Yeah! My 100th startup idea. It’s been a great ride, and to celebrate I’m going to post an idea that is a little outside my usual ‘quick-and-dirty’ micro-app genre. I’ve actually been debating for a while whether or not to post this idea up here on the blog or keep it to myself. But since it’s the holiday season and it’s my 100th post – what the heck! So here goes. This is a little idea I affectionately call “Drifft”. Enjoy!
Today’s idea is a brand new way to navigate through the Internet. Take a step back and think about how we really use the web. You click on a tiny icon of an ‘e’ or some orange fox-looking thing, and a square box appears on your screen with some text boxes. You either start typing some arbitrary characters (http://www.) or you enter a word directly into a search engine. You then get a list of web pages, many of whom have paid to appear in front of you, and then you decide to click on one that may or may not have the information you are looking for. When you’re done, you either click another link or hit the back button to get another list of links that might have what you’re looking for. Does it work? Of course. But, come on!!! There’s got to be a better way…
There are some sites out there who have identified aspects of this problem, and are making a lot of money in each field by solving little pieces of this issue. Here’s a list of some of the top sites out there and a quick look at what problems they each solve.
Problem: Out of all the content on the web, how do I find the best stuff?
Solution: Use communities to submit and vote, top content bubbles to the top
Problem: Primary interface to the web is search. But what if I don’t have something specific I’m looking for?
Solution: Put a button on the browser that pulls up random, interesting web sites
Problem: There are lots of people out there, how do I find one who is compatible with me?
Solution: Use tools grounded in proven psychological theories to make matches with compatible people
Problem: Mobile interfaces are boring and difficult to navigate
Solution: Use multi-touch and focus on design to create an intuitive and compelling user experience
The idea behind Drifft is to pull together some of these concepts into a single experience that will dramatically improve the way we navigate the web. At it’s core, the functionality is very similar to StumbleUpon as the main functionality of the site is to allow you to quickly flip through interesting sites and stories on the web and tag those that you think are interesting. However, there are two key differentiators here.
First, the interface would be better. Much, much better. The site would use Silverlight to allow for neat tricks like flicking your mouse across the page to trigger a cool cover-flow-like transition to the next page in the queue. You could also have a scrollable list of thumbnails across the top of the screen that would allow you to easily choose a page that looks interestings. The images would have high-level descriptions and could have color-codings or icons to indicate which stories/sites are most interesting or are the hot stories of the day.
Second, the site would leverage basic social media concepts to define that all-important filter of what makes for interesting content. Most social media sites use two basic filters – ‘show me what’s interesting to everybody’, and ‘show me what’s interesting within my group of friends’. Drifft would have the option to use these filters, but would also have the option to ‘show me what’s interesting to people who are similar to me’. To accomplish this, users could fill out a quick personality profile (something like a Meyers-Briggs personality test) or a pop-culture compatibility comparison (top movies, books, TV shows). Then, users could choose to see sites that are of interest to other people that are strangers but have similar personalities, likes/dislikes, etc..
And finally, to give just a little more insight as to what the heck I’m talking about here, I did a quick-n-dirty mockup on the idea using my favorite image editing tool of the year, Power Point 2007.
Thanks to all my millions (OK, tens) of readers who have been following this blog through the first 100 ideas. I’ve got some exciting things planned around this blog which will probably go live in early March, so definitely stay tuned!