Sorry to bust your bubble, but your CC company has already given talks about how it knows when you are about to move, when you plan on getting a divorce, when you are trying to have a baby, when you got actually going to have a baby and plenty of other personal thing... I can only imagine how fun it would be to sift CC data for patterns and cash in on what I find. A calendar of things I WANT to do isn't useful, what is valuable is what I WILL be doing.
I really want to build a factory five GTM super car and will happily put it on my want to do next year, but in reality unless someone pays me to built one for them I can't do it for a while. Once my CC starts seeing car parts they will know that it is actually something I am doing and not something I would like to do. For now my CC company knows last weekend I rented a truck, bought some house supplies and changed my address from Chelmsford to Waltham. Now would be a perfect time to sell that information to local resistants and shops that are around my new house. Or seeing as the new address is a recently purchased house now would be the time to sell that info to the home repair stores which I have not already started going to.
Edit: Anyone in the CC industry allowed to comment further on this topic? No doubt it would be a neat place to work.
The closest I could think of that might work is a neural network that would be fed data for people who churned and people who didn't but even then I cannot think of useful types of data to be fed!
Other big ones that we found are simply changes in behavior. The person who pays their bill late every month is fine, and if they pay late enough to get the late charge even beneficial. The person who pays on time every month, but is suddenly late, big red flags. A person who suddenly starts using their CC card for groceries, but never did before is another example.
People also tend to live near similar people. If you're a company providing a service to many people you can start to build models of neighborhoods. If both my neighbors foreclose on their house there is a higher likelihood that I'm also going to be running into money problems.
How could this computation be performed locally, in a directly parallel device, and in a way that protects the consumer? How about smart (real: assistive AI) cards as a disruptive technology?
Sidenote: we don't "give away" this information. We exchange it for the value of the information we are searching for. Microsoft has even experimented with paying people (with discounts) to use Bing's product search features.
A less obscure example (but the only one I could think of) is when I type is "How to fix " and it correctly filled in "a leaky faucet". No context, but it guessed correctly.
What is there
That's it, just three words.
Third line down on my screen, courtesy of google, was:
"What is there to do in Reno"
Scared the living crap out of me.
Far spookier is the autocompletion for "a pair of pl".
Seems like the faucets are better here, but the macbooks are broken.
No suggestion for "a pair of pl".
"I just bought a used Ford" = "I need a mechanic in six months".
"I'm going rock climbing for the first time this weekend!" = "I need a chiropractor next week".
Jokes aside, seems like this would be a fairly approachable mid-way between the existing system and the one proposed.
Like that old commercial pointed out, very few children say they want to "claw my way to middle management" despite the fact that's what happens to a lot of us.
I would expect a service like this to fail partly because people aren't that organized and partly because those that are would be underwhelmed by how things turn out. Nobody likes a service that makes you feel like a failure.
It's pretty simple to see this - few of us even keep our 'formal' calendar up to date, of meetings, calls and plans. Very few people keep their 'informal' calendar up to date. I, for one, never create a task called 'buy truck', 'plan holiday'. The important, high value items never need to be written down. The ones that get tracked and remembered are the low-value ones like 'pay electricity bill' and 'pick up worming tablets for dog'. And they're the ones with little advertising value.
That said, there is probably a specific vertical niche in here that could be expanded, but more of an add-on to an existing network like facebook than a stand alone. Something like a 'holiday planning' where people could post a future plan like a trip to the Maldives, and have their friends (and advertisers) provide input on what to do while you are there.
Scott Adams strikes me as a careful and fastidious writer; I'm wondering if there is an inside joke that I'm not getting.
Why for heaven's sake are you writing "FaceBook" instead of "Facebook." I will assume you are not an avid user of this so-called "Book."
[Ha! Busted. Indeed it is not practical for me to be on Facebook. I have corrected the spelling. -- Scott]
Incidentally, there is already a site/service called FutureMe (http://www.futureme.org/). It's for sending yourself emails way off in the future. I used it once in 2006 and got the email a year later. The future wasn't at all what I had expected. Not even close.
I also use it to email friends and family in the future on birthdays or other events, though to a lesser extent. I sincerely hope they stay in business for years to come.
I couldn't ever get into PlanCast, though. It just never got integrated into my daily habits. I still like the idea, though...
Not only telling the world what you are planning on doing, but expecting guidance from peers even more optimistic. I don't see this often in facebook status updates, or at least not things that people can really expect help from like Adams envisions. Displaying your intentions puts all your cards on the table; it's biologically discouraged. I don't think this will work.
Want to see pages and pages of comments? Post to a forum where parents are members that you're having a baby and are thinking about different approaches to parenting. A firestorm will ensue; nobody has to care about you and your baby at all.
How about "I'm going to buy a laptop, should I get a Mac or not?" This sort of thing causes server owners to consider liquid cooling systems.
Facebook status stream:
"Waiting in line. It's going slow"
"Eating a burrito, no cheese"
"Ate a burrito... I think the no cheese will pay off"
"Low on gas, going to fill up"
"Can I use my cellphone if I'm just using Facebook at the gas station?"
"Just in case you're wondering, I didn't blow up at the gas station. Still here"
"I like to do it on the dog house"
People no longer care if the world cares. I don't think we really know anymore what is biologically encouraged is discouraged. Biology has never been here.
Openness and profits don't have to be exclusive. Any successful email marketer probably can testify to this. And Google most definitely can.
Just for the sake of professional pride, talented developers and entrepreneurs should be able to make something that can compete with FB. I have little sympathy for top-people like the Google Maps creator joining Facebook. They should be better than that.
But who knows, maybe I'm just a liberal crackhead living in a dream-world and people really do need a walled system where they can get rid of that pesky privacy, the overwhelming choices of open systems and the boring speeches of arrogant intellectuals.
Obviously this is much less general than what Adams is describing but makes more sense to me. I've never liked all the spammy aspects of social technology and hope I can be profitable sending info only when the user requests it. Of course this is just one of the many ways I'll be trying to monetize my app.
Scott Adams: FaceBook Complementer
A whole lot of Facebook's value is the social graph, which is hard to re-create. Add this app into Facebook's already-existing graph, and you might have a winner.
Getting stabbed would be my own fault, but being afraid to post plans in fear of getting stabbed is certainly the application's fault.
Coincidentally, we have just launched an early version of a microblogging site called idlike.to which lets its users share their wishes, plans and goals.
We are working on a bunch of new features and our roadmap is quite similar to Scott's vision.
We don't see idlike.to as a Facebook killer (we'd like to take a different direction) but this post is definitely very encouraging.
I don't know how Redbeacon is doing, but I know Needish didn't do very well, maybe because of the market they targeted, but they ended doing a clone of Groupon and then selling it to Groupon to build Groupon Latam.