Seriously, Europe is a huge market, and if you wait until you're big in the U.S., you'll be too late. It's the internet - the rest of the world is just one hop away!
I have a commute that's about 30 minutes each way and 1 hour lunch every day. That's two hours I want to fill by reading printouts of interesting text and listening to interesting audio on my iPod.
For me PG essays would be the ultimate example of texts I want to read and Venture Voice (podcast) would be the ultimate example of what I want to listen to (others would obviously have different taste). I've gone through that stuff repeatedly and tons of other similar content, making it difficult to find enough new stuff to keep me entertained.
A site that let me assemble text-printout "playlists" and iPod playlists for a week or more in advance would be great. It requires measuring or guessing how long a given text (or book) is to see how long it would last and organizing the audio into chunks that are optimal for my given time allotments.
It seems kind of a weird maybe or niche, but it arose from a real problem I have and I think it could be pretty big. There has to be more people like me that want really targeted text and audio content to consume on their commute.
This is exactly what I am building - a website to create On-Demand Magazines from Internet content, like PG essays.
The splash page will be up in a day or 2 and I'll be collecting email addresses and feedback for the beta test.
The name of the site is ShelfMade.net. As soon as I have ANYTHING up I will get the link to YC. BTW if you can do this in a weekend, please get in touch.
mmmbop: A Hanson based social networking site. Haven't quite worked out how this would work.
pandr: A social networking site for bears.
prson: A social networking site for like-minded people to organise crimes.
Feel free to use them yourself.
host it in Sweden / Amsterdam / offshore (or wherever it's legal).
not worth the hassle from the feds though =)
i have some sketchy friends.
Read the last bullet point...
Or politicians. They can get their campaign manager to help them use the Internet.
Simple idea, and it's worth $6 billion! W000t! I win.
These events tell me almost nothing about the world. The signal to noise ratio is not good. I don't want to know that another 6 people in iraq have been killed in some incident, I want to know whether the situation there is getting better or worse, is it happening in a new area than before, does it involve a new group of people...big picture stuff.
This is the kind of info you typically get from reading feature length editorials but I don't have the time.
I want big picture news and global trends, complete with graphs and visualisations to give me perspective on an issue, delivered to me in an RSS feed.
Also I want to be able to subscribe and unsubscribe to different issues that I wish to follow from start to end.
For subscribing to different issues - interesting! I'd like that too. In theory, you could subscribe to the RSS of the history page of wikinews/wikipedia. You'd get all the updates, but I'm not sure how useful or reader-friendly that is in practice.
To some degree I'm wishing for a new style of journalism. Or at the least journalists actually learning to write headlines that make any sense and are useful.
The startup ideas there are:
- Subscribing to specific issues that you want to keep track of over time is something I want to see way more of.
- Sites that use data visualisations to increase understanding and perspective of...anything really, is something I've been thinking about. Think the world would be a better place if people had perspective and we have access to a lot of data now to play with.
They do exective summaries of the news, one page or less covering issues from all sides.
They just launched a new website www.theweekdaily.com no rss feeds that I can see. It is the one drop everything and read it magazine when the postman shows that I subscribe to.
Well worth the $50 dollar subscription.
Usually the trouble with big picture stories is that they are almost pure ideology without any data to back them up.
I had this idea six years ago. I'm appalled that it still hasn't happened. Of course, very few devices have GPS chips, and operators are wary of sharing the location of their customers with random companies. But still!
Anyway, Loopt is a step in the right direction.
there's one not listed, that's a variant of pokemon; pretty fun
I forget the name (when I saw it, it was only available in japan - though the company is French)
This will probably stay the same for at least a few more years. This is due to a dif in culture. In most places in the US (aside from NY), most people have room and time to relax at home ( = using wii, 360, or PC for games). Until iphone and treo (and even now) most people don't really use their mobile phones for much... the reasons go on and on...
I'm a hacker. That's just how I roll. Last night I built a "digg/reddit for pictures" type of site. No sweat. But now I need someone to maintain/market/add content / etc. It's a huge pain, and I'd much rather stick to coding.
What would be nice:
Some kind of site/forum/network/etc that connects hacktrepreneurs with talented and/or cheap marketing people. (sometimes you get what you pay for; sometimes the work is just not that hard)
I don't mean the stylesheets - no, those come later - no, I mean a really good, one size genuinely does fit all, semantic HTML layout. Does blogs, does galleries, does comments, does discussions, in a single well thought out semantic HTML format.
Then you have a library of CSS templates that people can use. And people can upload new templates. And each template gets checked, to make sure that it represents each element properly, and works across browsers (yep, that's a validator).
The business model is this: advertising on the template inspection pages, so that the "greek" text on the layout pages is all advertising.
Advertising is split with the authors of the pages which are downloaded - you copy the CSS to yer drive (downloading the zip file of the CSS + images) and the author of the template gets a cut.
How do you prevent fake downloads distorting the figures? Up to you, but I think you can filter based on IPs.
But the real key is that semantic HTML on the front end, because once you have that, it's easy to do the rest. But that part is a genuine hardness.
Or you could, you know, write the software for this:
Note that to prevent doctors from working with only healthy patients, they'd be paid out for improvements in health rather than absolute health.
By the way, this is basically how health care works in Europe - single payer 'socialist' health care: More cost-conscious, more prevention, everybody covered, less choice, lower quality for those who could afford it.
The problem is that sometimes it's not obvious what you measure, since what you might be interested is something vague like "effectiveness" or "progress". And, like all pattern classification problems, if you pick features that don't give a good signal to noise ratio, your assessment could be way off.
Even worse when that being measured knows what's being measured. A feedback loop, if you will. And thus, the fact that you observed something changes it, which sways the results from if you didn't measure it. Sounds a little bit like photons in physics, but I'm guessing photons work off of different principles.
Joel is merely saying that you should be careful of what you measure, because some metrics (lines of code, hours work) aren't indicative of what you're really trying to figure out (progress, effectiveness).
Now, healthy days is quite a good heuristic to evaluate a doctor's performance, don't you think? How do you think it can be gamed; i.e., what exploits can you think of?
You read that right: I know for a fact that Pandora gets its music by ripping CDs. No, really. I've been there and seen it happen. Crazy. You'd assume the record companies would send over the digitized files -- no such luck. They have one person dedicated to ripping CDs, full-time.
Anyway, last I knew, Pandora was trying to work out a deal with some guy who owned thousands of classical CDs. So as long as the company can manage to stay in business, Classical is probably coming.
Basically, it's something about MMORPGs that's never been done quite right. I'm sick of trying to explain how it should work, and want to show people instead.
(combine X Y Z) -> ItemXYZ, where X, Y, and Z are constants and ItemXYZ is an element in a (relatively small) finite set of predetermined items.
Instead of adventuring to obtain ItemXYZ, you adventure to obtain X, Y, and Z component pieces that you combine to get ItemXYZ, assuming you have enough skill. It feels sort of silly that way. The actual artisan, the guy who combines X, Y, and Z to get ItemXYZ, is not really creative. All he's doing is following a predetermined recipe and applying the skill he got by doing hundreds of mindless combines.
Blizzard's answer to this problem was to shift the focus from item creation to collecting ingredients. They made sure it was fun to gather X, Y, and Z, without just making X, Y, and Z exclusively monster loot. Compared to some other games, WoW's engine was also simpler. Blizzard's solution worked, but only because they sidestepped the core problem.
Tradeskilling appeals to people because it's a creative activity. Players want to be able to feel pride in the stuff they can make. The result is disappointing. Imagination picks up the slack, the novelty wears off after a few hundred clicks, and unless you're addicted to gaining the next level; you aren't going to bother. The way it works now, it winds up only really appealing to people who enjoy organizing things.
From what I've read, Second Life is the opposite. Gamers don't like Second Life, because there's no consistent, professionally-crafted fantasy world to give meaning to anything. It's completely open-ended, allowing for lots of creativity, but what's the point? Obviously plenty of people find a point to SL, I'm just saying this what the typical WoW or EQ or FFXI or DAoC player thinks when they see second life.
I've only heard of two other games with interesting tradeskill engines. I wasn't able to play either of them, so I don't know how similar they are to what I'm going for. One was Horizons, which tanked almost immediately; the other was Star Wars Galaxies, which suffered from being inappropriate for the mainstream Star Wars audience. I say 'suffered' because even though the game was actually doing quite well, it never came near its potential given the franchise name. But whatever the reason, the game was overhauled and the original SWG is no longer available.
(ah, this article describes Horizons' system: http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/378/378346p1.html )
My fashion idea involves you being presented with a bunch of different outfits and picking which ones you like to train a recommendation engine. Then, the site recommends complete in-season outfits (with affiliate links)
And allow it to order one new outfit every 4-6 months based on which outfits I've been wearing, so I don't have to go to the mall to buy clothes.
sounds like pretty much the coolest job ever. =)
How do you think I win all my elections?
Seriously. That what makes this exercise a little dubious. It's never version 1.0 of the idea. Sometimes it might be version 23
For example, here's v2.0 of my idea.
Identity Life Insurance. For a fee, either use the internet and/or a physical inspection of people's computers after death to shut down online accounts and notify correspondents that you are deceased (and perhaps what to do about sending flowers, etc) This would give the insured privacy in their final online affairs and also make sure the people you chat with daily know what happened to you. Sales would be to traditional insurance companies (which could offer it as a rider) and funeral homes.
Now does that sound better? The fun of this game isn't necessarily in the idea, it's in the evolution of the idea in response to market forces. Cool stuff!
But there are many problems with your assertion that it's just knowing someone who will follow directions:
1) Many people do not know enough technology to be able to track all the accounts a user might have.
2) Many users don't want their families going through their accounts when they die (ie, cybersex and online fantasy issues)
3) Some people may die unexpectedly, with insurance but no directions as far as online presence
4) The average family memeber when left with an unexpected death, even with a list of online associates, will not know how to approach these people (what were their roles in the deceased life?) or what to say
5) It's just a hassle and is easier to have someone else do it
and 6) It's not something people think about a lot, but with the wired-up X Generation and tail-end-of-the-boomers getting older, it will become a more pronounced issue.
you'd have a shared profile, which is matched with other local couples with similar tastes in movies, music, food, whatever.
though part of what i like about it is the idea of two people using a computer together. the internet is so bizarre in that it connects you to others who are far away, but simultaneously isolates you from folks who are nearby.
I'm a hermit, and I never feel married. There's something fundamentally unfair about that. :)
For example, last.fm does this for music, del.icio.us/digg/reddit/news.yc for content, and I'm sure there are lots of other examples of services like this.
Here are two areas where such services, to my knowledge, don't exist: web comics and blogs.
I'd do it with a dynamic start page that would let you accomplish everything from within Ubuntu/Firefox in kiosk mode. The design's the hard part, but I have the beginnings of a workable design.
What could be better than a powerful unix machine with a beautiful and intuitive GUI? And also "just works" out of the box.
The desktop metaphor is useless and inconsistent with other things like windows. The desk I'm sitting at physically does NOT have windows cluttering it up! Windows are in the wall, not on my desk. I don't know who had the idea that this is in any way intuitive. My desk also doesn't have programs that are connected in some magic way to my documents. A menu is something I use in a restaurant, not at work or when I watch a movie.
These are not Mac specific problems, but the Mac doesn't solve them either. We need a radically different idea of how a system's complexity scales with its growing capabilities. We need to stop confronting people with that old Von Neumann architeture and we have to stop the attempt to mitigate it with with grotesque inconsistent metaphors.
It's intuitive to those of us who grew up with computing. To everyone else, it isn't.
It would be nice if there was some OS that would boot up and nicely display like 4 or 5 choices to do; flickr, email, internet, news aggregation, and storage. Have the system handle everything else and they could actually enjoy it.
I would go so far as to not give the user access to low level storage, but only give them access to their files in the context of specific tasks that used them (unless they were in advanced mode). Email me if you'd like to talk about this more.
On Windows, he never seemed to get the difference between situations calling for left click and those calling for right click, so the single-button mouse was a relief.
Paul Graham argues the fear of looking bad is what motivates people. Based off of that concept I thought of the idea of a social network kind of like 43things with the major differences being:
- you can set a timeline of when you want to accomplish the goals
-people could rate the difficulty of the goals and you have a reputation based on how many goals you complete and the difficulty of them
- could be public or private
-could be more individualized, ie finish essay for English before Friday
Someone needs to make something so easy a retarted monkey could use the thing and probably not even realize "torrents" were powering the thing.
Torrents are a non-starter for regular users. Download a .torrent file from one of many tracker sites and open it with the client on your computer is simply too many steps and it's too different from the experience on limewire etc.
-public and uploadable data warehouse, a la Many Eyes and Swivel, but with better graphic capability, something along the lines of trendalyzer. Design it in a way that rewards contributors with points to build resident 'data experts' and to enable referencing and storing of different people's analysis.
-web-based statistical software like SAS. allow sharing of programs through repository as well as collaborative editing.
by the way,did you know that My last startup idea was facebook?
they've got those tiny, efficient, mega-powerful LED flashlight keychains -- can't be THAT hard to integrate one into a phone.
Its cheap, sturdy, comes with a flashlight that you can operate by clicking one button. Very useful.
i'm guessing it's cause of the flashlight. ;)
having to have like 30 different logins for all the sites and communities that interest me where i inevitably wind up using the same password for all of them and a similar username for most of them
feeling paranoid when i browse the internet on a windows machine even when i use firefox, run windows update, and avoid leet juarez d00d sites
being frustrated that the extension language in excel is fine for quick, minor things but doesn't scale up to real software development efforts while the users i develop solutions for have no appreciation of how craptacular VBA is
you can probably think of more.
For me, it was dealing with frustration (http://ventations.com/), although that site's not really a startup. More of an almost-joke.
A social network for all the people building social networks. It's perfect--now they can talk about how they are building the next Facebook to people that actually believe it can be done! It will also allow you to import all of your existing social networking profiles into one place. Widgets. Video. Wikis.
See for example this discussion on using lifecasting to encourage good behavior in a world where few people are genuinely religious (you could also combine this method with a traditional religion):
Another interesting question is what kind of good behavior would social pressure evoke? Would people use the same yardsticks for themselves as for other people? Or would they just try to hold society in check, so that they themselves could roam free?
I would argue the vast majority of the world is genuinely religious.
I love that language.