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Startup idea list
161 points by duck 1647 days ago | hide | past | web | 267 comments | favorite
Five years ago today this was the top item on HN (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=55974): Post novel startup ideas as comments and see how many karma points it receives. Who knows, one might be developed and you can take credit for thinking of the idea first.. It had some interesting ideas, some of which are solved or obsolete. Thought it might be fun to do this again.

(I run Wayback Letter, so that is how I know this odd bit of information - http://www.waybackletter.com/archive/daily/09-18-2012.html).

Here's a few I've been thinking about:

- Remote aid delivery by drone: build and send small robotic aircraft to remote areas and drop aid, preferably starting with medicine (lightweight and very useful). Small helicopters (quadrotor drone copters as you see at TED/MIT) could land and accept return packages if necessary. Trips could be made to hazardous places where human-driven aid drops can't venture. Additionally, all aid drops could be done cheaper and more efficiently. [The drones should be solar-powered?]

- Microwave oven with a solid, opaque door. On the door put a nice 1020p screen and inside put video cameras. You could microwave food, see a convincing video of it cook and not have to deal with harmful radiation or an unpleasant grilled screen.

- Pizza button. I had this idea about two years ago, someone in Dubai is currently executing (I think). You order a button, a physical red button (or an app with a big button, but that's not as cool). If you press the button, a pizza arrives at your location (tracked either by smartphone or by pre-set address). Default pizza arrives unless other instructions are set. I would insist on extreme simplicity: no options, no choices. Just "press button to receive pizza".

My low-rent version of the drone delivery idea is the burrito cannon.

You order burritos via your phone. When they're ready, your phone tells you to go stand outside. Once there's a solid GPS fix, a precise, high-powered catapult throws the delivery package way up in the air. Like a smart bomb, it uses tailfin guidance to home in on your phone, popping a 'chute at the end.

What's mind blowing is that when you break this down, it's more or less achievable, minus regulation snafus regarding launching projectiles in a populated area.

One of my more outlandish fantasies is a point-to-point transit system built out of enormous catapults & nets that operates similarly...

That coincides with my vision of people traveling around the city in the air in clear spheres arcing gracefully across the sky...

A friend and I have joked about doing this with bread.


http://tacocopter.com/ ? Is this you or is tacocopter a joke that inspired you, by chance?

The pizza button info is here, but they're out of stock: http://www.redtomato.biz/magnet/

no idea why out of stock. OK -- take this idea to next level. Why dont develop a wifi ready button (everyone that buys the button need to pair it with their wifi) - probably cost of <$5,000 (kickstarter?) and have a simple web page like your router admin has that you can choose different pizza vendors, then work directly with pizzerias in the hood to offer them additional channel of sale! that would be my take.

You mean, like a computer instead of a button?

The radiation from your microwave isn't harmful, but I will admit it's kinda hard to see what's going on through that mesh.

I really like your drone delivery idea.

i too like drone delivery idea

The pizza button is a fantastic idea as an iPhone app. Show a huge pizza icon, nothing else, press it and get your pizza delivered to your home and discounted from your credit card.

As a developer, here are the interesting bits:

  - Press many times get as many pizzas
  - Configurable default pizza
  - Configurable default credit card
  - Configurable address
  - Keep it as simple as possible
Press pizza, send order to papa johns, get back confirmation and estimated delivery time.

Love it!

"Remote aid delivery by drone" is something I know Matternet, a Singularity University affiliated startup, is doing: http://matternet.us/our-vision/

http://openrelief.org/ - is a project that's laying down some useful foundations for Drone delivery.

Regarding your microwave idea, check out what these Penn students built: http://www.geekosystem.com/microwave-youtube-hack/

Not quite the remote aid delivery, but at least a Doner Kebab delivery is the goal of this start up (in German): http://www.doenercopter.de/

Nice. Press button to get pizza delivered instantly by automatic drone. Very nice.

Regarding idea no. 2. You realize that putting electronics inside a microwave isn't as simple as that, right? http://i.imgur.com/OFEg9.gif

I was wondering how one would transmit image/video feed from inside to outside in realtime? Any hole to transmit the feed is gonna be a no-no(radiation leakage). Basically, if there is path for some EM communication from inside to outside, then MW radiation will also leak along that path(unless the path has some sort of band pass characteristics). You could do some kind of time slotted transmission(In one slot, close the communication hole to make a perfect metal box, turn on microwave. In next slot, turn off microwave, open hole and transmit video feed. Make the time slot ~msec for near real time feed).

With some kick ass marketing it should be possible to get the message to people - 1000x reduction in radiation!(?) why take the remote chance of effects of radiation!!


We have electronics on the surface of Mars, we certainly can fit one inside a microwave.

I could see myself eating pizza way too much with that button. I hate cooking and the press of a button for food would be just too tempting... Just what our society needs.

Google around for "tacocopter." It's not a real product, more of a hack of marketing droids, but you will find discussion of the benefits/problems it has.

I think you're looking for either 720p or 1080p.

You could do the pizza button as a QR Code.

You make instant payment through a QR code as well, if you accept bitcoins. Here's some details if you're interested: http://gary-rowe.com/agilestack/2012/01/09/how-to-accept-bit...

A service which allows me to upload a document (PDF, .doc, whatever), input an address and then pay for it to be printed and sent to that address via mail (courier optional).

I'd use this service so much:

1. Printers are fast becoming a thing of the past. How often will people need to use printers in five years time?

2. Lots of government functions still require printed documents (heck, even Twitter insisted that I fax them something a few years back).

3. Post boxes, stamps and envelopes are a pain to get individually.

This already exists. I actually used one of these when I was out of the country and had to deliver a physical copy.





Also Y Combinator-backed HelloFax https://www.hellofax.com/

Large chains like FedEx could implement this really efficiently since they already have offices all over the world. They can just print off at the nearest location to the target and minimize their expense. Getting a printed document hand delivered in an envelope can have a lot more impact over simply sending an email or fax.

They've been offering this service for several years:


Last I looked, though, they only deliver via FedEx, which really raises the costs.

I wish the postal service did it. They send somebody by my house every day. It'd be awesome if the actually dropped off something I wanted.

Lawyers everywhere are nodding.

On the same vein, someone could write software allowing individuals or organizations to set up a remote print-and-pickup service.

For example, every campus would hugely benefit from a service where students could just email a document to a specific address (smith.hall.printer@mycollege.com), have 5 cents a page automatically charged to their account, and pick up their assignment on their way to class to hand it in.

Students used to running around residence looking for someone with a printer, or sprinting to the library with a USB stick would be all over the service. Someone just needs to write a simple application that connects the dots and market it to campuses.


Reply From: smith.hall.printer@mycollege.com

Your document has been printed and 25 cents charged to your account.

Breezy.com does exactly that for universities. Except, you can count it against your current printing credits too.

(Disclaimer: I work here. This also means I can help get it to your university if you get in touch with me).

In my campus, you just print to the cloud printer and get it from a printer by approving it near the computer station next to it.

I wonder if http://HelloFax.com (and HelloSign.com) is working on this? Seems like that would be a perfect fit for them.

I had this exact same idea last week but it'd be a tough one to crack. The devil's in the details of the operation.

You'd have to solve at least the following problems: Print/sorting/packaging/mailing, privacy (most of the stuff you "need" to print is confidential), timeliness (usually when I print I need it NOW, like when closing a sale on a house)

But if you can solve them, or at least start to, I think it'd be a great opportunity.

I've got a similar idea I've been working on called EasyPost.co. I'm not sure where it's going yet--I know a lot is broken within postage but that's an area I've thought about

Interesting. I'd have thought the few things that needed to be printed would also need some sort of physical signature as well. Do you not find that to be the case? What situations do you find yourself in that would call for such a service?

Would it make sense more for mass physical mailings via an API?

I sign everything using Preview.app on OS X: http://www.cultofmac.com/100237/you-can-now-sign-pdfs-using-...

As an aside, in the EU a printed signature (i.e. printed text in a signature input field) is just as valid as a "real" signature.

I also thought about having an API for direct mail--we'd print and send (or have printed and sent) whatever marketing letters you wanted sent

The French Post Office has this: https://lettreenligne.laposte.fr/

(And its invaluable companion service, online registered mail, for documents with legal significance.)

What a great idea for an API that's connected to an existing app/programming like Evernote/Notability/Office and linked to an established network of "member" vendors like UPS/FedexKinkos/USPS/colleges.

Apple still requires developers from outside US to fax them form with their credit card number on it. (!)

On the other hand, there are services that will fax PDF for you, even for free.

The difficulty with faxing something is that it's even more out of date than printing something. I don't have a printer, but at least I know a store where I can buy one. I've got no idea where the fuck I'd go to buy a fax machine.

There is such a thing as an e-fax (you send an email and it magically turns into a fax on the other side). I have only seen it from one side and do not have any details, though.

When I was doing Lots Of Paperwork for something, I'd often print out reams at the office and fax reams back. I consider myself rather fortunate that no one ever complained; being friends with the receptionist (who sits next to the fax and was thus ideally suited to calling me out on excessive usage of office equipment for personal use) probably helped.

I've used e-faxes before, but isn't it predicated by the other side (the tax office, or whoever) having either a fax machine or the inclination to accept an e-fax?

Usually, people who ask for a fax are capable of receiving one.

to fax them form with their credit card number on it. (!)

and expiration date, and cvv (not joking)

I'd pay for this. In fact, I end up paying friends to do that for me, while I'm outside the US & have to send docs (such as tax forms, etc.)

http://www.l-mail.com — but it does only text I assume

I like the idea, except the only time I need to print something is when I need to sign it.

Same applies to me 99% of the time. I sign everything digitally using Preview.app in OS X.

I also like to print and send things when it's an old person's birthday (used Apple's Cards app recently and it was brilliant, although a relative was baffled and believed me to be in Prague since it was posted from there).

Fedex already provides this service fedex.com/office

Here's a simple idea I've been kicking around. I might just build it for fun.

I call it notifyme.when. Users put in things they want to be notified about e.g., new book by Steven King released, Sequel to District 9 announced, Mortgage rates fall below 3.5%, etc.

Then other users log in and review the requests and post updates to any of the event they know have happened. You get points (like Stack Overflow) if you legitimacy update someone else's request.

I like this except for the crowdsourcing part. I'd rather have it done as a paid-for service somehow. I realize that it's hard because you'd have to constantly check, but still.

I've been thinking about something similar to this - particularly for me in relation to when bands bring out new albums or new TV series come out. I was thinking I'd probably tackle it a vertical at a time and find a source for the information (e.g. last.fm for albums, IMDB for movies/TV series) that can be put to use automatically. I reckon the simplest way to monetize this would be affiliate links in the alerts - the click through is obviously going to be pretty high (people have actively said they're interested in something) but I've never seen affiliates as a great source of revenue.

I thought of something similar for game releases, particularly indie games. Didn't want to have to trawl through a bunch of sites to find updates for the.

Also, there was something posted a while back that did music albums, but I think the guy was shutting it down/open sourcing it.

Either way, glad to see I'm not alone.

Sort of like If This Then That but with a wider range of uses, right? Sounds interesting. Also, I don't get the last bit - How would you know if a user is honestly updating the request or not?

I guess it would be a lot like stack overflow. The user who requested the notification would have to confirm the answer is correct.

I think his idea would need to be more flexible than what ifttt allows you to be.

This is actually a compelling idea—I've been kicking around a similar idea for a while, where you'd like to buy something (e.g. a 2TB SATA drive) but only when it goes on sale below a certain price threshold. The problem is: what's the business model (i.e. where does the money come from)?

Have you checked out Priceonomics? They're a YC startup that gives you analytics on the market price of a product and send you notifications when the item is available for a good price.

I have not, but I am so not surprised that someone else had the idea, probably made it better, and is in business.

I would say the whole thing is a monetizable business. To have good data, you'd need a mix of human and tech input. So why not charge $x for y number of updates? or charge for specific searches that requires more human work? or charge for a premium account that shows price fluctuations of certain items for the last 6 months?

You may be interested in http://camelcamelcamel.com/ for this sort of thing. Uses Amazon to track historical high and low price points so you can get a good idea of when to expect sales. You can set up a trigger to notify you when it reaches a certain price, too.

You may be looking for decide.com

YourMechanic for groceries.

I want to pay a flat recurring fee and have my fridge be filled with basic food products (e.g. like a hotel's minibar) you chose from 3-5 preset packages out of 3 pricing levels, setup how many people are in the house and you are done

the service will calibrate (with your help) the content of the packages, e.g. if you see you eat more bread than you drink milk and end up with too much milk and too little bread, you can tweak it (larger bread package, smaller milk bottle)

All products will be generically packaged and will have a very low price as this startup will specialize in basic products (bread, milk, eggs, cheese, basic meats, popular fish, soft drinks, water, core vegetables and fruits)

Having a massive buying power, the prices of these basic products will be much, much cheaper than any grocery store

Having statistically well sized packages for most households types will ensure optimal saving and minimal food waste.

you will never need to go grocery shopping again, never need to "remember the milk" throw much less food, and spend so much less on groceries you won't know what to do with the money you have left.

I would start this but it seems it needs a logistics / supply chain pro from a large corporate to be able to pull this through

>> Having a massive buying power, the prices of these basic products will be much, much cheaper than any grocery store

more buying power than your local chain supermarket?

I agree with the OP, potentially yes, if a startup focuses only on a few core products, and buys only them in volume, they might get the same wholesale prices as the chain supermarkets, but since they don't have the same costs, they can offer lower prices to the customers, or at least in theory...

You might be able to tackle this at a much smaller scale with things like CSAs (community-supported agriculture). In a CSA, you are essentially buying a farm share and getting some amount of veggies or meat per week/month/etc.

One issue with a CSA is that I'll get odd amounts of things: not enough potatoes to get a dish for instance or an overwhelming amount of parsley, etc. It would be good if there were a feedback mechanism so that (a) I would get the food that I wanted, and in the amounts that are good for me or my family, and (b) so that the farmers knew what kinds of crops to focus on and deliver to their members.

In my experience the people who run CSAs are passionate about their farming and not on technology. If someone could provide a service like this, it might be helpful to them.

> Having a massive buying power, the prices of these basic products will be much, much cheaper than any grocery store.

No, it won't. You think a startup will have more buying power than WalMart? Giant? Even smaller chains like Weis or Kroger's would blow it out of the water in terms of monthly product purchased.

If you were specializing in a niche market like luxury types of foods this could probably work. I agree that it'd likely take someone with experience in logistics/SCM to pull it off but there is a market for it.

Instacart? The latest YC class has that

Yes, I've seen them, but not what I want, I want a food subscription service, solve me the "I've ran out of X" problem, keep my fridge full. just like the minibar in a hotel.

There's also Get It Now, and a ton of others moving into the delivery space

It really doesn't require massive infrastructure. What you've described is a high tech milkman.

Internet filter for things I don't want to know yet. If I miss the Formula 1, I'd rather not know the result until I watch it. Currently this means not listening to the radio, watching the news or going to any non-geek online news.

I'd like to have something like AdBlock, but it blocks on key-phrases that are F1 related (Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button etc)

The key-phrases come from a wiki. The censored bits of sites could show adverts instead (to make some money)

The wiki could hold all the options, different sports key-phrases (football, soccor, rugby .... you know, almost anything ... Dr Who, Eastenders (for those of us who iPlayer a lot of things)

Yeah, just look at all the trouble they want you to go through on lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/5887230/how-to-block-annoying-tech-rum.... Someone should definitely make something simpler. It could even look at trending topics on various sites that advertise trends to give you a quick list of things to spoilerfy.

A system that lest me maintain my contact details in one place, that other services can subscribe to for up-to-date info. Should also let me maintain who can see which details. When I change job, or lose my phone, or whatever, I can update my details, and my vCard in all my friends' address books gets updated accordingly.

Love this, and have been thinking about it for a while (after having moved literally 10 times in 10 years). I picture something similar to OAuth permissions, where at any point I can revoke access to all or specific pieces of information to anyone.

As an extension (and this is potentially where the money is), I can think of an intermediary service (a-la Google Voice call widgets) that allows entities to contact me without ever giving away my phone/address/etc.

Absolutely. Currently I have zero control over who has what contact details. I have good friends that still email me on an eight year old gmail address that I don't use. I need to be able to pull addresses, push new ones, have certain details only available to certain friends and maybe, like you say, have ways of letting people get in touch with me once without actually giving out my details.

I think that a Freedom Box [http://freedomboxfoundation.org/] has something like this in mind.

This will happen once we have a federated social network with individuals maintaining their own little slice of the Internet. Please happen soon rather than later!

This maybe more a failing of their design and messaging, but I honestly can't tell if this system does what I'm describing. I _think_ it doesn't.

A pre-owned diamond exchange platform. Inspired by this article recently on HN: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4535611

During these hard times, give people a platform to sell their existing diamonds at a higher price than what jewelry stores are willing to pay. Disrupt the "estate jewelry" market specifically in the diamond space by bringing forth a dedicated Ebay type site that also includes appraisals (automatic/electronic?) as a separate fee. This would encourage people to sell all those diamonds that's been stored in safe deposit boxes waiting to be sold.

I'd thought about this as well, turns out there is actually a thriving marketplace for pre-owned diamonds on Craigslist. It kind of blew my mind that at any given point people are selling ten thousand dollar diamond rings on Craigslist.

A github-like service for musicians that would allow:

1. Version control of compositions; 2. Forks of other musicians' "repositories" / compositions; 3. Contributions to other musicians' songs; 4. Possibly play the songs online; 5. Private / public repos; 6. Individual / band / group / organization repos. 7. ???

You may find this interesting: http://www.kompoz.com

Kind of like this? http://www.beatlab.com/

I'm a terrible musician, but I love this idea.

this is something similar: http://www.ohmstudio.com/

What I have in mind is more focused on the composition part of music creation, rather then recording / editing. But this is a very cool project! And of course collaborative sound editing would be awesome for an idea such as mine.

How would the notation be setup?

I didn't work much in the the idea, but since I'd focus more in hte composition process, I thought of building an easy-to-use, graphic version control tool that integrates with common composition software (finale, guitar pro etc.).

This tool wold then convert the score / tablature into a single representation that would be used for storing, diffs and such. Perhaps this represantation could be text-based (lilypond [1]?) to use a mainstream VCS (git) as backend.

But I don't have the skills or time to do that, so it will stay in stand by until someone (me?) implements it someday.

[1] http://lilypond.org/

Very interesting concept.

[meta: Basically, a site that powers this sort of thread, except with the requirement that it must be something you'd pay for, not an idea you just came up with.]

A website to help you find services that you have a burning need for, and would pay for.

It also helps you find initial customers for services that you're building.

You post: "I would pay for this technology." Other people upvote if they would pay for it too.

Participants can post an answer and say: "That already exists. Here."

If no good solution exists, you can pay a small amount of money to contact everyone on the thread, and say: "I'm building this. Here."

You mean like HalfBakery and friends (http://www.halfbakery.com/ , see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halfbakery)

Like a reverse Kickstarter? I like it...

HR and Recruitment software for high turnover, low skill companies like call centers.

Implement a number of systems like patio11's appointment reminder, CRM and helpdesk type software for communication, something to handle all paperwork electronically, posting adverts, information gathering etc etc.

Basically, a family friend used to run the HR and recruitment department for a huge call center, she headed a staff of 10+ people that all day advertised for positions, looked through application forms, gave aptitude tests, did phone interviews, arranged face to face interviews, did the paperwork to get them hired, did inductions and put them into training, and thats just hiring and doesnt include liasing with payroll and firing etc.

I told her about that idea, she mentioned it to her boss (basically the guy that looked after the entire call center) and he apprently loved the idea. Problem is, while i could do the techy bit, i'm lacking other things to be able to make it happen so its on the back burner for now.

If you have a potential client, pre-sell him on it to get funds to supply the other things you're "lacking". Treat it like a free-lance development gig at first and then turn toward a saas model after you've developed it.

How about a Mechanical Turk based recruiter company?

Another name for this might be a temp agency!

I feel like I have tons of ideas but nowhere near the time to pursue even a fraction of them. I like a lot of these ideas and wish at least someone would pick one up and run with it so that I could take advantage of the product/service. I'd like a site where I could post such ideas. Allow for someone to post an idea with an explanation. Other users can discuss and tweak the idea and eventually, if there is enough support, form a team and actually work on it. Sort of a crowsourced incubator. Name ideas: StealMyIdea, lightbul.bs.

I think http://www.quirky.com does exactly this

I was recently informed of Quirky. From my understanding, ideas are posted and the community votes on them and then the Quirky development team builds it. Sounds great but I still think my idea above would be serving a different goal. Any idea could be worked on regardless of votes (though the more popular ones would naturally see more work) and teams would be formed from anyone who wants to join in and is accepted by that team.

this has been created 4x over that I know of. Search HN you will find them. Why not make a Facebook page, so people don't have to visit a specific site - just follow the discussions via FB?

Ok, I have no idea how to do this startup but it seems very profitable. Have you ever noticed how anyone under 40 believes with 100% certainty that social security won't be around for them when they retire.

Well I think it probably will be around. Most big (popular?) government programs aren't going away no matter what the media says.

So how about selling social security insurance. Buyers pay a premium each month to buy the insurance. And if social security isn't around when they retire the insurance pays out what they would have gotten from social security.

---- Edit ---

People don't think the insurance idea is viable so let's turn this idea on its head. The company goes out and buys the future social security benefits (or some portion thereof) from individuals ands pays them say 10 cents on the dollar. People who don't think SS will be around think they're getting free money, and the company makes a bundle if SS stays around.

Heck, could the US government could be doing this to fix social security?

Insurance can't work if either all or none of your customers are going to file a claim, because the premise of insurance is that those who don't file claims pay for those who do. This insurance would have to charge a premium that would cover the "everyone files a claim" case, which means people would be paying N dollars in order to have a chance of getting their N dollars back. Not a good deal ;-)

This isn't necessarily the case. Life insurance insures against certainty.

I think one things which would make this idea feasible is the fact that people are old by the time they receive SS so a certain percentage (a somewhat predictable one) will be dead. If a high enough percentage is expected to be dead, you could create rates which would allow you to win over the long run.

You could also make the SS insurance apply only to the individuals and not their beneficiaries who would have received the SS benefit in the event of the individual dying prior to receiving benefits.

I know it's grim but just some thoughts..

Right, unless the insurance company can hedge their bets. At it's simplest they could insure themselves with a re-insurance company.

They could also figure out financial consequences of social security going away and place long term bets on that. If they are able to hedge properly, they're basically reselling that hedge.

I... honestly am not qualified to say that this is what it is, but I would strongly suggest taking a look at the details of how we entered this recession. It sounds extremely familiar.

Sounds like a pyramid scheme to me.

It would have to be more complicated than that, because it's not just a question of whether SS will "be around," but whether it might still exist but in a degraded form (e.g. lower payments, narrower eligibility).

to offer insurance, you have to be able to pay out if a claim is made. Since the insurance you are offering is all or none ( i.e. if social security goes away, it goes away for everyone ), you would have to pay out claims to everyone at once. This is much different than auto insurance where you only expect some small percentage of policy holders to put in a claim.

You need to find someone to take the other end of the bet. So, who would want to insure themselves in the case where social security stays around? Can you find enough of these people to balance out your risk?

Insurance works because the probability, eg of death, is spread out over many buyers; not everyone will die young. If social security goes away, the payout is 100% and your company goes bust.

A streetmap I can easily draw on top of, add links and annotations etc. and send to a friend. Downloadable mobile version too. Lots of other potential add-ons.

A friend of mine is visiting London, a city I know well, so I wanted to give some tips for things to see: most of the existing services I found have a bad UI, lousy performance, buggy etc.

This was the best one I found and this took ages to create; yet should be simple:


Service that stores all your measurements for prefect clothing sizes matching. If you decide to purchase something you allow clothing store to access your profile on that service, same way as you allow some site to access your facebook details. Your order will be sent to tailor in China after payment. More advanced idea would be to use 3d model of customer. After that it's possible to show me clothing ads with me as model while I browse ecommerce site.

I run a little "waywt" site and we were thinking of doing this. Maybe there's more of an audience than I first thought!

I have a whole (Google) Drive of ideas, each with a hook, strategy, and business plan. Some of them, I have seen startups to independently try. I will post a bunch as individual sub-comments, see if anybody wants to make a startup of them. If somebody does, I will be happy to share most of the rest of details, in exchange for free accounts, recognition, etc.

Ok, I posted about 10% of what I have (most here, one was stray on its own thread). But it started to look like HN spam even to myself, so I stopped. But yes, there is more. And there are some with a lot more dots connected. Contact me if you are ever stuck for ideas. :-)

Photo-workshop aggregation

People like to do photography workshops. But information about workshops is all over the place.

TWIP talked about not having photography workshop aggregator website.

Build one (for worldwide audience) by using Google alerts for keywords and/or site scraping/RSS subscription..

Use NLP/NER to extract people/Location/keywords to make it simpler to populate the database. Maybe use SOLR for searching cached copies of ads.

Start by making it easier for a human to aggregate, then make it a destination that drives traffic, then give photographers tools to manage availability and maybe publication of their workshops through multiple channels.

Expose workshops as calendars for people to subscribe.

Expose information as a widget for SquareSpace, WordPress, etc to allow photographers to use this service for workshop announcement (and therefore locking them in into freemium model)

Making money: * Allow people to subscribe by location, topic, dates (e.g. show me things in Dec-Jan near me) * This creates a list to own and resource to ‘onsell’ for ads/special-offers. * Photographers can pay to access additional features that will then send reminders about classes filling-up

And another page of details.....

Photo Shoot - everybody has a camera, but does not have time to really learn it

Basic Idea: Setup a big room/maze with multiple rooms/shooting range where people can practice their skills with their (or borrowed camera).

The twist: do it in the busy airport where people are forced to have time to kill. As there is no stock to sell, the amount of space required is probably not too high, a bit like the mini-massage rooms.

Make money on: * Sell the cameras they practice with (possibly with Amazon delivery to where they are going) * Sell photography DVDs and/or online services * Sell ebooks * Allow travelling professional photographers do a mini-training when they are passing through airport anyway. Sell their product when they do.

Advertise on tripit based on people's itineraries passing through that airport with more than X hours wait.

Use CameraSim * as pre-workshop training * run it on the computers next to the training while people wait * give it away (branded) as part of the training


And a whole lot of other tie-ins/money making. I have 3 page write up around it.

1-800-Sustainable Allow people to SMS/text (or IM) fish name and get information on whether it is sustainable.

Parse multiple names/synonyms. Provide bit.ly links for full information for those with smart phones.

Use geolocation to differentiate between fish names.

Could be paid by a grant from a nature oriented foundation, add-on service or charge eco-concious users by using premium instead of 1800 numbers.

great app idea overall. Let's make a prototype and shop it around. It could be fish, plants, poaching, shellfish, etc. PM me.


I am glad you liked my idea, but I am actually quite busy right now working on a different one. Not one of this list. :-) But if that does not work out, I'll get in touch. In a meanwhile, if there is somebody else you can interest in it, I would be happy to share the rest of the notes directly.

Shops within reach

Find my a shop (e.g. hardware) by travel distance including public transport, rather than a physical distance. If I am close to a metro/subway, it is often easier to go extra 3 stops on that than walk 300 feet/metres/meters/whatever to do big shopping. And could bring up completely unexpected useful matches.

Find me an app

App to do social voting for iPhone/iPad app to find apps for X Make it free to watch (viral aspect)

Pay $0.99 to vote for questions/ideas $5 for 10 votes (or some similar scaling) If not winning, keep (all, half?) the votes The most voted proposal - somebody at the company does the search, review of requirements Allow to tag, tweet, share to get followers, maybe even track source Also can be leveraged into contacting the original develops and asking them to add specific features (maybe with committed funds - Mini kickstarter)

Something like this? https://openspacestore.com/ http://allthingsd.com/20111213/an-honest-to-goodness-app-sto... (service since dead though, don't follow links from article)

Making support calls hurt less

Introduce man-in-a-middle: phone service (like Google Voice, Conferencing, etc). Used specifically for people calling tech/customer support and provide services to make that experience less painful.

Obvious things: ) Track the time things really take ) Record conversations (some thoughts around one-party and two-party consent here, but if they say 'this conversation can be recorded', you can probably record it too) ) Everybody calling the same tech-support number is also in the same text chat conference. Gives them something to do and also creates a sense of community around shared pain. Maybe even some solutions. ) Give them some pausable social games to play. E.g. 'Hangman with a 'customer support' rep hanging and swear words to guess? :-) ) Integrate GetHuman ) Provide estimated Queuing time based on sample of people using the service

Less obvious things: ) Allow injecting crisp English/whatever voice commands to the system who expects voice navigation. Helps all those for whom English is second/third language (see http://youtu.be/fhE2WgHIuzc) ) Offer AutoMute (http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/01/telephone_moni...) ) Provide journalistic interface with statistics/breakdown Allow people to say 'allow/disallow to be contacted for the story' ) Visualise call tree and let user click straight on the result (A company was started just around that couple of years back)

Making money * Allow companies to place their agents into the call, like Comcast Cares * Allow NLP api hook to promote specific customers in the queue (or every customer using the service....) * Allow customers to pay for anonymous accounts (why?) * Allocated inbound number that automatically records that ==nobody ever called back== * Let users do Amazon Turk tasks while they wait as a way to pay for the service

And another page of thoughts.....

Stack Overflow (and other sites) -> WordPress

I am happy to contribute to various Stack sites, but my own blog is growing weeds because of it. Would be nice to have an automated summary of all my contributions showing up on the blog. Similar to Twitter activity blogs, but a lot richer.

Free model - run once a week, put a post in, assigned a single choosable subject, add icon “posted by XYZ” with a link to the original site (allow deleting manually)

Commercial model - chose when to run (frequency/timing/etc) allow to map sites and/or tags to subjects/tags allow template of the information and selecting which fields to show. allow to create post for retroactive content (maybe use StackExchange dumps for past)

I want this one, maybe will make it one day.

Learning photo camera for children (and grandparents)

Fully weather/drop sealed with fixed capacity

Use induction to charge Use wifi and/or bluetooth to transfer pictures automatically to parents/cloud Use bluetooth headset for commands, instructions Probably touchscreen for flexibility and Android for O/S

Camera starts with "press a button" - Ooh, nice start Over time, unlocks more functionality together with teaching instructions

Sell language packs, gamification around picture taking, online sharing services, etc.

A bit of Furby, a bit of MailyApp, a bit of child-proof camera.

Science Karaoke - for all the math/physics students

I remember looking at the math textbook and having no idea how to read those huge formulas.

Get field specialists (or grad students) to read aloud complex mathematical formulas. Helps the beginner researchers to understand how to read (and remember) formulas.

Monetization would probably start from doing it for core-text books and selling DVDs at University bookshops and then reaching to publishers for doing it for new texts before they come out.

Contest tracking

Track the developer contents, list the APIs allowed, deadlines, countries, prizes. Allow people to comment around the tasks Allow people to provide training around the tasks (sell the e-Book versions of the training, give part of money to the original contributor) Allow people to subscribe by programming language Setup landing sites by keywords, etc.

Airport Kindle store

Sell worldwide Kindle Help users to be very quickly setup and configured Buy books by shop issuing gift cards and taking cash in any/local currency Get money from Amazon referrals Provide limited wifi, so people could browse/buy more books

Allows to sell a lot of stuff without much store space.

Kids' checklist

For pre-reading kids, activities with big-pretty icons for things like: putting toys away brushing teeth etc.

Allows them to check items off to give kids good habits. Gamify the achievements. This exists for the fridge, but doing it on mobile devices makes it look cooler.

Here's an app idea. Show notifications when the device is within a certain distance from the location of a past historical event. ...or past Crime ...or a message another app user has left.

Here's a Parse sample app that does something very similar: https://parse.com/anywall

I like this idea- it would be cool when exploring a new city if had a preset tour feature where it would guide you through these past historical events, crimes, etc. depending on which theme you chose.

This smells like an ARG. And even if it isn't, there are plenty of overlapping demographics who'd like it.

I can see all kinds of weird unintended uses for it, too. ("Alice <3 Bob" marked in random places.)

would be a cool bike or car app - your get a notice when you are near a hotspot for bike or auto accidents. Give the user a heads up. Possibly to scrape this data from county GIS sites or police maps.

TI-8x calculator resale program - graduating and have no need for that calculator anymore? We buy it and the resell it to incoming students at half the price TI charges!

Emergency mode for smartphones - when you dial 911, the phone goes into a locked down, power saving mode that records audio (maybe video too), transmits your location and attempts to connect you with emergency services. Recorded audio is also transmitted to secure servers for later use by law enforcement in case phone gets destroyed.

I like the TI resale program. I know it would have been very easy to get my TI89 off me after college for a steal. The difficulty comes from the fact that anyone who doesn't need that calculator anymore is almost certainly no longer around people who do. I didn't have the foresight to pre-sell it to a freshman prior to graduating. Good money says almost no one does. Great idea!

[edit] This could also spin into a rental program.

It would be nice to have a dumb computer for your kitchen that is basically just for displaying recipes from the internet (eg allrecipes.com). It would be thin like an ipad and I could hang it on the wall/fridge/cupboard/above the counter while I am preparing food. It would be easy to clean and sturdy and would keep working even I spilled sauce on it, dropped it on the counter, etc.

What about an iPad case that is built to hang off the fridge or cabinets? Optionally include a protective layer for ease of cleaning.

That would work too - something where I wouldn't have to worry if I touched the screen/device even if my hands were covered in batter/sauce/etc.

There was an article on HN recently [http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4533215] about a $79 tablet from China which would do as the hardware...

This was my thought as well, I imagine we'll start to see devices like that but optimized for a specific task: a $100 tablet that is preloaded with 20,000 recipes along with pictures and videos and comes with a magnetic bracket for attaching to the fridge.

In a related vein, I would love an e-ink screen that was essentially just a high-resolution informational display. Recipes would be good for this, but also things like the weather, news headlines, what's on my calendar for the day, etc. It could sync up once an hour or so, and the layout and content would be controlled by me via a web UI.

A service that syncs your resume with companies' Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

The problem: you're applying for jobs at three different companies. Each company uses their own Applicant Tracking System (eg. Taleo, Kenexa, PeopleAdmin). That means you get to fill out your resume three different times, which is tedious and error prone. It would be nice to have a service where you input your resume once and then it just automagically syncs your resume to the ATS of the companies you're interested in.

I know that LinkedIn and Indeed have "Apply with LinkedIn/Indeed" to address this pain point. But I can tell you as someone who's working on a job search engine as a side project, there are many, many jobs where the only way to apply is to fill out an ATS. And if you want to apply to multiple jobs you have to go through the same process again and again.

100% agree. I'd love to be a part of this solution.

A centralized point where people can store different versions of resumes, cover letters, and application information. This point also can parse and pre-fill out any application of your choice for any company. It presents the user only with questions it can't answer from the information it has on file. A summary is given to the user for review before submission.

I've applied to several different positions where one resume or one set of application answers didn't fit all. It would have been nice to have a service to keep a record of my various resumes & application information. Additionally, perhaps you have a varied background you might want to provide a resume or application answers that better highlighted the relevant part of your background. It would be nice if the service could be told to utilize one set of application answers over another.

Anyway, just bouncing around the idea. But I like it.

You might be interested in this job posting from the "Who's hiring" thread from August:


TalentDrive is essentially working on this. (Note: I am affiliated with the company in that my employer shares the same parent company as TalentDrive.)

A little OT, but I don't understand recruiters that e-mail you on LinkedIn asking you to send them your resume.

I've even told one to print off my LinkedIn profile page as my resume, since it's the most up to date, but they still asked for one.

Not to mention only answer the "personality" questions a single time... haven't had to deal with those in some time, but I know many companies use them.

Here's another app idea. Create a catalog of map data based on years and let a user see what their location looked like in years past. Users could see what stores used to be there, how fast their city has sprawled, and could show their kids what their house looked like before it became a strip mall.

Collectively purchase/own items. For instance, baxter[programmable android] came out yesterday/today, and you would like to try it out, but the price point of 22k is too much. A group of people, say 22, can collectively purchase it and rotate the usage of baxter amongst themselves.

Are you familiar with Timeshare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeshare)? It usually refers to property ownership, but can apply to pretty much anything. Most people consider the middlemen in timeshare situations to be scammers, so it would be tough to market.

A few problems: 1. The subject property breaks, who pays? Insurance is clearly necessary, but who will go through the time to process a claim? What if it breaks in transit between owners? 2. Theft. What's to keep an owner from disappearing with the item?

I have a similar concern with this. It's too easy for a scammer to just walk away with an object. Invest a small amount, run away with an object of far greater value.

I'm counting on human honesty. If that can't be trusted then maybe a gps tracker attached to the system.

There are communities who do do this. I wish I had actual references to point out, but stuff like only having one or two lawnmowers for a neighborhood does happen. It's a cultural thing more than a business opportunity.

OTOH, what if you looked at this from the perspective of a dating site? The goal isn't merely to collectively own a thing; it's to find and meet people who you could get to know well enough to trust and participate in collective ownership.

If you don't mind, I have a lot of questions about this.

* The idea is to get x unknown people to pool in for an object, correct? Imo, you're relying a lot on people being honest. What's to stop a person from never passing on the object? Furthermore, what about the time slice for which each person gets to keep an object?

* Where does a company coming in to all of this? What else do they do other than facilitate the transfer of the object?

Sorry if that's too many questions. I like the idea and it seems like something that could be beneficial in theory, but I have my doubts about it working in practice.

In the case of an android, it could just walk to your house when it's your time to play with it!

Haven't thought this through very much, but it'd address some frustrations I've been having lately. If someone can come up with a means of getting around domain squatters, that'd be amazing. Kind of like a redirect service for legitimate businesses.

I've been learning about the domain squatting business recently, by basically becoming a domain squatter. It's something I've been fascinated by for years, I always wondered how profitable or easy it was.

I've learnt quite a bit, and will get round to blogging things sometime, but the main lesson is - most domains earn nothing from adverts while on sedo or other marketplaces, and a decent offer of $500+ should get you almost any domain you want.

If it's a domain that's worth much more than that (e.g. insure.com sold for $16 million), then it would have been bought long ago regardless of domain squatters. It would just have been used by some other business, so you didn't really lose out.

If someone has a domain of my name that's very low value (I'd a domain I used to use for a blog). Is it likely they'll let it go after a year with little traffic? If not how much would you expect them to want? How do you get in touch if they've used an anonymous registrar?

How long have they owned it? There's lots of people (it seems everyone on HN for a start), who buy domains "for a project" that never quite gets started, and end up owning 20-30 domains.

In general, I think those kind of domains will sell for anything around $200. If they're holding it for a sale, they'll probably want more, like $500 or more.

If they've used an anonymous registrar, you can check the domainwhois sites for a history if you really want, and contact old owners of the domains, it might still be them, but otherwise I'd say forget it - they probably don't want to sell.

Interesting thanks. I'm the only previous owner, I let it lapse carelessly. As my the domain is my name, and a pretty unique one, it doesn't have much resale value.

My guess is that when I was blogging regularly it got enough traffic to get on some watchlist and when it became available was snapped up. But don't think it will see any traffic without me pushing it.

But I suspect you're right they don't make it easy to contact them so I don't imagine it's up for sale.

If you email me (check my profile for address) the domain, i'll have a poke around if you want, but it was probably an automated system that grabbed it, and if it doesn't generate enough traffic to pay for it's renewal, it'll get dropped next expiry.

I think we should have some kind of domain amnesty.

Every domain you are not going to develop & probably wont renew next year should be easily available. Parked domains should be forwarded to a hosted domain page saying "If you'd like to buy this awesome domain contact me on ..." "I'll accept [insert reasonable price ie $100]

Domains with no contact info, that are parked & have never been developed are so annoying.

Either develop them or have them forward to a decent sales page.

Would be really interested in a blog about this. Please drop me a mail if you ever get around to posting one?

Will do - maybe this thread will make me get round to doing it!

Third! Please email me as well :-)

Seconding this!

How about a GPS car navigation unit that detects if you're going too fast for an upcoming curve and warns you?

It seems like it already has all the data.

Kind of already happening. Many gps units warn you if you're over the speed limit, and limits are set with upcoming curves factored in.

> Kind of already happening. Many gps units warn you if you're over the speed limit, and limits are set with upcoming curves factored in.

Here's a startup idea, but not for the faint of heart:

1. The authorities put a QR code (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code) on all the speed-limit signs, a label that can be read from a great distance, and one specially coded to be unambiguously a speed limit notification.

2. An enterprising startup designs an Android app that (a) reads QR codes through the windshield of a car, (b) compares the speed limit to the GPS-derived velocity, and (c) alerts the driver that he's exceeding the locally posted limit.

3. Drivers plant their Android devices on the dashboard of their car and run the app. The dashboard of a modern car happens to be a great place to get a GPS fix.

This isn't meant to force people to drive the speed limit, but only to let them know when they aren't.

Current cars (BMW, Mercedes-Benz) already have that. There's a camera that recognizes signs and warns you if you're above the limit. See http://www.bmw.com/com/en/newvehicles/3series/sedan/2011/sho...

Oh, well, this won't be the first time I have suggested something that's already been done. :)

I think this kind of technology is already being placed inside cars themselves. And the QR code is probably harder to scan while moving than recognising the speed limit plate itself.

The problem with this is that if you rely on the system and there is an error in the map (the curve is not marked) you have a big problem. If you don't rely on the data and drive carefully there is no point anymore :) A possible solution would be to detect the curve radius with a camera, but it has it's own problems. You never have 100% accurate data.

Well the market is for careful drivers who once in a while aren't paying attention, or are simply approaching a curve that isn't well marked.

I'd consider it a system of last resort, not something to replace careful driving but to enhance it.

And maybe throw in some modifiers if it's raining (or has recently rained) and if it's dark or foggy.

A service that allows me get all my snail mail by email, I get a virtual address, they scan / OCR etc (and spam filter)

It exists. First one I found: http://www.virtualpostmail.com/

Earth Class Mail http://www.earthclassmail.com/

I don't know who else saw it, but there was a show called Startup Junkies that profiled this company for 8 episodes. http://www.mojohd.com/mojoseries/startupjunkies/about.jsf

http://www.outboxmail.com/ is currently only in Austin, TX.

Another one: http://www.usa2me.com

I've been looking into this.

Just as a rough idea: what monthly price would you find bearable?

Ok a couple more ideas; sorry to post so many :-(

A turn signal that produces the turn signal ticking sound really loudly outside your car so the person in front of you is aware you want to turn.

Sell sterilized tape worms for weight loss. It seems like a great way to lose weight but I'd be freaked out by the though of them reproducing inside of me. If a tape worm harmlessly died after a few month I'd be up for it, especially if the alternative were surgery or diabetes.

A device that can detect the sound of glass breaking and notify the police. You could put them in neighborhoods everywhere.

> A turn signal that produces the turn signal ticking sound really loudly outside your car so the person in front of you is aware you want to turn.<

All I can imagine is the recording of a guy yelling, "Click! Click! Click!" amplified at a crossing. Ha!

> Sell sterilized tape worms for weight loss. It seems like a great way to lose weight but I'd be freaked out by the though of them reproducing inside of me. If a tape worm harmlessly died ...

The tapeworms might not cooperate:



I personally don't want tapeworms in my brain -- there's already enough junk living up there.

Although there seems to be potential in using intestinal worms to fix auto-immune diseases of the bowel like Crohns Disease.


Number 3: A startup in the same co-working space as me is working on exactly that (amongst other things) – http://www.audioanalytic.com/

Are you in the St. Johns Innovation Centre?

No, ideaSpace, out in West Cambridge – http://www.ideaspace.cam.ac.uk/ – where I work on a product called Unifyo which helps businesses integrate separate information systems, cloud applications and e-mail in a lightweight way (https://unifyo.com). Always happy to chat, e-mail in profile.

Here is an idea (rather ambitious) I am kicking around recently. It's not a novel idea and many entities are pursuing it right now, however I think they are going in the wrong direction. That is mobile wallet, the ecosystem the big players are proposing have some weakness. This is what I propose: 1. no special hardware required for merchant to adopt. All you need is access to a browser to begin accepting mobile wallet payment. 2. no NFC needed, with location and QR code, you could do what NFC can do. 3. software could do a lot of smart thing for security, such as tying the user account to a specific device/location/time for authorized transactions. 4. as for payment solution, one could just use Amazon's payment service, so that you don't have to store the user's financial information. 5. value added service, such as analytics for merchant, coupon, deals, loyalty, sharing, etc.

I know the mobile wallet space is very competitive and full of heavy weights, but I don't think they are doing all of the above. i.e., google wallet require merchant to have specialize NFC readers installed.

To implement all of these is not that difficult technically, but I am not sure how challenge it is in terms of meeting certain regulatory requirements. Is mobiel wallet platform subject to FDIC, EFT, and other financial regulation?

Missed an important class/lecture/lab because you were sick or too busy taking care of some more important stuff than attending class? Introducing a not-so-innovative but pretty useful (and crowdsourced) course video/audio sharing platform! Students can upload materials such as videos and audio of a class, so people who missed the class can browse through the archive to see what he/she missed.

I myself believe this is a good idea. Even if it fails to validate itself in a certain market, I still want to build it because this is at least what I desperately need. I only have an one hour class today, but it takes me around an hour and a half to get to the campus and another hour and a half for me to get back home. It's extremely tiring.

Concerns would be: 1. What if recording a lecture is illegal in some places? Or if it's against the rules of the university?

2. I'm a student myself, so I don't have a lot of money to invest in content storage if people start uploading a lot of videos and audios. I'll be hosting the site on webfaction on the most basic plan, so the resource is fairly limited. It would be great to have a service that I can direct all the upload to their site via an API or some sort, so the users are uploading to the service from my site.

YouTube Direct is great, but there's some problems associated with it: a. User has to log in first, which is a hassle, especially when people don't necessarily trust me, yet. I would totally accept anonymous uploads.

b. I want to make it as simple as possible. Having a YouTube widget to handle this really doesn't feel right. It makes the process less intuitive.

That's it! Please give me some feedback.

My 10 random Ideas (updated here for clarity) (original:http://decodedenote.tumblr.com/post/18942589572/10-random-id...)

1. A simple one tap add note app for android. All the ones Ive used till now are shit.

2. Peer to peer text and image browser. Torrent like? Why and what? Don’t ask. Like diaspora.

3. Original Color.com app done right.

4. Karma styled instead of performance styled company employee review system.

5. Personal interests and likes on Facebook change. Also circles of friends change. New social thing utilizing this phenomenon for data mining.

6. A real time crowd sourced transcription/fact checker for streaming video. Handy during political debates.

7. Course discussion Reddit like group. Can add equations as generated images like web assign. Break topic into meaningful things.

8. Make sexy furniture using trash. So much awesome stuff is thrown away each year. I bet itll look better than shit at american outfitters.

9. Webapp that sees who up voted who (in a reddit like system) and word cloud into tags and interests.

10. Calvin and Hobbes comic generator. Seriously. If I type anything, it should generate a comic based on that and embed it. xkcd works too :)

Trade your dead tree versions of books in for ebook versions + credit for more ebooks when value of book exceeds ebook wholesale cost.

Don't think this can be profitable in any way. What would you do with the dead tree books?

Ship in bulk to poor countries for use as bricks. There's clearly no other profit to be had for them.

Sell them?

Old books have essentially no value. Cracked (of all places) did a story of how hard libraries work to get rid of books, and all the problems that they face just trying to even put them in the trash.


One that I can't get out of my mind - but it's more enterprise-y and not very 'sexy':

Enterprise software selection is a mess - often involving a team that doesn't know much about technology, the landscape of vendors, how to go about actually selecting the best vendor for the requirements, contract negotiations, etc. I've run several of these for a bunch of organizations from Fortune 10 to small non profits, and generally the steps are the same. Create a high level scope, create a 'long list', gather and prioritize requirements, allow vendors to respond, score and rank responses, demonstrations, short list, negotiations, selection. The details may vary a bit, but to me that seems like something that could be automated, with an app that would guide the team through the process relatively easily. Over time you could even build a library of requirements, vendors, and vendor responses (assuming you could manage the ownership of these artifacts).

Crowd-sourced solar data.

Collect solar irradiance data (used to compute solar panel effectiveness) via consumer devices (iphones or andoids that have light sensors).

Combine the collected data into an always updated, hyper local dataset, give (sell?) data to solar development companies and municipalities.

This could greatly reduce time to research feasibility of solar farms in cities.

1. P2P travel insurance. Similar to kickstarter campaign, your friends insure you for small claims <$5000. No claims, friends get money back. P2P company holds money and profits on short term interest rates. Larger liability and medical expenses would still need to be underwritten by normal insurance companies. 2. Smart Water Meters - Develop water flow meters on each pipe/faucet to report flow information to an application. Should then be able to detect leaking taps, validate water efficiency of appliances and remotely shut off water to certain pipes for those in cold climates. 3. Eventography - Develop an event based photo sharing application to help people collaborate on photos taken at an event, such as a wedding or concert, with one click.

Re #3, Google Plus actually has this.

If you schedule an event, and then click into Party Mode, your pictures go into an album shared with all the other attendees.

bah! sweet.

Home 3D Printer for clothing and textiles.

Textile knitting machines have been digital for close to 100 years (old ones used chains with risers that would change the gears of the machines to change the knit). For simple garments, there's a completely automatable step that makes the majority of the piece, but then there is often hand-sewing to assemble the final product (e.g. sewing sleeves into T-shirts, seams into toes of socks, etc…). Trick is developing the robotics to manipulate it so this can be automated. It doesn't have to be fast (like a factory needs) if you're making stuff for yourself. There's a whole ecosystem you could build around downloadable designs, consumables, etc...

A service which makes detailed and complete digital records of everything you have, then disposes of the physical originals.

Dystopian version: It's done by a lot of hazmat-suited folks, possibly robots, and you and your family are included in "everything you have".

I'm kind of late to the game but here's what comes out of my mind/mouth at lunch here:

Loser Trophies - What's more motivating than rewarding success? Reinforcing the fear of absolute failure. Loser trophies are trophies for the people who didn't place, a constant reminder that they should try harder next time. Perfect for fun intramural leagues and the tiger mom in all of us, loser trophies will feature models cast in defeated poses, slumped over and humiliated.

Spider sucking vacuum attachment - A super long extension to suck up those daddy long legs in the corner of your apartment. It'll be telescoping and lined with something to kill the bug. [this is from my coworker typpo]

Hardware product idea: ~7 inch screen with keyboard for administration of headless servers. It's very annoying to use large monitor and full keyboard when all you need is change line in BIOS or press few buttons when OS stopped to boot.

A digital photo service that can identify duplicate photos and lets the user delete duplicates easily.

I'd gladly hand over my wallet if http://SnapJoy.com had this feature.

Track your stuff for insurance loss. SaaS app that prints out small bar code stickers. add these to your stuff. assign $ value and if you have receipt (can email phone pic of receipt to app). If you are going on a trip, make video of all bar code stickers and upload to app site. Site will parse video and compile a list of your items that are going with you on your trip and assign a replacement value. This app would be perfect for people with homeowners insurance that replaces goods that are burned or stolen etc.

This idea is very similar to Instagram, but with following tweaks : 1) It is an instagram like application where you can take protographs using smartphone. 2) This will have a web interface. 3) This also accepts camara photos over the web like Flickr or picasa. 4) Users can order photo prints at a very economocal price. 5) Users have an option of selling their photos as stockphotos(have a checkbox while just before uploading photo asking "Do you want to enable this photo to be sold as stockphoto")?

Do you pay for this service?

I'd like to have a service that notifies me of deadlines. I input a description of the task and the date, all my tasks are then ordered by how close the deadline is. I can also set intervals for me to be reminded about the deadline.

I can share this information with someone like my boss. She can view what I'm working on and add tasks to it if need be, and every time she adds a task I get a notification asking me to accept the task. In addition to being able to accept the task, I have the ability to propose an alternative date too.


I posted it on another thread. An app to help you decide on what to wear on a given day. The app will get inputs from weather, day's schedule and the clothes in your wardrobe etc. and will then suggest you what to wear. It can take input regarding clothes in wardrobe using either a scan of the clothing item or using a barcode. It can also suggest which new clothing items to buy based on what is currently in the user's wardrobe and user's lifestyle. This can cover the monetizing aspect of the app.

I've started a blog where I post an idea a day, both to help me remember, but also to help train myself to think more creatively. A number of the ideas could function as startups.


A lot of the ideas skew towards tech and software, but some of them are actual products that could be built, and some are just half-baked ideas that might incrementally useful for an existing product.

OK, here is the list of my ideas. "working" on it for years, never had balls to start implementing, BUT I am computer programmer if you want to work on any of those together, let me know. Otherwise take it, "steal it", and make it big. And mention you heard it from joe :)

- watches exchange club. you are doing as a middle man between watch lover. X amount to signup + monthly fee gives your user base access to each other watches. Users can exchange watches of similar value for X amount of time - like 3, 6 months. After that need to return the watch. Of course there is user verification system. Also each watch can be exchanged through a middle man (you) that will double check the watch quality before passing it forward to receiver (this would be at additional charge, something like Ebay Protect)

- whereabouts mobile app. simple app, mostly used by companies to track emps, but by parents as well. As simple as twitter, you just have access to someones up to date GPS location, not their messages feed.

- tldr (contacted tldr.com guy but never finished our talk). basically new version of digg. Let anyone submit article BUT other people can summarize it in X number of bullets and that's it. Nice feature -- other people can "fork it" - take that and edit it make a better version (shorter or longer with more info). Community votes on the best version. Articles/summarizes are linked with other articles in a time period that creates a story (like a news story that is developing).

- drawing together app. similar to draw something, but lets parents and children to use separate devices to draw together, or color cartoons, etc.

- iPhone door opener with patented technology. Develop and patent technology that creates a qr/barcode that opens the door (keys killer). that technology will work with different doors and car doors, etc. Obviously since no mechanical key is involved you can for example work for a company that uses this technology and instead of giving you physical keys, they can manage certain doors to be open with your phone.

- perfumania. not too much IT related but this idea poped to my head while working on fifth avenue. walking every morning millions of women pass me by. now, you have soda/chips vending machines, you can rent movies via machine. develop and patent machine to dispense either paper sticks or tiny containers with perfumes. a client has access to a wall of 50 or more different fragrances (perhaps some of a well established brands, but not only so client can discover new fragrances). sell it real cheap so each day a women can get sprayed with different fragrance.

- impressed by this thread: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3748104 I registered thumbkissing.com Any ideas for app? - contact me.

- app for "display" shops. It was a nightmare to buy furniture for my new place. went through plenty of places and been buried under phonebook-thick catalogs. There must be better way. An app to browse shop offer via ipad. Develop app. Start with furniture, there is only couple main companies that shops get their supplies from. Upload entire offer; offer iPads cheap to shop owners as a medium to browse their inventory. My impression - they will quickly switch from thick catalogs that shows everything, not exactly what each shop has or can have on stock/sell. Repeat for other stores: mattress places, etc.

- better hacker news :) this one is still on my todo list. DO NOT change anything that currently is, just add more options: follow hackers (notified when they type new comment), remove comments, branches from long commend thread that you been reading, mark/hide read comments, notifier of number of new comments since you read last time, etc. Lock the website to 1,000-5,000 HN readers (registered users) not to kill/piss off PG that your boot is raping HN server.

- human protocol (I call it HAPI - Human Application Protocol Interface). Basically reversed interned when people push the data instead of pull. Hard to explain shortly here. Basically a stream where each task has its code and you pushing "strings" of data where others can read them. no website, just plain data. For example you want to sell a car? you push "status: 40 [selling], location: 4903 [New York], var1: 3254 [Model of car]" etc. Then users build receivers that treat this information accordingly, but stream on its own in uncontrollable, something like uploaded torrent.

- interests mailbox. I want to unsubscribe my personal email from all the "Spam" I am getting and have one mailbox that I can select the offers I want to receive. Imagine it the same way like when you changing your address usps gives you all the offers of local stores. if im interested in gardening, I want to be able to pickup "theme" gardening and signup for all the emails related to the subject from all vendors out there.

- twitter for businesses. same idea but you follow companies so the focus is on the tools for a company to promote and sell their products. Twitter is not the best platform for it; hasnt been designed for this purpose and does not provide unified tools.

- we are vacationing. I want a website where I can create our tour map that looks cool and all our friends can check on it. where are we, what we doing, where we been, of course uploading photos and videos on the way.

- fanBooth. mostly for cute girls. website when you can take only one shoot a day (or very limited number). of yourselves and other can "follow" you: put comments, etc. you can tag that photo like #tryingnewclothes. others can vote on the best for day/week/month in certain category.

- mallHunter. you seen all those little booths at your local mall? provide them with app when they can upload their items to sell: take photo and upload, everything they have on sale/discount.

- habitBreaker. website/app where I can mark the date that I quit smoking/drinking/doping and see other people that did the same and compare how many days I stay clean. Community can type message that keeps them away from the habit, others can vote on it "helped me too" and then the top votes are send via email blast or displayed on the website.

EDIT: vote up if you liked any of those :)

drawing together app. similar to draw something, but lets parents and children to use separate devices to draw together, or color cartoons, etc.

I was going to make something kinda like this myself one time. Ever since I played with PolyPaint some years ago I've been meaning to remake it, possibly with tons more features, more social aspects etc




I like this one:

- drawing together app. similar to draw something, but lets parents and children to use separate devices to draw together, or color cartoons, etc.

I could see me playing that with my daughter.

As a general point, currently educational/fun apps for children in Google Play all seem to be aimed at pre-schoolers. I'd like some games/apps for those aged 5-11. Doesn't necessarily have to be educational. EG:

Girl/boy takes headshot photo of themselves, and is then able to choose a virtual outfit for themself - Princess, Pirate etc etc, and then email the pic to friends.

the drawing app is my top # if I ever had a chance to find some time and execute it. Gadders, if you would like to be the first beta tester, contact me via email on my profile and will let you know the progress.

Email sent!

UniKey is doing the "iPhone door opener" idea. Very cool tech - can't wait until it's available.


I read that as UnlikelyTech.com

Might be worth reading about smart property. There is more detail here: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Smart_Property

RE: Habibreaker, check out Stickk.com . Really interesting work by a behavioral economist and people use it!

A Chrome extension that solves CAPTCHAs with a click. Charge me 1 USD for 10 credits and then outsource the solving to some of those shady sites for $0.001 each.

Why not just have an option on a site to bypass CAPTCHA on a site by paying $0.10 via PayPal or some other method?

It'd be hard to convince people running sites that they should accept 0.10 to let me bypass the captcha. It'd be easier to solve this on my side and for every site at the same time.

There's an "If I got 10 cents everytime someone complained about using CAPTCHA..." joke in there somewhere, I just know it.

I could honestly see this working. Your site enrolls to the program, people can put money in $1, $5, $10 dollars at a time. Site owners get $0.05 per signup through the service and can collect for every 1k users signed up (paid in $50 increments).

Agreed. Might be tough to get over the "chicken and egg" problem. This is a startup idea, mine was more like a weekend project. I hope someone solves this thing.

Kinda like www.deathbycaptcha.com ?

Exactly. But I'm suggesting a "bridge" that would sit between this, so I'd pay a "premium" for 10 credits, but everything would be solved with a click.

Some ideas that I shared on my blog post (http://blog.anujkumar.com/post/27913522655/please-steal-my-s...) :

1. Emosic : A music discovery service that lets you discover music/music videos according to emotion tags, artists, band, album, genre etc. It should let users organize music they like in easy to use playlists and share playlists/music with friends on facebook or other social networks.

2. Hangout : A web/mobile app to let users discover interesting places to visit, events to attend and fun activities to do together in their city with their friends, family and may be a prospective date. It should let users create hangout plans/wishes that their friends can discover and join. After all, real life happens offline and not on facebook.

3. TalentHunt : An online competition where upcoming artists can participate by submitting their music/videos on website. Audience votes on their videos for a specific period. Top N number of artists are invited for face-to-face audition/competition where judges decide the winner. This can be broadcasted live online or on any T.V. channel. Winner gets some cash prize or an opportunity to get his first album recorded.

4. CyberModels : An online service to connect small business/startups (that needs fresh faces for pics/videos on their site) with people who are interested in modeling for a small fees. It can be an alternative to stock photos.

5. Udacity for music : A site similar to udacity that offers quality courses on music like - Music Theory, Learn Piano, Learn Guitar, Vocals, etc. You can charge for the courses.

6. Music Marketplace : A one-stop music marketplace where anyone (artist or record labels) can legally sell music/video online. Also, it should have a good referral program and REST API.

and the one I need (not sure if it can be a startup but it can be a useful service) :

7. HN Knowledge Explorer : It should let me find best articles/posts/comments posted on HN for a particular topic and sort it by points, number of comments, date etc. For example topics like "Python", "Machine Learning", "SEO" etc. I don’t know if it is possible but it would be nice if it can also provide a way to sort these on basis of their google rank for given search term. Once it is done try adding more sources like Reddit, Google+ etc.

@anjukk For 1: you have 8tracks now adays

Flip Craigslist on its head. Post things you want to buy, the service fills in questions and details on them using a combination of Mechanical Turk workers and social crowd sourcing. Looks like Reddit, with comments even, has Buy Local™ and category browsing options. Emails/SMSs you when it finds things that match your 'buys'.

Subset idea: comments on Craigslist postings. "Went and saw this couch. It's huge and hideous in person."

Problem: Customers ask for a cup for water in restaurants with selve serve soda fountains and proceed to fill the cup with soda. (Is this a big problem?)

Solution: QR codes (or something else) printed on the inside bottom of each cup intended for soda. (water cups would be normal cups.) Then the machine would only dispense soda if it sees the QR code. (Or same idea with RFID)

The QR codes could also be used to gather data about your customers - what's their favorite drink? How much do they drink per visit? What size drink do they prefer?

I think you could get this data by tracking (1) How many people came in, potentially via number of meals sold (2) How many times you have to re-order each type of drink. It wouldn't be real time but the data presumably already exists. Plus nowadays I see those fancy electronic dispensers with touch screens and would be very surprised if they didn't have built in metrics.

I think this is interesting, but I suspect any solution will cost more than the loss incurred from the problem. But, ignoring that,

A good way to implement it might be to have an entire line of cups that have the QR code printed, with a peel-off sticker inside hiding it. Then you could just have one type of cup and peel it off whenever someone asks for water/soda.

Why not jump into ecommerce feet first and buy a turnkey store selling 3,200+ digital downloadable products?


You can easily spend 10k building an app no one wants, or buy an existing brand and inventory.

Endless personalized (/-able) photo&image stream.

I want my screen full of an endless stream of images, which I can customize both by "liking" or narrow by keywords, such as "now I want to see artsy black&white photos" or "show me men's fashion". I expect the images shown both in general and in specific cases to cater to my taste.

Take the fuzzy logic and intelligence in commercial-grade data cleansing programs, and create a version that will fit on a mobile and de-dupe my contacts.

It shouldn't just present them as one contact on the phone, but actually update the record on Google Contacts or wherever to reflect the "merged" identity.

Something similar was offered by connex.io but unfortunately they've closed recently.

Solve the Time Problem. As in "I'm a developer with a great idea but no time to do it".

Perhaps if someone has a bit of spare cash left over from the day job they could pay someone else to build their project for them (subject to stringent code review). Sort of like Rentacoder but more fine grained.

FirstLesson.com - product reviews for language learning websites.

Do a screencast of language learning website (first lesson for each). Allows people to see for themselves which of the sites better fit their needs.

Make money from affiliate joining fees for the reviewed sites.

A yelp type app for long trips. When Im on the interstate for a 6 hour drive. I prefer a starbucks 10 miles away right off the the exit than a starbucks 3 miles away but 2.5 miles from the interstate.

As with most hackers here, a job, a family and an attempt not to burn out has left me with plenty of ideas but with very little to show.

The most audacious one rolling around in my head right now is Notifyway.com. The basic concept is allowing the end user to control how and when they receive communication from a sender (could be an app, your washing machine or Facebook).

The process would be as follows: 1. The customer (lets call him Bob) signs up with Notifyway.com and downloads any apps they want to use (iOs, Android, Windows, Growl plugin, whatever). 2. Bob registers each app as a "receiver" with Notifyway.com using OAuth. This allows push notifications to be sent to each "receiver" 3. Bob signs up with AwesomeService.com which lets him know when there are friends nearby. 4. AwesomeService.com connects to Notifyway.com and Bob authenticates the connection using OAuth. 5. AwesomeService.com finds a friend nearby and connects to the Notifyway.com API with a short and long message for Bob. 6. Bob has decided that AwesomeService.com should send him a text message for each notification if it comes through on weekend. However, during the week, Bob would like all notifications to be sent to Growl on his Mac (if it is during work hours) as he is at his desk all day long. After hours, a Tweet can be sent or a notification on his iPhone. If it is a long message, it should be sent to Bob's personal email as it is likely a marketing message or some other time insensitive update. 7. Bob is able to make decisions on how to receive his notifications using plugins that provide outgoing services (like ifttt) 7. AwesomeService.com have integrated into a single service with a single API for all their communications with Bob, safe in the knowledge that he will get the notification as he wants to get them. 8. Bob is able to disconnect AwesomeService.com if he ever feels they are not providing any value and he is guaranteed no more communication (Bob never even gave his email to AwesomeService.com because it wasn't necessary).

The concept lives and dies on very high volume and would need to have fairly low margins to entice services to pay to communicate with their customers. This would probably need to be driven by customers who would demand integration.

There are services that do something similar things (e.g. Boxcar, Pushover & Notifo) but I don't think they are aligned in the same way. I am hoping to make this an "open service" so the protocol is open, 3rd party apps would be welcome and community contribution acknowledged.

If anyone is interested, I'm starting a design document to discuss the possibilities and opportunities that this service might create.

A service that aggregate, index and archive all the content you produce on the web. Aggregation could be done manually with ifttt.com but the storage part do not seem to exist yet.

A service that enables you to never have to attach a file to an email again. (Or at least one that teaches my parents how to retain this information.)

A real media browser in the browser. I think current browsers have horrible interface to the local filesystem and it should be easy to improve.

Browsers typically rely on the operating system to provide file system browsing/navigation. So the onus on the the operating system makers, not the browser makers.

Version controlling for Powerpoint. Seriously. I do lots of Powerpoint and keep replacing them with wrong ones sometimes.

Do you share these over email? I had an idea to create a Gmail based file browser _just_ for attachments because of similar problems working with people that refused to use Dropbox or Github.

Sometimes. But most of the times is sharing via USB/Network

Here is my list of ideas:

1. Problem: Difficult to implement shipping for any business, website, store, etc. You only have UPS/FedEx

   Solution: Kayak for Shipping - Developer implements shipping API, which enables back end to do a rate shopping engine for shipping, which taps into APIs for FedEx, USPS, UPS, and allows local shippers to qualify for the program, including PostMates and any other Joe Schmo interested in shipping...
2. Problem: I can't play paintball with my friends. Solution: Ender's Game - Computers v. Humans

3. Problem: People die because they can't get organ donations. Solution: Create a co-op where people join a market for organ donations.

4. Problem: Scheduling things with friends is really hard, there is too much back and forth over SMS and email Solution: Set up a centralized service through your phone that schedules for you, but is totally automated, no human beings, just machines, so that virtual assistants don't have to waste time scheduling

5. Problem: There are no parking spots in the city Solution: Price out illegal parking zones by multiplying the probability of ticket * ticket cost. Using a mobile app, a user pays for parking insurance at differing rates, but allows them to find a parking spot where there previously wasn't one

6. Problem: why is it that you can only bookmark pages or urls Solution: delicious 2.0 - be able to micro-bookmark. i should be able to save things at the sub page level and consume that content later: a post in a block, a newsfeed post on facebook, a photo in a webpage, a section of an article. etc

7. Problem: Sending direct mail is hard - you need good lists, need to process with mailhouses, and you don't know whether the mail you send is reaching the right audience Solution: Create a digital application to send mail as easily as email, complete with analytics of the funnel, and the ability to unsubscribe from the mail you're sent. Make mail, like e-mail.

8. Problem: Animated GIFs are the new LolCat, where can I find the best animated GIFs? Solution: Use animated gifs as a medium for snipping video that you can easily see over your mobile phone

9. Problem: What happens to all my digital stuff when I die? Or when I want something killed... Solution: future me, death switch - go through with my credentials and find usernames and passwords and have ways to kill the accounts.

10. Problem: I can't listen to radio broadcasts, etc. with my friends Solution: Social listening with friends. Suggestions from friends of articles or things to listen to with their commentary in their words.

11. Problem: Mobile data sucks sucks sucks. I want to watch something on demand or download a movie. Solution: BitTorrent for mobile. Allow the sharing of mobile data amongst subscribers, but you have leech and seed at the same time...

12. Problem: Keeping in touch with people is REALLY hard. Solution: Create retention method of keeping in touch with people that uses a computer to help you keep in touch with people who matter.

13. Problem: Buying billboard ads sucks Solution: Create billboard ad marketplace

13. Problem: Retail locations have captive audiences and it's hard enough to monetize the location. Why doesn't everything turn into a Times Square? Solution: Give them a TV, stream over the internet, and do ads. You can break up with television advertising model by guaranteeing the location and zip code.

14. Problem: Shipping takes time. Solution: Establish network of 3D printers to print things on demand for same-day shipping.

15. Problem: People get stabbed in the Mission Solution: 1) Crowd-sourcing police cameras, we pay people to stream live their local areas and videotape people walking around. Instead of just letting police see it, everyone sees what's going on, but the difference is that the owner and we hold the rights to the content. Assumption that more cameras means less stabbings. 2) You could even SMS a number and it would follow your location on your way home so that you are recorded every step of the way. Kind of like a virtual sentry and you could have an individual nearby to escort you if need be for a digital amount. 3) Text Message app where if a crime has been committed. It texts me that one has happened near me. Uses increasingly open government data apis and police blotters.

16. Problem: Where are all the hot people? How can we take the local tracking phenomenon to an even deeper degree... Solution: Hot or Not of Local. People take pics of other folks and they can rate those people relatively around them.

17. Problem: I can't have dinner with my family in Colorado, HK, etc. Solution: Hack the Kinect to create the Farenheit 451 wall. We can actually have real conversations with people. I somehow feel MSFT will do this with Skype and Kinect, but whatevz.

18. Problem: Receipts suck. Yet, we still need them. Solution: Make it easy to create a hardware or software solution that takes receipts and mails them in a way that is easy for Quickbooks, quicken, or whoever needs to keep track of expenses. I hate Oracle.

19. Problem: I want to watch movies with friends. Solution: Have a way to watch a movie with a friend and have them put commentary on the movie and for me to also enjoy watching the movie. Annotations and real social. Spotify meets Netflix.

20. Problem: Water is expensive for large utilities. Solution: Smart grid for water utilities: OPower, but for water utilities. The issue here is that water is cheap, but a very large industry, so where could I make the delivery of water much more efficient.

21. Problem: I hate buying new computer equipment Solution: Lease electronic equipment - Apple products are uniquely suited to this. New ones are released every 12 months, old ones have a high resale value, iCloud syncs all your documents for when you buy a new device, and there's a large population of people who always want to own the latest one. You could charge a flat monthly rate to people who always want to have the newest iPad, then send them a new one every 12 months with a prepaid box to return their old one. There's even a 3rd party warranty company that covers drops and spills for a reasonable rate -- http://www.squaretrade.com.

22. Problem: Payroll is DOMINATED by two guys - ADP and PayChex, they suck Solution: Kill them. Do better with a product that values people as people.

23. Problem: [w] why can't you buy something online and pick it up in a store (this currently is verticalized) Solution: make product search -> purchase and pickup in store easy. build the amazon for local pickup

24. Problem: AirTime sucked because it didn't let you Hot or Not people Solution: It would be awesome if you could... AirTime with HotOrNot... social and virtual currency. Allowing pretty people to make money from their beauty.

I feel that Problem 3 is a more legal and socio-political issue than a marketplace issue. How do you control organ trafficking from poor undeveloped countries?

Ah, but that's where the best hacks can occur usually where legal or socio-political issues keep the best solution from occuring. Unlike a real marketplace, a co-op is an agreed marketplace, so it won't allow new entrants unless they join. To fix the undeveloped country problem, you just limit to the US first. The perspective should be that individuals who want to contribute their organs to the co-op can, but are also allowed to partake in it later as well.

I think another solution could be to link the Organ Donor programs together. I think several US states have DMVs that register Organ Donation options. It could be a good starting point to get Donors matched up with Recipients. On similar lines, various blood donation program registries and bone marrow registries can also be incorporated in this marketplace. At least we will be sure that who ever is participating is doing so out of his/her own will.

[go easy on the non-tech guy]

A couple I've thought up but never had the time or know how to make. If you want to take any of these and run feel free, if you'd like to talk more about any my email is in my profile:

-A dating app that more closely mimics real-world dating by bringing spontaneous discovery and subtle-interactions into play. Traditional dating apps require you to a) know what you want and b) know how to find that in a text-based profile. That's not how the real world works. In real life dating you either meet through a third party (friend, roommate, classmate) or you randomly meet this person in a bar, library, etc (serendipity). In the latter case you choose to interact or not based solely on a) attractiveness and b) very basic personal information (age, general personality, intelligence). This app would try to closely mimic that form of meeting. It would also control a major pain point with current dating apps where men send out hundreds of messages without hearing back and women tend to get buried in a sea of copy and paste messages. It would do this by first requiring the female (in hetero users) to indicate interest in the male (real life: raised eyebrow/come hither look). Men can say they are interested in a girl (real life: buy her a drink) but they cannot interact with them any further until the woman says she is interested. The idea would be to start this in colleges where the majority of users are of similar demographics and actively seeking casual dates/hookups.

-an online marketplace for premium artisan greeting cards. i've always thought there was a market for the $10-$20 greeting card as long as you can really bring something people want. You see it with Hallmark trying out fresh ink and with the rise of Papyrus. The idea is that you can find plenty of very good artists who are looking for a way to pad their income. Personally I'm family friends with a good number of cartoonists but a look in any liberal arts university could surely uncover 5-10 quality artists. So the idea would be to seed the site with numbered, limited runs of the best of these artists greeting cards. You would need to find a quality printer and make sure your packaging is worthwhile but if you could seed the site initially with 10-20 new/unique quality greeting cards it could turn into it's own machine. Especially if you allow artists outside those you "invited" initially to submit their entries and have the top 5-10 make it to print each month/quarter. After allowing for printing and shipping costs you could give the artists 60% and take 40% of the proceeds. If done right this could be a place for artists to get started/make extra money.

-and iphone app built to be a "personal assistants assistant". An app that can take a persons calendar (google, outlook, ios), travel plans (tripit), address book, etc and make common tasks for a personal assistant much easier to do.

-a site/app that makes it easier to find a workout partner. it's been shown that people work out harder and more consistently when they have a workout partner but finding one (especially in urban areas) is incredibly difficult.

!OVER-THE-TOP-ALERT In-browser/Facebook MMO PVP game

A browser game(not HTML5 magic.. those that function like RTS, for example) that permitted all sort of harassment, apart from directly competing/fighting(example.: click to send 10 thugs to attack other player HQ), it would also possess other mechanics like slowban and hellban to fire at other players, Area of Effect stuff, scorching earth, looting, reputation, karma

Other than fu#king with your enemies/friends by making their game slow or making them silent without them knowing, there could be all kinds of creative "bans"(that would be like curses, but since I haven't thought of a setting to run this on top on I won't call them this way).. mess with the player interface, steal/spy on resources, the more over the top, the better

the game would be designed to encourage everyone to harass everyone(or to polarize harassers/good people, like in UO), with some additional mechanics that would encourage different types of interaction too, like parties, guilds, if you're teamed up, collaborating could mitigate a 'ban' that could make you die easily... but betraying is game too

Monetizing through micro-transactions, with a big eye on balance(evade the "pay-to-win" path to the max)

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