

Startup #11 – Snap It Now, Buy It Later

(6/2/08 – Update: check out this video! http://scan.jsharkey.org/)

Picture this scenario. You’re at Best Buy and you want to buy a printer, but you hate the idea of paying the retail price and think you can find a better price online. You just pull out your cell phone, take a picture of the UPC bar code, and text the pic to a memorable shortcode. The system reads the code, searches an online shopping database (such as Froogle), and replies with a text message detailing the top online prices and retailers for that exact product.

This is a classic “win/win” scenario. Consumers have a simple way to save money on major purchases, and online retailers have a way to deliver their products to users who are looking to purchase that exact item. This solves a major problem with buying products online: you can have as many pictures as you want, but nothing beats going down to the store and checking out the product yourself. 

Additional features could include the ability to purchase the items directly from your cellphone, online reviews of the product sent to your phone, or the ability to log into the website and access a list of all “scanned” items along with the links to the most inexpensive options.

I gotta say, I actually like this one.  Any other sites out there that are using this camera phone/UPC scenario?  What about a good name?