Monthly Archives: May 2007

Startup #54 – Lindz, Brit and P-Hilt Virtual Bobbleheads

brit.jpgI don’t know if anyone actually calls Paris Hilton “P-Hilt” but it sounded good in my head. 

Aight, so people love celebrities.  They love to watch celebrities, they love to read about celebrities, they love to dress up their twin poodles like the Olsen twins

Aight, so people love Facebook.  They love to browse Facebook, they love to post to Facebook, they love to dress up their twin poodles like Facebook.

Let’s put the two together, shall we?  Today’s idea is a Facebook widget featuring a hot celebrity that pulls in the latest news, gossip, pictures, videos, etc..  The widget would feature a hee-larious bobblehead caraciture along with links to the latest info about the celeb.

One way to make this a little more interesting is to offer limited-edition bobblehead widgets.  For example, you could offer a special bald Brittney bobblehead for the first 500 users.  Users could trade or sell bobbleheads to other users, and build up valuable collections of their favorite celebs.

Whatcha think?  Don’t forget, only two hours left in the big contest!  Hurry up and send an idea, any idea…trust me, it will be the easiest $50 you will ever make.

50th Idea Spectacaganzalations Contest – Extended!

Due to unpopular demand, I’m extending the deadline of the contest until midnight tomorrow (Thursday, May 31).  And to sweeten the pot a bit…what the heck, I’ll throw $50 to the winner via PayPal (standard sweepstakes rules apply – not valid where contests are illegal in your country).  Here’s a repost of the contest – hurry up and send me those ideas for some easy money!


Yeah, 50 ideas!  To celebrate, I wanted to kick-off a contest for all my favorite readers (that’s you!).  It’s pretty simple really.  I’m going to post a list of five domain names.  All you have to do is choose one of the domains and come up with a killer idea for that site.  When you come up with something, shoot me an Email at by midnight next Tuesday (5/29) Thursday (5/31).  I’ll post the top ideas, and also give a prize out to the one that I think is the best.  Winners are judged on the perceived value of the idea, originality, and humor.

Make sense?  All right, here are the domains, get ready to brainstorm:

Good luck!

Startup #53 – Stealing is Cool

coke.jpgQuick,  click here and check this out.  It’s from the CapitalAI blog, just discovered it yesterday and it rocks.  Mark is like me, but with a bigger brain and better way of taking things like words and like actually putting them together in ways that like make sense and stuff.

Anyway, to celebrate the discovery of an interesting new blog, I’m going to steal one of his ideas.  It’s #18 on the list – cell phone advertising.  In case you haven’t been paying attention, the biggest acquisitions that have been going on in the tech world have nothing to do with all these cool little Web 2.0 sites.  It’s all around the ad network providers.  DoubleClick to Google for a cool 3.1 BILLION dollars.  aQuantive for $6B to the guys who sign my paycheck.  Pretty wild stuff.

At the end of the day, ad companies are all about subsidising valuable services.  For instance, Google provides the valuable service of Internet search in exchange for viewing a few ads.  Network TV and radio serve up ads in exchange for producing <ahem> quality <cough, yeah right> content.  I dig it – I’d much rather ignore/subconciously consume a few ads instead of paying a monthly fee to Google.  Which got me to thinking…if we can subsidize *services* with ads, why not subsidize *products*?

Here’s my idea – a platform that allows users to subsidize the purchase of a product in exchange for a few ads.  Quick example, let’s say you were going to buy a cell phone.  You have two choices:

  1. A typical cell phone that has a customizable background/ringtone for $199 + $40 per month for service
  2. The new CokePhone that has a choice of 25 phat Coke backgrounds, and a ringtone that plays the song “I’d like to buy the world a Coke“.  In exchange for a little sellout action, you can get the phone for free and save $5/month on service.

What about a $100 refrigerator that displays ads through a small panel on the front of the door?  A half-price washing machine that has a digital, rotating ad on the top of the lid?

What do you guys think?  Scary, eh?  Sounds pretty crazy, but within the next 100 years I guarentee someone is going to make a killing off this concept (someone = Google?  MS?).

Startup #52 – Show Me The Money

thai-50f.jpgWhy can’t US money be all colorful and interesting?  Anyway, today I was reading an interesting post on Techcrunch about rolling out a free streaming music service.  I checked it out and fell in love with the concept.  If you haven’t heard of it, their core functionality is CD swapping (think P2P Netflix for music).  I dig music and typically purchase several CDs a month.  Instead of paying $10-$15 per CD, I could use LaLa and get new music for $1.75/album in exchange for trading some old discs that are just gathering dust on my shelf.  That’s a good $30 a month I could save – sweet!

I started thinking about my newfound extra cash and thought about how many other money-saving services are out there.  Which leads to today’s idea.  It’s a site where you can enter in the amount of money you pay each month for various catagories (music, movies, phone, TV, web hosting, video games, etc..), and it would return a list of websites that could help you save money, along with the total monthly savings.  Here’s an example of how it might work:

  • Music – $40
  • Movies – $20 rental, $25 theater
  • Phone – $30
  • TV – $50 (stupid Comcast!)
  • Web hosting – $10 (I heart GoDaddy)
  • Video Games – $15

And here would be a sample result

  • Music – (save $30)
  • Movies – Netflix starter package (save $5)
  • Phone – Skype + headset (save $40)
  • TV – (save $50 - can be used to pay your pending legal bills)
  • Web hosting – GAFYD/Office Live (save $10)
  • Video Games – No savings here (GameFly would show up if costs were over $20)

Total savings: $135/month

What do you guys think?  Let’s hear from you…yes, I’m talking to you…put down that turkey leg and gimme some comments.

Happy Memorial Day!

Whew, had a nice long weekend in the grand ol’ state of Montana.  I’ll be back tomorrow to kick off the summer with bunch of new ideas.  I can’t wait, all you out-of-towners don’t know that there’s “nothin’ better than the summer in the Northwest“.  Especially this one.  :) 

Startup #51 – Tickle Me Emo

lolcatsicons_small1.jpgI don’t even need to really describe this idea, the lolcats on the left say it all. 

OK, maybe a little explanation is in order.  Humans have a ridiculously advanced ability to visually perceive emotions. For example, think of the cognitive horsepower that’s involved when looking at the lolcats emoticon picture.  Surprise, laughter, happiness, and fear - all expressed through both cat faces and characters.  Pretty amazing if you’re dorky enough to stop and think about it.  It’s not just visual, we also have an incredible ability to connect emotions to music.  And yet, we still have a difficult time putting our exact emotions into words. 

That’s where today’s idea comes into play.  It’s a Pandora-like site that ties together pictures and music based on emotion.  Here’s how it works.  While users are listening to music, they are shown a running slide show of various pictures.  As the pictures scroll by, users choose the pictures that have the same emotional impact as the song they are listening to.  If a user sees a picture that fits the mood that they are in, they would be able to choose more music that matches that picture.

Got a good idea for  Write it up, send it to me (kleneway_AT, and you could be a winner! 

50th Idea Spectacaganzalations Contest

Yeah, 50 ideas!  To celebrate, I wanted to kick-off a contest for all my favorite readers (that’s you!).  It’s pretty simple really.  I’m going to post a list of five domain names.  All you have to do is choose one of the domains and come up with a killer idea for that site.  When you come up with something, shoot me an Email at by midnight next Tuesday (5/29).  I’ll post the top ideas, and also give a prize out to the one that I think is the best.  Winners are judged on the perceived perceived (except after c!) value of the idea, originality, and humor.

Make sense?  All right, here are the domains, get ready to brainstorm:

Good luck!

Startup #50 – MySpace for Chad Vader

Three things I think are hilarious (besides this):

  1. Chad Vader
  2. Ask a Ninja
  3. Jesus Christ’s Blog

What do all these sites have in common?  They all take a fictional character (kidding, JC, you know you’re my boy) and put them in an everyday situation.  Come on, a ninja as an advice columnist?  Darth Vader as a cashier at a grocery store?  Comedic gold. 

Today’s idea takes this basic concept and goes one step further.  The proposed site is a satirical social network that is comprised solely of fictional characters or fake celebrities.  Users would fill out a Facebook-like profile as if they were, say, Dick Cheney or Lindsey Lohan’s Second Cousin (who never really talks to Lindsey but pretends like they are best friends).  The fake Dick’s and LLSC’s can then write blogs from their character’s point of view, send messages to other characters, or post Twitter-like real time status updates.

What do you guys think?  Am I the only one who wants to know what Leonardo from TMNT thought of last night’s Dancing with the Stars performances?  Or the play-by-play of Aunt Jamima‘s wild night out on the town with Betty Crocker and Mr. Clean’s ex-wife?

Startup #49 – Six Degrees of Innovation

kevinbacon.jpgOK, stick with me on this one.  Back in September, the folks at Dogster (a social network for dogs) convinced a lot of smart and seasoned investors to give them 1 million dollars.  It’s a simple idea…and it’s easy to see how these guys came up with it based on the success of MySpace.  Before MySpace, would anyone ever have thought to give 1 million dollars to fund a social network for dogs?  Of course not.

Now let’s go back to MySpace.  It doesn’t have an exact value, but it’s worth well over one billion dollars.  Again, a simple idea: a social networking website.  But only 15 years ago, before the Internet really took off, nobody would have imagined that a social networking website would be worth 1 billion dollars.

One more step back, to the Internet as a whole.  How much revenue is the entire Internet generating?  I have no idea, but it’s a heck of a lot.  Go back 30 years, when Bill and Paul were sitting in their Harvard dorm room, and not even those guys could have imagined the size of the opportunity in front of them.

The long-winded point that I’m trying to make is that in order for something to be the Next Big Thing (NBT), there has to be a Current Big Thing (CBT).  Once you have the CBT (i.e. MySpace), then it’s easy to make the leap to the NBT (i.e. Dogster).  But what about the Next Next Big Thing?  Or the Next Next Next Big Thing?  In order to come up with these scenarios, you first have to make a leap to the next thing (i.e. the first degree of innovation) before you can come up with the next next thing (i.e. the second degree of innovation).

All right, still with me?  Good, because here’s the idea.  It’s a site that allows users to start with a popular idea and come up with future scenarios which other users can then build on.  Here’s a quick sample to demonstrate:

  1. The base idea is IPTV, interactive TV broadcast over the Internet
  2. User A proposes an idea for an interactive TV show where viewers answer trivia questions
  3. User B builds on that idea, an interactive TV show where viewers answer sports trivia questions
  4. User C builds on that idea, a mashup that combines live sporting events with the interactive sports quiz show
  5. User D builds on that idea, a live basedball game delivered over IPTV where you can connect a Wiimote-like device and swing along with the pitches
  6. User E builds on that idea, a company that offers insurance policies to any Wiimote-wielding players in case they lose control of the Wiimote and break their TV

As you go deeper into the degrees of innovation, it becomes a powerful way to start brainstorming things you may not have thought of on your own.  Also, users can vote on the various ideas so the more popular ideas stand out, and users can identify those ideas that are most likely to be the strongest bases from which to build subsequent ideas.

I’ll be honest, if I had the time to build out any of my ideas, this would probably be at the top of my list.  Which is probably why I’m not a real entrepreneur.  Tomorrow’s a big day – #50!  Be sure not to miss it, big annoucement coming as well.  :)

Startup #48 – Resume IPO (with mockup!)

resumeipo_logo.jpgIn honor of the unveiling of Seattle entrepreneur extraordinaire Bryan Starbuck’s new venture TalentSpring, I’m dusting off one of my half-baked ideas from last year called Resume IPO. 

First, though, let’s start by talking a little about TalentSpring.  I’ve only gotten a quick look at it and the simplest possible way to explain it is “Digg for resumes”.  They’ve nailed some key details – I think it’s a great idea with solid execution and a strong team at the helm (TechCrunch agrees). 

ResumeIPO was designed to solve the exact same problems but with a different approach.  For employers, how do I get the best recruits?  For job seekers, how do I stack up against my competition?  While TalentSpring relies on a system where the users must rate 12 resumes before their information gets posted to the site, ResumeIPO has a free market approach.  Users would get a set amount of fake money to start, and could invest it in resumes that have potential.  Of course the resumes that got the most investors would generate better returns, and the individual with the highest return for the month would get a prize. 

Here’s a unique feature of this site that I really like.  Once you invest in a resume, you then have the wiki-like ability to make changes to the resume.  You could invest in a resume that has a lot of potential but issues with spelling, grammar, presentation, etc..  This would add a little more strategy to the game and would also allow job seekers to get some help crafting the perfect resume.

Here’s a mockup of the idea: resumeipo_draftv5.jpg