Monthly Archives: June 2007

Got a Good Gadget Idea?

I know what I’m going to be brainstorming about for the rest of the week.  :)

Celebrity Guest Post #2

A while back I posted a not-so-feasible idea outlining a way to tip site owners for content that you enjoy.  In the comments I got a great link to an awesome tipping site and in turn found a great blog run by a team of four entrepreneurs.  One of their RSDs (rock star devs) Reinier Zwitserloot sent me a very interesting idea this morning.  As someone who works for one of the major companies below, I know how important it is for companies to get “high potential” startups on their radar and open up a good channel of communication/goodwill with these guys.  Check it out and please contribute some feedback in the comments section!   

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I stumbled on a ‘startup’ idea of sorts that I don’t have time to do, 
but I think it’s at least relatively simple for the right people and 
could be lucrative. Unfortunately it’s better suited as a side 
project by a larger company, particularly one of the big 5 to make it 
easier to monitor and buy out other startups, or Sun or IBM due to 
their status as server providers.

Here’s the idea:

A fully catered, preferably somewhat sponsored (this is where the 
side-project of a big company angle comes in, they have the bankroll 
to do it), server park for startups.

here’s the issue: Any startup needs at least 1 rack computer and pay 
monthly colo fees. Even skimping heavily, you’re in the can for about 
800 dollars initial investment and then 30 bucks a month. For 
robustness you really need another off-site rack at the very least to 
receive backups from the main system.

This is somewhat unfortunate because most startup tank inside of a 
year, OR they grow horns and take off inside of a year, requiring a 
lot of time, money, and expertise to scale up. Either way the 800 to 
1500 dollar server + colo setup is either no longer needed OR 
inadequate.

All of these are more or less solved problems. The quick tank 
scenario is best handled by RENTING the whole machine, which some 
internet providers do allow but isn’t too common, and Sun, IBM, 
Google, and other companies have many experts on scaling web services.

Thus the idea:

Sun, Google, IBM, or a new startup sets up a ‘startup internet server 
park’. The basic deal is that you pay 200 dollars or so every month 
for the following resources:

A modern, capable machine with root access – no virtual hosting, the 
real deal. You also get limited access to an offset box for receiving 
backups. That’s a much better deal for startups compared to spending 
700 up front for a mediocre machine. Your money also includes 
insurance against massive traffic boosts – you get more servers and 
an expert to help you balance the load, plus a deadline to move on - 
to keep the focus on new companies instead of trying to host 
established ones.

Sun or IBM could really impress the tech world by doing this, plus 
they can make the future large companies of the web world already get 
acquinted with their hardware and preferred OSes. Google/Ebay-PayPal/
Yahoo/Microsoft/Amazon can create goodwill and closely monitor 
startups for buying out. The startups in question will already have a 
positive feeling with them for basically sponsoring the hosting.

Startup #67 – The Z List

zebra.jpgI’m a self-proclaimed Z-List blogger and proud of it.  Not that I don’t love each and every one of my readers, but it’s nice not to have to spend time begging for links or writing about popular topics to climb up the Technorati ladder.  I recently updated my feed to Feedburner (don’t worry, the old one still works), and I thought it would be fun to add the counter widget to show the number of readers I currently have.  You at home can count along with me.  And the best part?  You only have to use one hand!

Speaking of the Z list, today’s idea is a unique service that allows you to discover Z list bloggers based on the A list bloggers that you have in your feed readers.  Here’s how it would work.  First, the Z list bloggers would sign up for the service and choose up to three A list blogs that are most similar to their blog.  Next, users who are looking to discover new bloggers would upload their OPML file to the site.  The Z List algorithm would scan your current favorite blogs and return a Z List version of the blogs you currently read.  Users would be encouraged to rate the blogs, including the coveted “diamond in the rough” designation. 

As blogs get rated, they can move up the alphabet.  For example, if 10 people like your blog, you may get bumped up to the V List.  If 20 more people give it a good score, you may climb up to the P List.  It would be a fun way to get your blog out there and see how you rate against your fellow bloggers.

Speaking of moving on up…I’m going to be a professional blogger!  Well, not really at all, but my team at work is starting a blog and I’m going to be one of the writers.  It should be starting up in about a week, I’ll be sure to post the link in the blogroll.

Startup #66 – Snertification

microsoft_gold_certified.jpgWe’ve all seen the show.  Boy meets girl online.  Boy drives two hours to see her in person.  Girl turns out to be Chris Hanson. 

However, there’s another side to this story.  Thousands of people meet and fall in love online, and end up spending the rest of their lives together.  So how do you know if TechChick83 is a sweet girl looking for help with her Calc 102 homework or Larry, a 38-year-old life insurance salesman with a nasty overbite?

Today’s idea is a social network certification service (a snertification service?  Get it?) that allows you to prove to others that you are who you say you are online.  Users who sign up for the service would send proof of their identity to the snertification website.  Once the site was able to verify some basic information, the user would receive a logo they could place on their MySpace/Facebook/Match.com page.  If other users wanted to check that person out, they could click on the logo to see all of the Snertification details for the certified user. 

What are your thoughts on this one?  In general I see this being a paid service, where people could pay a couple of bucks to prove that they are the real deal.  Is this something you would pay for?

Another Idea Blog

http://inventions2license.blog.com/

See, this guy nailed what I’ve been missing all this time: the investor angle.  I think I’m going to take a line straight from his site.  For all you angel investors out there – this one’s for you:

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

 THE ATLANTIS ASTARTUPADAY TECHNOLOGIES ARE NOW AVAILIBLE AT

50 % EQUITY /

 100% GRASSHOPPER

for a limited time only … “DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY !”  

Startup #65 – Wadoozle

pet.jpgThe other day I mentioned a great article on TechCrunch about virtual goods.  This is going to be the next big way to monetize an audience, and I’ve been brainstorming ideas around this concept non-stop for the past few days.  Here’s a good one that takes an existing idea, adopted for the new Facebook platform, and monetized around the virtual goods concept. 

The basic idea is a virtual pet that lives on your Facebook profile.  To start, the user would install a Facebook app which would create a little egg on their profile.  Each day the user (or the user’s friends) would need to fulfill the basic needs of the pet (i.e. keep the egg warm) in order to keep their pet healthy and growing.  Over time the egg would hatch into a little pet.  The pet could be a little lizard, a bird, an alien, a puppy, etc..  The user would not get to choose the type of pet they raise, so users would be looking forward to the day their egg hatches and wondering what type of pet they will get.  

I won’t go into too many details about the standard actions – check out the Tomagatchi Wikipedia entry for more info.  However, there are a few things that would make this service unique.  First, users would be able to help raise their friend’s Wadoozles by playing with them or feeding them if they notice it is hungry. 

Second, there would be a Wadoozle store for purchasing special items for your Wadoozle.  Users would start off with a limited number of store credits they could use for purchasing basic items (like a little hat or scarf).  Of course, if you wanted to purchase something a little more flashy, you could buy additional credits and really spoil your Wadoozle with toys like a sports car or diamond-studded hamster wheel.

What do you guys think?  I kind of like the name “Wadoozle” – you can do all sorts of fun double-entandres like “Invite your friends to come pet your Wadoozle!” or “Play with your Wadoozle every day to keep it healthy!”  Heheheh…   

Watch This Video

I just bought a coffee table yesterday.  It was only $75.  But someday…it will be much, much more expensive. 

I cannot wait for the future.

Startup #64 – Teen Wolf Blitzer

teen_wolf2.gifI was listening to the This American Life podcast on my way home from work and they had a fantastically hilarious segment title about an Iraqi teen who talked with Western new correspondants.  The title was “Teen Wolf Blitzer”.  My first thought was “That would be a great band name!”

Speaking of things that are great, today’s idea is a site that is all about band names.  There wouldn’t necessarily be one centralized theme, but just a general hodge-podge of content. 

For example:

  • A Digg-like interface to vote on user-submitted band names
  • A band name creator wizard
  • A trivia game about the origin of unique band names
  • etc, etc, etc…

Anyone know the name of the band I was in during college?  100 gold stars to the first to post it below in the comments!  :)

Read This Article

Fantastic blog post on TechCrunch today: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/06/20/virtual-goods-the-next-big-business-model/

Virtual goods are a huge market – expect to see a few more ideas around this space coming soon.  :)

Startup #63 – Going, Going, Gong

chuck_barris.jpgI got sucked into some bad reality TV show last week that was based on the old “Gong Show“.  It’s basically a talent show where people get up on stage and perform for an audience.  If the judges like the person, they get to keep performing.  If they don’t like it, they hit a big gong and the person has to leave the stage.  Come on – who doesn’t love a good bit of public humiliation?

Today’s idea is a web-based version of that show with a bit of a twist.  Users would have the chance to perform via webcam and other users could vote to keep them going or give them the gong.  To get “on stage”, users would sign up for a spot and would appear on the main page on a first come, first serve basis.

One of the unique aspects of this idea has to do with the voting mechanism.  Normally users vote by making a single selection (i.e. 3 out of 5 stars).  What I’m suggesting here is more of a continuous, sliding scale.  It would be a long bar with a line in the middle.  Users have two buttons: thumbs up and thumbs down.  One click of the thumbs up would push the slider in the positive direction, and each subsequent click would push it higher and higher towards the best score.  After the button is clicked, the bar starts sliding back towards the middle.  If you really dislike an act, you’d have to click really fast on the “thumbs down” button in order to fully express your desire for the gong to ring and the current performer kicked off the main stage. 

Yes, the title sucks.  Anyone got a better name?  I’d love to hear it.