Monthly Archives: July 2007

Startup #78 – Cross Stitch This

crossstitch Tonight I made it out to the Facebook Dev Seattle meetup.  Congrats to the FB team for putting together a great event.  You guys know I have mad love for the FB platform, and the team who presented tonight did a great job explaining what they’re all about and shelling out some “ninja tricks” on how to make your FB apps pop.  Pizza + beer + room full of geeks?  Love it.

Of course, I’ve gotta throw up a FB app idea for today.  Stick with me on this one.  It’s a site where users can virtually cross stitch an image and gift it to your friends and loved ones.  Users could choose a basic template (or upload their own) and click on a location to make a stitch.  Once you’ve filled in the template with stitches, you can share your creation with one of your Facebook contacts.

At this point you may be thinking to yourself: “Wow.  That is quite possibly the worst idea I’ve ever heard.”  And you may be right, but here’s a little rational behind this idea.

1)  Cross stitching is in, just like knitting and weaving.  Crafts are hot, why not take advantage of this fad?

2)  When you give this to your friend or loved one, you are basically saying to them “I like you so much that I invested X amount of time to make this for you”  It’s using time as a proxy for currency, just like a guy who sends virtual flowers on Hot or Not is saying “I like you so much that I invested 10 dollars to send this to you”.

3)  The idea is so incredibly stupid that you would be the first (and likely only) player in this market.  The barrier to entry on FB is very low, you could probably create this in a week or two.  So if it bombs, no worries.  And if it catches on, you’ll have an app that stands out in what is quickly becoming a very crowded space.

Only on Flickr can you find a picture that is as perfect as this one.  Shout out to the Mac fanboys/girls out there.  Anywho, sorry for the lack of ideas lately.  What can I say?  It’s summer, gotta take advantage of the beautiful Seattle weather while I can.

Rafting!

Ahh!  So much to do, so little time to blog.  Sorry for the lack of ideas this week, lots of crazy stuff going on.  I have a few ideas in the pipeline and definitely want to give a shout-out to some great demos at last night’s Seattle Tech Startups meeting, but unfortunately I’ve got to hit the road now to head out on a weekend rafting trip.

Hope you’re all enjoying your Friday.  Now get outside and soak up some sun.  :)

You heard it here first

Just saw this news about Pownce annoucing their public API, set to be released in September: http://mashable.com/2007/07/25/pownce-public-api/

And here was my prediction on July 11th for my Precog idea for a Pownce Facebook plug-in:

Prediction:  Within the next 2 months, Pownce will open its API and allow users to develop 3rd party apps.  This is based on the success Digg is having with its open API and to better compete with similar offerings like Twitter and Jaiku, both of which have open APIs. 

Likelihood (1 – 10): 9 (very likely)

:)

Precog Idea #2 – Photosynthesizer

photosyth Background: Photosynth is a pretty amazing new technology that automatically stitches together photos of a location into a 3 dimensional model that a user can navigate through by clicking on various images.  If you’ve never seen it, go here now: http://labs.live.com/photosynth/default.html.  It’s easily one of the most impressive demos I’ve ever seen.

Prediction:  Within the next year, Photosynth will release an API to allow users to develop 3rd party apps.  This prediction is based on the release path that many of the labs.live.com applications have gone through, and Microsoft’s history of being a platform company.

Likelihood (1 – 10): 7 (fairly likely)

Idea:  My idea is a service to create photosynth’s for people who are looking to sell their home or rent their apartment.  Users would submit high-resolution photos of their residence which would be turned into a 3D recreation of their living space so others could get a detailed look at the house/apartment.  Once the synth is created, users would get a link to the model that they could post on existing sites like Craigslist or Redfin, and they would automatically be posted on our photosynth home/apartment site where buyers/renters could search for homes in their area.

Red Flags

  • Since it’s a new model, it would be very difficult to come up with a sample API to approximate the Photosynth API before it was released.
  • Existing sites like Redfin or Zillow could easily add this feature directly to their sites, which would be a better experience than clicking a link to a 3rd party site.

What’s a precog idea?  Check out this post for more details…

And here’s a demo video:

Startup #77 – AdSqueeze

Happy Friday from hot-as-freakin’-heck Orlando, Florida.  I’m on my way off to dinner so instead of posting a new idea, I’m going to steal share an idea from my Cambrian House buddy scrollinondubs (aka Sean Tierney). 

Funny story, I posted a comment on another idea and he took my comment and ran with it, creating a full-blown pitch for a new startup idea.  Wouldn’t you know it, it’s currently in the top position in the CH weekly tournament.  Go check it out and (whether you like the idea or not) please vote and let us know what you think:  http://www.cambrianhouse.com/idea/idea-promoter/ideas-id/tcqKAzy/

Here’s a snapshot of the idea, but you really should check out the link above, it’s got more detail and even a nice little video explantion.

The idea: buy small blocks of TV ads on digital cable, pack hundreds of single-frame adverts which can be viewed by people with Tivo and other DVR’s. Embedded in the haystack of single-frame ads is an ad for a fictitious company. The viewer who spots the fake company and successfully completes the scavenger hunt wins the prize of the day. Companies and small business owners pay low relative cost to run a TV ad and get the benefit of viewers interacting and going to their site to determine if it’s real.

Why it will work: TV advertisers are freaking out because DVR technology makes it easy for viewers to skip their commercials. Rather than fight the technology, this approach embraces the capabilities of DVR’s and turns the TV-watching experience into an interactive treasure hunt. It’s unique enough that it should become a topic of buzz. Not only does it help advertisers restore viewer attention in the face DVR’s, it brings TV advertising to a new market.

Startup #76 – Crush Or Creep

orangecrush Just flew into Orlando after a looooong day of cross-country flights and I gotta say something about my good ol’ U S of A.  I love you and everything, but come on – enough already with the thunderstorms. 

I get it.  You’re hot.  You need a good rain now and again to cool off and, like, turn stuff green.  But us poor travelers up in the air get jostled around like $2 peanuts in a can and get stuck in a “holding pattern” and get dangerously low on fuel which causes everyone to get all freaked out and jittery and panic-y and stuff.  So quit it.  Please?  But don’t get all pouty and start droughting on us either.  ‘Cause that sucks too.

Why am I yelling at weather?  Like I said.  Loooooong day.

Today’s idea is a little bit of a take off on the whole hot-or-not genre (which is doing amazingly well as of late, if you haven’t noticed).  It is a site where users can post a declaration of your romantic feelings for a potential crush.  Here’s how it would work.  A crusher would submit a brief description of how they know the crushee and why they l-o-o-o-o-v-e them, along with a letter to be sent to the crushee.  Other members would be able to read the back story and the actual letter, and vote on whether or not they feel like the letter should be sent or if it’s one of those things that’s better left unsaid. 

If the letter gets enough “crush” votes within a set period of time (say 3 days), the letter would be automatically sent off to the crushee.  If the letter didn’t get the votes, the letter would not be sent, and the crusher would be sent a gentle Email notification informing them of their unfortunate defeat at the hands of cupid’s poison-tipped, crowd-sourced arrow.

 Thanks for all the great feedback lately, I’d love to hear your thoughts (or better yet, stories of love letters gone horribly, horribly wrong!) about this idea in the comments below. 

Startup #75 – Changes

cigarette Raise your hand if, like myself, you’re one of those people that gets all freakin’ excited when Jan 1 rolls around and you get to come up with some rockin’ New Year’s Resolutions?  And yes, you’ve said this before, but this year?  Whoo, boy, this year is going to be different.  This year you’re going to wake up just 20 minutes earlier and jog a few laps around the block.  You’re gonna kick it up a notch at work and get that corner office.  You’re going to stop borrowing cool images for your blog post without giving proper credit (thanks, Flickr!)

Next thing you know, it’s July.  You haven’t woken up before 9am since Jan 4th.  Your inbox is littered with C&D’s from angry photographers.  And you keep watching the door to make sure your 24-year-old former intern/current boss doesn’t drop by with a stack of TPS reports to fill out.

What you need, my friend, is a new type of change resolution site that pairs up users who are looking to make similar lifestyle changes.  The site would be pretty basic, you could search by bad habits (i.e. ‘Stop Smoking’ to pull up a list of your yellow-toothed brethren).  Once you find one (or several) people who look interesting, you kick-off a “campaign”: a 6-week competition where the team who makes the most progress towards the specific goal is declared the winner. 

Over the course of the campaign, you would keep track of your progress and view the progress of your change buddy.  Users would score points based both on how *both* of the change buddies are progressing towards their goals, which will help users to encourage each other and give an outside incentive to keep working towards the goal.  

Startup #74 – Music Mix Maker

turntables Little know fact about myself – I’m into music.  Like, really into music.  I was very close to majoring in music in college instead of computer engineering, and played for several years in a rock band back in Detroit.  I go to concerts all the time, read music magazines, listen to the latest indie bands, etc, etc.. 

I also love putting music together in various ways create a good flow.  Mixes can be difficult to put together – you really need to think about when to throw in that huge summer hit to pull everyone out on the dance floor, or the way Frank Sinatra can flow into Duke Ellington to create the perfect ambiance for a romantic candlelit meal.  

Today’s idea is a site that allows you to build, share, and download music mixes for a specific type of party or event.  Here’s how this might work.  Let’s say that you’re throwing an 80′s theme party.  The plan is that people will begin arriving in their leggings and Michael Bolton t-shirts around 9pm for drinks, with the party kicking into full gear between 11 and 1, then slowing down up until 2am – at which point you start blasting Starship on repeat until your guest leave.  You could enter in the basic details and timeline, and the site would display a sample play list. 

The songs would be listed in chronological order and color-coded to denote energy level of the music (more blue = chill, more red = high-energy dance music).  Each song would have a little 15-second preview clip so you could quickly identify any songs whose titles you’re not familiar with.  If there are any songs that you really dislike, you could simply switch the song out with one at a similar energy level.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect mix, the application could search your iTunes library to determine which songs a user already has, and then provides an option to automatically purchase the songs on the mix that the user doesn’t own.  Once the songs are downloaded, the app could also add-in a playlist into iTunes that keeps the songs in order for easy play back.   

Guess it wasn’t such a bad idea after all…

A few months ago I ran a contest where I posted five ideas and had people vote on which one was a “fake” idea.  The idea turned out to be “coughr.com” a site where you could cough into a microphone, enter a few symptoms, and presto – online health diagnostics.

Funny, right?

http://lifehacker.com/software/health/diagnose-what-ails-you-with-webmds-symptom-checker-278283.php

I love Lifehacker, btw.

Another thing I love?  The new Windows Live Writer.  Check it out, it works with WordPress and allows you to do cool things like show you my car on a map (it’s the black one):

Gotta love technology.

Startup #73 – Mockupr

airplanefood.jpgOK, before I describe this idea I want to share a funny little travel anecdote with you.   I was flying down to Denver from Seattle and we hit a little patch of turbulence.  It wasn’t too bad, but I noticed this woman that was sitting in front of me started acting all nervous.  Things calmed down a bit and then we ran into another bumpy patch.  This lady got all worked up and started grabbing hold of her armrest really tightly and started rocking back and forth a bit, but before you knew it, we were back in a smooth section of air.  About a minute later, we hit yet another bit of turbulence, but thing time it was actually kind of bad.  Well, the lady in front of me started literally freaking out.  She stood up, grabbed hold of this handle that was above her seat, and started screaming “OH LORDY, LORDY!!  MY SWEET BABY JESUS!!!  HELP ME, JESUS, I’M NOT READY TO DIE!!  LOOOOOORRRRRRDDDDDDDYYYYYYY!!”  And just as she shouted her last “lordy”, the plane settled down and everything was completely calm for the rest of the trip.

That actually never happened, but I’m at this conference where everyone is constantly making small talk so I made up that story to tell if I ever get caught in an awkward conversation.

Anyway, the reason for all the filler is because today’s idea is really simple – a site that allows you to easily create mockups for your own website ideas.  The site would allow you to drag and drop common elements like buttons, text, drop downs, etc..  There wouldn’t be any concept of columns or anything technically complex, you could place the components anywhere where you’d want them to appear on the page.

Users could start from scratch, or have the option to build off an existing template.  Once the mockup is finished, the designer could send an Email to the developer, who could view the mockup and download the underlying XHTML/CSS code to wire up to a specific database or web service.