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Ask HN: Idea Sunday
121 points by avinassh on March 8, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 133 comments
I think we should resume this Idea Sunday threads. And this first edition of March, 2015.

A small HN experiment. Every Sunday, a thread will be started to share product ideas. Why? Because many people have ideas they will simply not have the time to implement, and many need product ideas to work on.

We need to take a step back, and stop building all these silly websites and applications. Seriously, this madness must stop. The application paradigm simply cannot scale.

How many apps can you install? How many profiles can you maintain? How many inbox can you empty? How many activity feeds can you go through? How many shopping apps do you use until you buy that one thing? How many times have you seen the exact same article/story posted across your social networks? How many "share your startup ideas" communities does it take for humanity to find the meaning of life? After how long and how much are you going to realize that nobody will ever use your niche social network?

We need to look at the big picture. We need to rethink all of this. We're doing it wrong, and now is the time to fix it. Everything else is distraction.

What's the issue? People use these silly websites and applications, and they provide a service. Why do we need 100 different to-do list applications? Well, because everyone has unique needs. Some people want a simple list, some people want categories, some people want to organize it by priority levels, some people want it to look like a piece of virtual paper while others prefer a modern design, some want to self host it, and others want it stored in the cloud.

And what's wrong with niche social networks? You're on HN, this is a fairly niche place. Did you want it merged with Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr, etc?

> What's the issue?

There are many things to consider.

1. I don't believe in giving people what they ask for. People don't know what they want. If you give people what they need, they will eventually want it.

2. It is not possible for software that's designed with a user in mind to cover the needs of everyone. Even with 1000 different to-do list applications, nobody will truly feel it's perfect for them. We need generic and dynamic software that can adapt to users needs and context.

Don't you think it's sad that we have to endure HN's horrible UI/UX to access its community and content? Shouldn't we be able to have this discussion through a client that's made for us and respect our individual needs?

The current paradigm is full of unecessary trade-offs. If we stopped assuming and accepting that every user interaction should be manually designed by some UI person, and embraced a framework that automates that process, we would be a lot more advanced as a society.

The main problem is that these silly websites and applications are making money. I know it's hard to believe, but people don't want value. They want trendy. What's popular now.

Build the perfect social network and nobody will use it. Build a shitty one with a gimmick and people will come in droves. Unless you hit their sweet spot, people will not support you. They pay for value out of need, not because they want to.

Most people want toys, not tools. The market is just delivering.

I don't believe people actually want "new and trendy". It just happens that nobody is giving them what they need, so they have no choice but to find the new "hot" thing. Because social networks are so disconnected and fragmented at the moment, it only makes sense for people to use social networks that others use, and that's why we see trends.

Most consumers are satisfied with "the Internet", and as far as I know, not many are looking for alternatives. Most people use Google, they don't change their search engine every few months. People in the US speak English, and I don't see many people learn other languages based on trends.

In a world of apps, where people can't think in any other way, sure the gimmicky app is going to win. They know that they will never find what they need, why not having fun doing so? With a slightly different mindsets, one in which you realize that there's no point in having so many apps, you think differently and your values change. People will find diversity in content, not containers.

Are all businesses writing their own crappy internal management systems because it's trendy? Are banks spending millions to build a crappy banking system that's more or less a clone of any other bank's for fun? Are the millions of different "User" classes programmed by people who thought theirs was better/cooler?

Society has taught people to think wrong. Instead of thinking about what they need, they go straight to thinking about how they need it. Then, once they're offered a solution that does exactly what they need, they reject it because it doesn't match the solution they imagined. And we're talking about people that can't think of a solution themselves, and can only pick examples from their past. We're in a world where people ask "I want to buy an iPad from Amazon.com" instead of asking "I want an iPad", or better "I want to browse the web and watch movies in my bed".

That said, I would still like to understand why you believe that people want toys and trendy. Is it a symptom of something else, or are these features intrinsically valuable to them?

They are intrinsically valuable to them. People get bored with things. We always want a new toy, a new experience or a new adventure. Even if you do create the perfect tablet, people will not buy it unless you appeal to their playfulness. Show them a pretty dream to which they can aspire. And after a while, they will start demanding the next iteration. Something even better. Because the old one lost its shine.

Regarding the way things get built now, it's just pure greed. Business people promise bullshit to each other. And then they hire engineers to build something to fulfill the contract. The engineers are pressed by time and lack resources. So the product ends up shitty. Quality is never considered because it costs too much.

Don't get me wrong. I agree with you. I'm currently in my third year of building an awesome product. And where everybody else decided to cut corners, I'm polishing like crazy. And guess what. It takes huge amounts of time and energy. And everybody is saying how great it is, but very few actually get their wallets out.

People say they want perfection. But they aren't willing to pay for it. Instead, they are more than willing to shell out money for a pipe dream. This is why a shitty product with great marketing will bankrupt an amazing product with shitty marketing. It's all about what people dream about. Not what they hold in their hands.

How we could change this? Probably by having a technocratic society. Where execution is valued and promises are ignored.

So what is your proposal? We are all in this direction. Yes, we don't need another Facebook. I agree. But people still love this old-new thing.

I don't expect my local pizzeria to design, implement and maintain a new natural language, to then ask customers to learn it before they can proceed to ordering pizza using that language. We all share English (or French in my case), so that's what we use to communicate.

The natural interface to order pizza from Pizza Hut or Domino's is mostly the same. The interface to order a cab is intuitively similar. Why is it that once try to do these things digitally, things get a lot more complicated? Shouldn't it make things easier?

Even though I'm not a big fan of natural languages as an interface, Magic [1] is a great example of what we should aim for in term of unification and flow. No need to install every pizzeria apps (if they have one) to start ordering pizza. You just need to ask.

> But people still love this old-new thing.

Can you tell me more about that? I can't seem to relate even though I'm a person.

[1] http://getmagicnow.com/

Someone just needs to capitalize on the complexity and make something to manage all the profiles, inboxes, and apps.

You're still thinking in the wrong paradigm. This is the perfect example of what we should NOT be doing.

To build on top of this mess is a sure way to increase complexity to new heights. Not in a good way.

I know this is old, but I still have to ask. Are you talking about machine learning and artificial intelligence?

Yes and no.

I believe we need a new language, a new way to structure knowledge. Of course, AI will benefit from that, but I don't believe it's a precondition.

Like Gravatar but for everything, not just avatars. Gravatar is a service, where you save your avatar. Websites such as StackOverflow can connect to Gravatar and retrieve your avatar from there. So when you decide to change your avatar, you do it in one place.

On a more abstract level, the problem here is that people and organizations often create some data and basically Ctrl+C Ctrl+V it to different services. Couple of examples:

- RSS subscriptions. If I want to try a new reader, I have to export subscriptions from my current reader and import it to the new one.

- Calendar events. Same problem. Yes, some services can sync with each other but it's a messy situation. Calendar apps must separately implement sync with several calendar services.

- Whenever I want to buy something from a new eshop, I need to enter my email and address.

- Restaurants publish their location, opening hours or photos on Yelp, Google Maps and others. When opening hours change, they need to separately update every service.

- Public transport operators send their timetables to Google and other services.

The solution I suggest is to store this data at the source. People and organizations would have something that's sort of similar to Dropbox, let's call it databox. You have a databox url, such as databox.org/1. Your avatar is available at databox.org/1/avatar. Your RSS subscriptions are at databox.org/1/rss/subscriptions. Opening hours of some company are inside a JSON that's on databox.org/2/restaurants.

The databox URL also serves as a login. So the workflow when trying a new RSS reader is like this. 1) You click on "register". 2) Enter your databox URL. 3) The reader requests a read and write permission to your RSS data. 4) You allow it and the reader fetches your subscriptions.

There are some standardized "subdirectories" (e.g. /rss, /calendar, /tasks) but anyone can create a new standard. For example, a bunch of Linux distributions can decide they will save desktop background and other desktop settings to /linux-desktop.

The W3C sort of had a solution with the semantic web, too bad nobody cared about the semantic web.

Some people care. And anybody implementing something like the suggested idea here should enable both hosted "preferences" and the capability of just being a hub for these same "preferences" hosted in external sites.

Here's a solution that is like Gravatar, but for microformatted data in each people's own websites: http://webvatar.com/

I personally think the semantic web was a solution in search of a problem. People weren't concerned about ontology and mappings. They were concerned with making the web more approachable. I think, therefore, money was invested into Mobile Apps / JS frameworks instead of tools for semantic web.

I think it grew out of very much the same idealism that still drives Ted Nelson to this date. I guess to unify all of human knowledge to reach a higher form of understanding just isn't on most people's mind. Not even those whose day job it is to do just that, as is my experience from dabbling in academic publishing.

This reminds me of an old blog post, Charles’ Rules of Argument [1]:

“5. DO NOT argue with Lisp programmers, believers in the Semantic Web, or furries”

1. http://fishbowl.pastiche.org/2004/03/21/charles_rules_of_arg...

Ever heard about Microsoft's Hailstorm and the backlash that followed? :)

For the record I think it's a good idea if it can be standardized and federated so you can choose and move between providers

Never heard of it :)

Yes, ideally this would be an open standard and you should be able to run this on your server.

Another thing I didn't mention was that for better privacy: the service should receive some autogenerated alias of databox.org/1, e.g. databox.org/1a4b2f4.

I think there could be a service like this, but that relied on the already standardized types of data and categories such as schema.org.

The service could work like a hub, parsing private addresses people where indie-people would host their own preferences (for example, their own websites) and giving this data to external services; and, for common people, the website would host the data for them, also in a microformatted way (so other hubs and parsers could grab data from it).

Sounds great, if you can hurdle the main obstacle every standard faces. https://xkcd.com/927/ :)

I had "inb4 the xkcd joke" in the comment but deleted it :)

I wish Mozilla would create something like this, they have the power to push it.

Sounds a bit like camilstore - https://camlistore.org

Seems like it would be very difficult to standardize so many different types of data...

Idea: a personal blood testing device for use at home (to test for many parameters including vitamin levels).

It would be beneficial to be able to test at least monthly in order to avoid risks associated with various deficiencies, to detect possible diseases early, to monitor relevant parameters while on a diet or exercising etc.. Also, we'd like to keep our results confidential to avoid trouble with insurances and other interested parties.

Labs have large, expensive devices tuned for throughput (e.g. http://www.healthcare.siemens.com/immunoassay/systems/advia-...). They can probably be reduced in size and cost to something comparable with a laser printer. Newer testing methods would work with single drops of blood (e.g. Theranos) so no special skills would be required.

(personal motivation: discovered an extreme Vitamin D3 deficiency, supplements seem to have a dramatic effect)

Secondary idea: the device optionally sends (or produces) a document with the testing parameters and results to EHR software, doctor, or nurse. Caregivers can then return with answers or catch problematic values.

Even better, the data is recorded in a central database where you can be compared to all other users. If an anomaly occur, doctors (who will have access to the info from the start) will be notified and be able to call the shots with the benefit of data.

Edit: rereading your answer, you might have less explicitly said this.

The US FDA frowns heavily on home diagnostic devices when it comes to detecting disease. It's not the technology that is the obstacle.

What exactly is the advantage of a home device over Theranos, which has a Vitamin D3 test (https://www.theranos.com/test-menu/test/82306)? Data privacy?

Privacy, no need to mail tests around and wait for days, test price not dictated by 1 entity.

See my reply elsewhere: sell a lab-kit, customers send them in, anonymously if they want, get results by writing the code from the kit into a website.

This is kind-of-anonymous (won't help if the feds are after you)

Indeed, this already exists. It's like sending a 3D model to a 3D printing shop and getting a (pricey) result, instead of having a 3D printer at home. Different uses, appeal to different people. For example, an athlete interested in monitoring his body closely while exercising will prefer getting results within a few hours rather than days and the cost per test might be very relevant.

Try Analyte Health:


Another way to do it: buy a kit for taking your own samples, write down the code on the kit and send it to the lab.

Write the code into a web-page and you get status updates when it is received, when the results arrive etc.

If you want to you might register to get email updates.

An Uber-like app where people pay for their rides with banked miles earned by giving others rides. This would serve a large market of people that a) travel alot and can give rides in their home city (free rides when they travel) and b) people that only have part-time access to a car but may need rides when they don't have it. It may also be legal in areas where Uber can't legally operate because they charge money for rides. If it got big enough, Uber would probably buy it.

Sounds like a ride sharing or car pooling idea. I agree - there's a lack of a globally recognised service like Uber but for free ride sharing only. I would definitely use it. It could also be used by volunteer organisations, who would provide cars and drivers for the service of certain groups (like pensioners, elderly, etc.)

You've essentially described bitcoin in its early days. No matter what quasi-currency you use in such a system, once it becomes large enough it will be taxed and regulated.

Seems like a good idea! But doesn't a service like this exist?

we have that already, the layer is called "money" you can give people rides and be compensated in the "money points (usually US dollar). Later you can use this points to recieve rides yourself by others. great thing is that you can use those points for many goods and services and not only for rides.

Accepting money to provide transport to random members of the public is something explicitly covered by laws in many countries: you can only do it when you've been regulated.

It's also explicity forbidden by most insurance policies.

After the 20% they pay to Uber, and income taxes on the money earned from Uber, they would wind up with half of the miles they had earned through this "money" layer. With this, they get full value for each mile. Additionally, Uber is restricted from entering into many markets (example: their failed entry into Nevada, where one of the largest tourist markets on earth is located). With free - as in no money changing hands - rides, presumably the app would be allowed everywhere.

You don't need money to change hands for a transaction to be taxable. The sort of barter-based system you describe would also (in theory) be taxed. The only difference is that tax enforcement would be much more difficult under your system.

That would work well for a while, but if your service got really big, and became a target for enforcement, you (or your users) might have serious tax problems.

Uber is popular even though there's taxis because people want to use an awesome looking app with ratings and GPS tracking.

In London it is popular because it is the cheapest form of taxi and in many cases quite significantly without sacrificing any convenience and in many cases adding much more convenience.

How about someone besides Apple makes trackpads for laptops which are actually usable?

Absolutely, and it just strikes me how come nobody notices how bad the other trackpads are. I have Dell laptops and a Lenovo, all of them are equally unusable compared to MBPs and just separate Apple trackpads.

One obvious thing is the trackpad surface should be smooth. I don't know, maybe not everyone feels uncomfortable with coarse surfaces, but everyone definitely should feel OK with smooth ones. As simple as that. But there may be something else too that Apple got right, such as sensitivity.

Honestly the competition is pathetic. Just got a new HP laptop for my mother - it has a trackpad of a similar size to the one on my Macbook, but the thing is almost unusable. Is anyone making good trackpads?

If Apple already makes great trackpads for laptops, why not just use their hardware?

Maybe I want to use a GPU with a couple of cores? Or even play a proper computer game...

You play "proper computer games" with the trackpad? Suit yourself: https://www.apple.com/magictrackpad/

What is "usable"? I have Acer 4745G notebook. It has pretty big trackpad. Pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling is working smoothly. Most of the time, i don't use my mouse, only trackpad.

I have a Dell, it's trackpad is fine.

Panasonic does.

FDAPI: Food Delivery API. Grubhub is winning the food delivery battle because the industry is so fragmented. Have a simple, central API for restaurants to export and store in the cloud their menus, hours, availability, percent they are willing to give to affiliates (if any) etc. Any app can tie into the system and submit orders in exchange for affiliate revenue. Restaurants can receive orders, with order info, payment info for the customer, etc. Delivery specialists can tie into the system and receive payment for delivery in the case of restaurants that don't already offer delivery. The system could handle all affiliate and delivery driver coordination and payments without restaurants having to worry about it. They just get more orders.

I like this idea. You could even auto-generate branded mobile/web ordering apps just for those restaurants as a way for them to uniquely market themselves, and could be used as a revenue stream besides the exchange.

I like this idea. I actually like it across many industries. Is anyone doing a great job of this in any industry? Hotels and Flights maybe?

This type of thread should be monthly, not weekly.

You might want to set up an account just for posting these threads. That helps avoids a bunch of different people starting the threads as Sunday rolls around to their timezone.

The OP is not affiliated with Hacker News/YC.

I don't understand your point.

MVP as a service, where you pay a fixed amount each month to get a fixed number of developer hours.

EDIT: To expand on this a bit: True lean development, every month focused on delivering a working product. Initially using third party applications like Firebase and Parse, gradually increasing features, but the product must launch by the end of the first month.

I've got a team that can do this. In fact, I've already started meeting startup people who are interested.

The team is able to make websites, iOS/Android apps (that talk to the sites), pretty much anything that you'd want an MVP to do. We know how AWS works (can make things scale ready), and how the app launch/approval process works. We can integrate all manner of components, including push messaging, databases, pictures, social media integration, etc.

The core team are two HFT developers who've moved into the web space over the years, and a number of associates who can do things like design work.

I've also got a member who has 15 years online marketing experience, if that's considered part of MVP.

@lordnacho could you send me an email about your team: hello@buildbase.io

Downvoted? Is there some sort of policy?

I do something like this. I think it can be considered as a form of productized consulting.

I started charging people $3k for 2 weeks of development. http://christopherdbui.com/i-will-build-your-mvp/

Update: In true spirit of an MVP, I've put together a landing page: http://buildbase.io. Please sign up for updates and if anyone is interested in building MVPs, please send me an email: hello@buildbase.io

There needs to be an easy method for consumers to pay the record labels for the rights to use signed-artist music in amateur videos. That way I have the rights to upload my GoPro snowboarding videos that will have Content ID matches on Facebook, YouTube, etc. because of the music. I realize there's plenty of ways around Content ID matching and even more Creative Commons music, but that's not the point.

Ohh, someone, please figure this one out!

My understanding though, is that it's not hard, just expensive. Therefore, everyone just end up using illegal content. There should be an easy way way to track views and pay per 1K/M, etc. Or better, pay with revenue share of commercials alongside.

Tutorials that actually validate whether they currently work.

One use case would be tutorials on deploying to IAAS/PAAS providers. Deploying always seems to be the hard part after I build something; I don't like using the same language and IAAS/PAAS twice for learning purposes. It's complicated even more so as many tutorials don't reference when they were written or which code versions they used. The site would require this information, and then use it to periodically attempt to deploy that sample to AWS/Digital Ocean/etc (whichever the tutorial is covering), and prominently display whether the tutorial currently works.

I thought about this after scrolling past a couple of times - and I think this is a good idea.

I'm thinking like a CI for tutorials. For example, I create an account on Tutorial CI (or whatever), give it the environment of the tutorial's code. It spits out a badge that I can put on my tutorial that says whether the build is passing or not. Pretty much exactly like the Travis badges you see on Github. That way, someone can verify before they even start reading that the tutorial is valid.

I actually like this idea a lot.

We've been exploring this kind of scenarios at [http://codepicnic.com], where you can create your tutorial and then run some sort of test to see if it's running (perhaps returning non-zero values from some script or testing the existence of some files) but so far we think most of the attempts are a bit clumsy and would lead to false positives.

But would love to exchange ideas on the topic.

Since no one linked it, here's the reason Idea Sunday was killed in the first place: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7693640

I kinda liked the idea (yes, I see the irony of this in this particular thread :)) about having these post not being liked to the karma of a user.

Then again, perhaps the best thing about hackernews is the simplicity of the system without having these complex scenarios tied to posts.

Idea Sunday is awesome.

Most of these ideas will be an echo chamber for the niche needs of this niche crowd.

HN itself identifies towards the tech-centric crowd, so most of these ideas are already focused around some market + tech (or just tech for some marginal utility).

Granted, some of these ideas sound cool. But why so? It's because of the echo-chamber in that "we" all find them cool on some level, and thus they become niche ideas in fragmented markets with demanding users and no possible financial gain.

This is probably why it was stopped in the first place.

some place where entrepreneurs can put real ideas they're working on, and anyone can vote on them. If you're an investor and love an idea, you can pay for an intro to the team. (names and details are otherwise hidden.)

any such money is shared with the founders who posted the idea (30% site, 70% them) and they can use it to help roll out their MVP.

How does this idea differ from Kickstarter? Or those other websites that you get your ideas funded on.

Kickstarter is a donation platform and, more recently, a de facto pre-order platform. It has nothing to do with investment. (in the literal sense, like what investors do.)

I would argue it is also not a platform for ideas (i.e. in the way that this thread is, though few people have incentive to post their genuine ideas here.) For example, computer renderings are prohibited on KS - only working products may be shown.

Also, Kickstarter is focused on gadgets and other items for casual visitors.

"Ask HN: Idea Sunday/{{Idea}}" : "Show HN:/{{Idea}}" mapper.

A TV-show backing system, after the fact.

Many shows are not available in countries where they are as a result, vastly downloaded. Sometimes they're available 6 months later. Sometimes you need bundles with various companies in order to get the shows you like. Sometimes, they're only available with so much advertisement that you lose the plot, while the same ad has been served 3 times in 40 minutes. These shows are GOOD. They deserve people's money, other than being split by an equal length of advertising to content ratio.

If a website had most TV show cast / writers represented, with a trusted authority overseeing, and an anonymous donate buttons; I can think of many shows to which people would donate their monthly entertainment-budget to.

TV is greater than ever. Writers are brilliant. Casts are amazing. But the whole system is rigged and barely functional. I realize the system cannot be flipped suddenly, but an initiative such as this one could drive to fundamental changes in modern TV production.

Idea Validator:

Type in the long-tail search phrases and it goes off and does as much market research automatically for you as possible, and comes back with a yes/no on whether you should bother pursuing it. Perhaps including a list of statistics like: how much it would cost to get into that market, how many competitors there appear to be, etc. etc.

I'm currently working at a startup that actually does something like this. You're probably never going to get a yes/no answer though because most large competitors will have multiple unrelated lines of business, and it's usually not possible to get data beyond the organization level. (Sometimes though the larger organization is a holding company that has different subsidiaries for related lines of business.)

There's some interesting IR research that's going into stuff like this. See TREC's new Dynamic Domain challenge: http://trec-dd.org

I thought of something like this too. I was going to put it on the domain ideatester.org

Problem: lots of early stage biotech/medtech ventures have a hard time raising funding, for a variety of structural reasons (http://lifescivc.com/2015/01/venture-backed-biotech-today-re...), despite having already made initial progress using non-dilutive government funding (NIH grants, SBIR, STTR, etc.).

Solution: an equity crowdfunding site for early stage biotech/medtech ventures focused on gaining backing from doctors and other knowledgeable medical professionals. Those same life sciences entrepreneurs who are having a hard time raising $5-10M in VC funding are often in a hospital environment, surrounded by doctors who both deeply understand the problems they're trying to solve and whose pooled capital could easily add up to $5-10M.

Not only would this counteract scams in this industry made possible by information asymmetry (http://pando.com/2015/03/05/backers-claim-nanoplug-hearing-a...), many medical professionals already meet the (pre-JOBS Act) income or wealth requirements to be an accredited investor.

One major concern with this idea is whether the VCs who weren't willing to invest in a series A-stage life sciences ventures would be willing to come in at a later stage. They typically prefer tranched investments (http://lifescivc.com/2013/02/lessons-learned-reflections-on-...) and don't necessarily see later stage ventures as less risky (http://lifescivc.com/2011/11/risky-business-late-stage-vs-ea...). If that turns out to be a problem, another scalable source of follow-on investment will have to be tapped in order to prevent a "series B crunch" for these non-traditionally funded biotech/medtech ventures.

App of Thrones: second screen app for Game of Thrones that I can glance at to see character names and bios while watching the show. Crowd-sourced content, audio synced so it's smart about pausing.

Idea: A TENS Machine you can control with your phone


TENS are currently kind of expensive and hard to use. People typically only use them when prescribed by a doctor and the devices are actually quite useful.

Many people get pain somehow or could use some sort of recreational relaxation, and a intuitive TENS machine for a smart phone could have a good market.

Easy Expenses:

There are lots of expenses saas apps out there, but the pain with expenses is scanning in all the receipts. I should be able to do this by just taking a picture of the receipt at the time I get it. Perhaps include some computer vision stuff to pick the numbers off the receipt and let me choose which one was cost (incl./excl. VAT). Include other fields for project, time, date, reason, etc.

Then when I'm finished I click a button and it emails the expenses so I can forward it onto my accounts department.

Check out Abacus (recent YC company): https://www.abacus.com/

checkout http://receiptmonkey.com does OCR recognition of receipts for easy expense managment

Shoeboxed.com is amazing. Try it.

expensify does this already


We recently wanted to create a page to list all mentions of our product. So, we duct taped a JotForm form with the JotForm api and created one. But if there was a service that created and maintained the list and let you manually edit the list, I am sure many startups would pay $20/month for it. http://www.jotform.com/inthenews/

A CMS designed specifically for the solo contractor making a typical brochure-type website for a mom-and-pop organization or company. Every website is a fork of the main repo, so devs have full control and version upgrades are just git merges. Runs on SQLite and comes with in-page editing controls a la Medium. Basically Wordpress for the 21st century, but designed for devs rather than users.

I've thought about this too - what language would you think would be the most universal for devs? I think Wordpress pretty much covers this, though I do think there is room for another competitor.

There's definitely room for competition. Most recently we've got Wix and Squarespace, but again they target the end user rather than developers. I think most people are willing to shell out a bit more for a local developer rather than an impersonal SaaS site.

At the moment I'm working on a prototype using Python and Flask, which seems like Django without all the cruft. Pretty much the only other options would be Ruby, Go, and Javascript. But I really like Python. :)

+1 for using a language with a good security track record.

Idea: A startup which holds your data, it then provides it as a service to other websites giving them it only as they need it.

This will provide a single place where you data exists and other companies will only be able to use it as need be. Security would become a big problem however... But it could get around a lot of privacy concerns at the moment.

Its name is http://openpds.media.mit.edu, developed at MIT.

OpenPDS is a service acting as a middle datastore, between the user (who can even host the service themselves), and the data consumers. The key issue here is to guarantee privacy, by responding with ‘SafeAnswers’ to the queries of external services. It's a WIP, but free and open source.

I'm interested in building a 3D mobile game that allows you to build your own life through scanning items around you through your camera and then representing them by making them interactable inside your phone. You'll have quests and stuff..

Can this idea be a worth giving a go at it?

They don't fit in an HN comment but I recently dumped a couple of ideas on my blog: http://syskall.com/crazy-and-not-so-crazy-startup-ideas-2015...

Your cold calling as a service caught my attention. It's an interesting idea, but I feel the pitfall would be that random callers may not know or be as passionate about my product as an employee or myself. I could see a sale easily being lost because of an unexpected question.

Yes, that's definitely a big risk to take especially if your target market is relatively small and you don't want to burn bridges.

One solution could be to have different types of callers (similar to freelance marketplaces) to chose from. You could pick a less experienced/expensive caller for stuff that isn't really important and pick a more qualified/expensive caller for stuff that really matters. Callers could even specialise in certain industries.

Another solution could be to let users listen in on calls and provide live feedback to the caller but then most people would just opt to do the calls by themselves. Personally, I might still use such a service simply because I hate talking on the phone and am not good at sales.

Your employees probably aren't passionate about it either, unless they have significant skin in the game (equity).

If the calls being outsourced are sales calls, you could pay a commission. That would lead to more motivated sellers at least, although perhaps too motivated and too short sighted.

Idea: Companies setup a basic poll asking people to pick their favorite of 2-5 options. Customers pay $1 (or a little more) to vote.

Companies can use it to understand their actual customers better, people who are actually willing to pay. I was thinking it would be used to prioritized features but it could be used just to raise money. Customers would get a voice with the company, and would not get drowned out by potential customers who are not commited enough to pay a small amount.

I thought of this from the companies perspective so I'm having trouble thinking about it from the customers point of view. Would there be enough incentive for customers to pay?

Would there be enough incentive for customers to pay?

In a word, no. Companies will often pay a lot to survey their customers. Getting the customers to pay to be surveyed sounds like a very tall request. And any incentive of value the company could add would run counter to the value proposition you've outlined for the company.

I've created a subreddit for regular idea validation: https://www.reddit.com/r/ideavalidation because we have ideas more than once a month.

NLP as a service. It's a growing field yet setting up training models and all of that for a wide variety of NLP related services is pretty hard still. Things like sentiment analysis, Named Entity Recognition, etc.

I don't have any experience on NLP, but are any of these suitable for you?


Two solutions: Wit.ai for the natural language processing aspect, and then Alchemy's API for the sentiment analysys. Combine those together and you have exactly what you're looking for.

the day of the one page resume serving any purpose are over. If companies look at your resume at all, they are looking for information in raw data form: what projects you've worked on/completed, where you've worked, skills, etc. Otherwise they don't even bother. You might be asked to bring in a one page resume to a job interview but it's rarely used for anything but reference/quick glances.

The Idea: Gravatar but for resumes. Raw data that you fill out online and can be updated as you work on projects. Companies (or you) can pull this data into usable formats or to fill out online forms.

Additionally it'd be cool if it had a "condensed" option that either you fill out with terse explanation for each project, or it ignores the descriptions of projects entirely and just shows the project name,date,and role. This would give interviewers something to glance down at for reference, but would save the functionality of the resume as a complete document of experiences.

Idk the idea that only our most recent projects (that can still fit on one sheet of paper) is the only relevant info is absurd to me; there is a lot to be learned from seeing the growth of a person over time.

To me the resume fails on every goal that it SHOULD accomplish except for maybe your ability to choose your best work, which i can see as important but there could even be a feature where you select the three works you are most proud of or something.

Problem: the torrent network is not so good for hosting rare files, because often people download rare files, use it once or twice and delete them or place them in another library not accessible to the torrent.

So there are file hosting sites for that matter, but they're far from ideal - because they are centralized with all the problems that come with that.

That creates a lack of accessibility to rare files.

Not sure what would be the best solution that won't hurt the bittorent network(by splitting it), and that will have a reasonable monetization source.

An app, possibly desktop one, which gets two music fragments and tries to figure out the stack of effects that were applied to one of them.

Context: I realised recently that a lot of film/series music is processed, compared to the album version. Specifically, I noticed blues tracks on Suits sound so much deeper than their album versions. I'd like to know how was that result achieved and how to make a chosen track sound as if it was processed for that series.

I've had this idea several years ago, and it now exists in a few cities around the world. Feel free to start one in your city, and add it to the wiki: http://www.ideasmeetings.org

It's simply a monthly meetup for idea sharing, validation, and collaboration. Helping each other make our ideas happen, be it an art project, community project, business, or social enterprise.

You linked to the first editions, but the interest decreased a lot in the following threads. Latest I can find:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8648149 (4 points, 105 days ago, 1 comment)

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8614657 (18 points, 111 days ago, 12 comments)

Maybe it should be monthly instead of weekly?

I have obvious bias as a member of the Assembly team, but I think it would be a perfect place to build lots of these ideas collaboratively – and I'd love to help facilitate/participate.

Here's where to start: https://assembly.com/start

And if you mention @awwstn anywhere on Assembly I'm more than happy to help out.

Meta: As the last time this was done have showed, every Sunday is probably not sustainable, which lead to progressively worse thread every week.

That said, iirc it have been a year since the last popular "Idea Sunday" was on (I started working on a project from that thread!), it seems like a good idea to do it a week or two ... unless someone decide to kill it off early again.

On topic: I think there might be a need for Website-for-SaaS-as-a-service. What I meant is that whenever a developer decide to start a SaaS, you have to have a website for that service (that has info, landing page, billing, account management etc.). Of course, if the website itself is the service, then you have to develop it, but alot of SaaS is more of the backend stuffs, which the website is merely a presence for sign up and customer support. I think it's just a natural progression from Landing-page-as-a-service and Document-as-a-service (that we already had). The value you providing would be the design of the site, A/B for conversion testing etc.

Another idea: "What could go wrong when I do X?". You see, in modern time, it seems like every thing can cause cancer, every other tools you have in your household is out to get you. And people tend to be in one of the two camp: "whatever, you can't avoid everything" or just being freak out by any, and everything (those that use gluten free vegan organic computer mouse, for example). I believe neither of those behavior is optimal, but unless you're an expert in the field, you really can't tell whether a risk is real or not. It would be nice to have a place where you can come and look for common scenario and see if anything is worth being concerned about (I see black mold, is that a drop everything and move out, or contact the landlord and wait? My roommate is sanding his old car paint in the garage and we have kid around the house, isn't it bad because of ... lead or something? How bad it is if I lick a bar of metal lead? Which kind of cleaning supplies is absolutely dangerous, and which is just essentially ethanol?). A lot of those might sounds like just "common sense" to you, but when I first move (from South East Asia) to the US, I had none of that "common sense" , and it was a nuisance trying to be careful. It's also noticeable when you're living with people that have a different idea of what constitutes "toxic" than you -- and then realize that you're actually not sure if you're overreacting or the other party being a big fat idiot. Google is not suffice, as even though you might find a few articles with advice, "being careful" doesn't help with a risk assessment. The info will have to be qualified quantitatively, or at the very least, very specific.

Also, for any of you go (the board game) player out there, we need a new tsumego solver!

> I think there might be a need for Website-for-SaaS-as-a-service. What I meant is that whenever a developer decide to start a SaaS, you have to have a website for that service (that has info, landing page, billing, account management etc.).

Yeah I like this idea. You can get so far with Bower, before you inevitably start spending so much time working on "product boilerplate". I remember being dismayed by this when I wanted to launch my invoice management app, I thought I was at "the last 90%" and I was -- of my product implementation. But then came the billing integration, legally required unsubscribe stuff, privacy policy, t&c's, blah blah blah.

Sorry for being a bit spammy, but if you want to team up (just some sparring would be awesome), this SaaS-in-a-box sideproject im working on might be something you'd check out.

https://github.com/AndersSchmidtHansen/LaravelSidequest :)

Regarding the SaaS as a service, it might not be precisely what you are thinking of, but im working on a SaaS-in-a-box sideproject that includes a lot of those things. You can find it here, all ideas are welcome!


Maybe I am blind, but I don't see a license file anywhere, could you point me to it. The closer thing I found to a license file was this (in composer.json):

"license": "MIT"

I'll take a look when I get home and add it if I forgot it! It shouldnt be much different than Laravel's own, since its basically just an extension of that. Thanks for pointing it out though Jorge!

last few threads were not so active. I think you are right, may be we should limit these to monthly.

so, what was the project you started working on? Were you able to finish it?

#Hardware: what about a solution for 'endless-3d-printing' ? new mopboards will be welcome for our next 'spring-renovation' ...or maybe some fineart picture frames :)

edited: mopboards (?!) in german called "Fussleisten"

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