This is mostly for fun, but I just stumbled onto a post that included 500 ideas generated last year by students of Seth Godin’s Alternative MBA program. The point of the post: ideas are easy, execution is the tough part. But this provided me a good opportunity to screen a long list of new business ideas versus the six disruptive forces profiled on this site.
One of the things that turns an idea into a true opportunity is a change that is both substantive and durable (it lasts a long time.) Disruptive forces create such changes. Here are the ideas that made the cut, because they are supported by one or more of the six forces:
Website where musicians can collaborate on tracks.
Signs in restaurants on menus that list all the ingredients (BK: even better as an augmented reality app.)
Multiple camera angles on live television (especially for sports) or online viewing.
A company that installs a monitor (BK:sensors) at a building entry and hosts virtual door attendants.
Web-based language tutors leveraging Skype and Google Docs for curriculum.
Monthly subscription service for unlimited ebooks on your ebook reader device.
Let’s Get Coffee – for couples; pairing service similar to matchmaking service “It’s Just Lunch” to help couples find other couples with similar friends
A service that discounts newspapers after 8pm the day of print. I do not want to buy a NYTimes for $5 at the end of the day.
Website mock-ups for people seeking VC funding.
Online transcription service for conference calls – leveraging Amazon Mechanical Turk.
Google for video & audio – Dragonspeak -> voice to text -> with searchable tags
Company that records your voice message and other digital forms of media and sends it out into space as a message in a space bottle.
Personalized cereal boxes (to celebrate child’s achievements).
Personal lessons for using your cell phone features.
A service that gives well-known business people a public email address, so that if an email get sent there you can read the email and then read the response. The idea being that it will give you insight into the mind of the person and what made them successful, and it will also teach you how to write good emails and learn email etiquette.
A technology/service that Preachers/Rabbi’s/Clergy can use that creates a way to gather feedback during the service from the attendees.
Artists’ Playground. This is a building that has rooms setup for ceramics, painting, silk screenings, theater, writing, open mic, dance, photography, etc. This building will also have social areas for people to mingle over coffee and healthy foods. People pay a monthly membership to have access and it is also rented out for events.
Employee monitoring service that provides detailed reports on employee’s online and offline activities. – include hardware scrubbing and “forensic” proof removal of data, footprints and histories.
A trend of the month club, where each month you get mailed something hip with a glossy booklet explaining how cool that item is about to become. Limited to 5,000 people. Gives you a cool story to tell yourself for the rest of the month, and something to talk about with your friends.
Replication service for clothing items – make you a new pair just like the old pair.
A Build Your Own Robot Shop.
An IMDB for people who have won awards. I want to a quick way to find the professors with the most citations in any given subject, the chefs in the area with the best Zagats reviews, the local high school football players with the most touchdowns, etc.
A website that users can program in advance to take some action if some event happens. For example, a national chain of tire stores could send an email reminding its customers to get their snowtires on two days before the first predicted snowfall of the season in that user’s zipcode.
DeadCells Art: mail your old, hated cell phones to a factory that smashes it and returns it to the user as framed work of art.
A website that connects people with Objects of Sociability. For example, you have a group of friends you want to do something with and it connects you with an open hibachi table or a deep sea fishing boat rental. You can also rent objects of sociability, so for example you could rent a bread maker or a super nice tea set with 30 looseleaf teas. It would also connect people to third places that would be suitable for, say, a first date.
TV Show Summary Service – Brief summaries of your favorite shows are e-mailed to you in case you missed them.
Creating a website community for freelance professors (professional educators with a specific expertise; different from tutors in the sense that they are not preparing students for a certain test or “actual class”) to connect with students who want to be educated via an alternative route. The ideal site would essentially be a hub for professor profiles/portfolios with a variety of mediums for conversation between the students and the professors for hire. comments/rating system (no anonymity including a record of that person’s comments rates so you can get a better picture of who is saying what). The idea is similar to something like pick a prof. that most college kids use now to pick their classes; however, the emphasis with pick a prof is typically to pick easy classes to graduate where as this would be an effort to allow professors and students to negotiate the value of the education without going through the university as a middle man. Monetization routes: site advertisements, membership fees for students and/or profs, selling books written by professors for commission.
Online mentoring program for students of all ages (Pen pals that teach each other skills online.)
A website that you can put in a characteristics of a person and it will come up with an avatar.
A sophisticated website that uses an eHarmony-like algorithm to match nannies and families.
A data aggregator of global statistics on death, destruction, catastrophes, violations of human rights, freedom in media, etc. There is so much attention put on the middle east. It would be interesting to see and compare what is happening in your neighborhood.
Filmmakers café-It would be great to have a place that people could go and use a TV and DVD player in a cool coffee house setting–similar to how the internet cafes are run…It could be a place where people could just leisurely watch something midday and also people can meet and discuss their work and others’ work while watching through it.
iPhone app that measures the speed of a pitch. Utilizing the built in accelerometer, you throw the phone as fast as you can. When you pick it back up it tells you the speed of your throw. (BK: OK, flawed but funny)
Words sewn into a certain brand of clothes – need to find people with same clothes to spell out a word or phrase on the website to win a prize (like McDonald’s Monopoly but with clothes and a website.)
Art co-op that sells memberships and the art travels among the homes of the members. Kind of a Netflix for art, maybe. Art to eventually be sold at auction via exclusive contract with Sotherby’s and profit made. Could be sold as a shared-art program or as an investment co-op. Or both.
10% for the world – an association of businesses who add 10% to their prices and donate the 10% to charity.
A personal education coach-they pick blogs, books, resources for you to learn based on your personal interests and career goals. They gather all the materials and for you and make recommendations on the best way for learning the material.
A crowd-sourced social filter. So you type in something you think would be funny to say or do to someone else, and the site tells you whether it’s actually a good idea or whether it would be wildly inappropriate.
Tech adventures. Expensive one and multiday adventures where we put the players in scenarios where they get to play with the latest cool technology…night vision…robots…James bond type stuff. Real life role playing game.
A website or iPhone app that finds places for large groups to hang out in real time. So for example if you’re wandering around union square with fifteen friends at night, find the nearest ten places that can accommodate that many people right now.
In store sales: for the next 60 minutes – x is 50% off – sent via SMS to customers who have signed up. (BK: the shorter the sale, the better the idea; creates urgency.)
ThatsAThing.com – tells you if things already exists.
Golf balls with low powered GPS signals in them so you can always find your ball.