IDEA #8 – Anonymous Email Address to Your Cell

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Email-to-CellSimple one-page website — input your cell phone number, select your phone carrier, and choose your own identity (email address) that will allow you to receive text messages to your cell.

As of right now, if I wanted to give you an email address that would send me a text message, it would be my actual phone number @vtext.com (Verizon). I think in the future we’re going to see a lot more mobile communications and users are going to want to hide their actual phone number.
The domain for this should be short (like ‘@mycell.com’ would be great — actually, I just looked and they appear to be doing somewhat I’m suggesting here as an idea). Additional options would allow the user to select whether they can receive images and/or videos to their cell phone. (This info would come in handy in the future.)
Then as the owner of the service, I’d expand with various offerings — sports scores to the user’s cell, alerts of comments to their MySpace page, groups created that allow users to blast messages off to their group for say an announcement of a happy hour or concert tonight, etc.

Also want to be clear that you will not spam the user.

What other free mobile services could this offer a user? Eventually you integrate ads to these users — particularly if you can send them sports scores, you could send them in that same message a one-liner ad from Pepsi or Coors (“Brought to you by Coors”).

IDEA #7 – Video Comments Plugin for Blogs

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Michael Arrington, TechCrunch 1/14/07:

“For the blogger crowd, it would be very useful to have a plugin that works directly with the standard comments feature that allows users to leave text, audio, or audio/video comments at their election. If someone builds a stable plugin that does that, we’ll be integrating it across all the TechCrunch network blogs.”

So how I see a solution happening is someone creates a WordPress plugin (with a Flash recorder widget that allows users to record audio/video right in the webpage via microphone and/or webcam on user’s computer). The WordPress plugin requires an Amazon S3 account and Amazon EC2 account. The EC2 will be the FLV server and the S3 does the hosting/bandwidth for the videos (blog owner pays direct to Amazon for both services).

Streaming Flash video (FLV) needs some sort of FLV server software to stream video — you can’t just host an FLV file and expect it to stream to users; if you just host the file, the user has to download the entire thing before it starts streaming. (This is my understanding, anyway). Thus, you can pay for Adobe’s expensive FLV server or you can utilize an open-source one. But regardless, 99.999999% of blog owners won’t be able to host videos on their blog, because they don’t have this required technology.

The widget developer could somehow monetize this solution by charging for usage of the plugin and/or Flash portion of the widget (I believe you could put some sort of licensing mechanism in the Flash recorder that licenses it to a specific domain), or the developer could charge for a default install of the FLV server on Amazon EC2 (pretty hairy, but if this install/setup could be automated for a client — would be very valuable) and charge the client anywhere from $5 to $100.

IDEA #6 – LikeLoveOrHate.com (a HotOrNot for interests — products, fads, movies, music, etc)

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HotOrNot displays a photo of someone and asks you whether they are Hot Or Not. What if there was a similar type of site (LikeLoveOrHate.com), but instead of a photo of someone — it showed a topic or interest to you, and asked whether you like, love or hate it. The site would learn a lot about who you are. This could even turn into a dating site possibly — and you could discover your “neighbors”, which are people that have similar likes/dislikes as you do.

We show you various products and topics (Do you like to travel by air? LOVE. Do you like sports? LOVE. Football? LIKE. Hockey? HATE. Do you like fruit? LOVE. Do you like strawberries? LOVE. Do you like cantaloupe? HATE. Do you like to cook? LOVE. Do you like the IPOD? LOVE.)

People can also add a comment to any random question they answer [there’ll be a system on the back-end strategically asking them stuff in various order to distinguish/align people] … then people can take a widget and put it in their myspace / blog. This idea basically creates a social network somewhat. We’d use affiliate links on all products for some monetization, and by knowing what our users like/dislike (and aggregate data of the masses), we can promote certain products/services/advertisements to users that will result in high click-through.

A dating section has you do a hot or not of photos, but we show what interests bond you with the other person. You could also simply find friends this way [“i love the beatles and boyscouts” — and you’ll find similar people].

Do you remember Yub.com? Yub is/was a social network website owned by Buy.com that never quite took off — but they allow you to add products/interests/fads to your profile.

Update: I would have another option where you tap into YouTube’s API and show a video to the user, have them rate it ‘like’, ‘love’, or ‘hate’. With all the aggregate ratings, you’ll be able to learn what that user likes and display things they’d likely love.

IDEA #5 – Video & Audio Ratings of Transactions (Businesses/Products/People)

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How many millions of transactions are happening each day? Whether I’m looking to buy something from a local retailer, or an online retailer, or an individual on Craig’s List — I’d like to know the experiences that others have had in dealings with whomever I’m about to buy something from. And I don’t want to read just text comments — I want to hear or see actual people that have had dealings with a particular business/product/person.

This idea would be primarily web-based — a user would find a product/business/person that they have had dealings with and then either write a text comment, leave a video comment (via webcam on the site itself; or by emailing/uploading a video comment), or leave an audio comment…

IDEA #4 – The MySpace Killer? Proximity Social Networking

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I have said in the past that if MySpace is v1.0 of social networking, then MyBlogLog is v2.0 of social networking. So what’s v3.0? It’s proximity (geolocation, “in-the-vicinity”) social networking.

The software you’d be running would look like an Instant Messenger application — it would show a buddy list of people that are within 100 feet of you. This software connects to others’ wifi cards, kind of P2P-ish, so that you can “know” who is within 100 feet range of you (100 feet is the typical distance for wifi 802.11b/g cards in laptops). This software then shares information on the people that you’re connected to, with everyone that is connected to you — thus, I might see “User1” and User1 is connected to User400 (but not me) — so User400 might appear in my buddy list, but as a “second degree” (~200 ft) physical contact. You could then find someone to randomly chat with or play a game with – “you’ve received an invite from Margot7448 to play chess”.

Benefit: This could get you to meet new people — rather than just having virtual friends and relationships, you could meet someone in person right then. Imagine if you were a single male and interested in meeting other single females — you’d see your buddy list, could browse the profiles of people you’re near (what are their interests?), and then…

IDEA #3 – ShareMy.net (”share my internet”)

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I’ve written about this idea in the past (here and here). ShareMyWifi (I own ‘ShareMy.net’ — “share my internet”) — Have you ever been somewhere and didn’t have an Internet connection (airport, hotel)? Or maybe you have the Internet connection and want to monetize it a bit (maybe you spent $6.95 for an airport wifi connection and would like to split that cost). Or you live in an area with tons of wifi Internet connections — and you’d rather not pay $50 per month for your own connection (or flip side of that coin).

My idea is that…

All My Web Ideas, are all Yours

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I’ve made a decision — I’m not going to be holding ideas back on this blog. I’ve been marinating on a few that I think are quite great (look for them soon) — but I’m not in a position to act on any ideas. This is my year to get out of debt for the first time in about 10 years of my life. When I was young and naive with all my creative web ideas, I was running before I knew how to walk — and I was blowing through cash credit like it was water.

As an entrepreneur with 10-years experience working with websites (owning my own web strategy / internet marketing consulting firm, and having worked for 4 different web design firms, being apart of the development of hundreds of websites — in roles ranging from graphic designer to programmer to project strategist to account executive) and being obsessed during that time with web technologies, web start-ups, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists … I’m quite well-rounded and get a lot of ideas.

After faulting on 9 various start-ups (some were mere ideas that made it to business plans, while others turned into actual websites), they have all been great experiences for me — and I’m by no means done. It’s been a while since I’ve struck out on a non-service business — and I’m going to make it a little while longer. March 2003 marked the end of my last non-service business — actually, April 2005 was a different one that I was working.

IDEA #2 – Print-On-Demand Books at Airports

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Airports have just become ridiculous. I recently visited my father in NC — it was roughly 7-hours to get from NC to NY. It’s a 12-hour drive. Granted, it wouldn’t have taken 7 hours if there wasn’t a weather delay — luckily I had enough reading to occupy me. But I saw many people wondering what to do — particularly on the flight, they pull out the SkyMall magazine about 3 times during the flight.

A company has setup an iPod vending machine in the Atlanta airport and has reported selling $55,000 gross sales in a month. That’s pretty good.

What if instead of the limited “hits” (best sellers) books that the gift shops stock, you could have any book your heart desired? Wouldn’t it be great if you could use a touch screen kiosk and browse through thousands of books, find one you want, buy it, and within 5 minutes have it printed for immediate reading? Even better, what if you could access your Amazon.com wishlist through this kiosk and quickly select a book you’ve wanted to read, buy it, print it, and read it!

IDEA #1: Multiple callers-to-text transcription software

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Don’t you hate sitting through 60-minute podcasts only to hear 3-minutes of worthiness?

Jason Calacanis is joined by Doc Searls, Michael Arrington, and Dana Gardner among others for a virtual roundtable conversation available here. However, that webpage tells you nothing more about the discussion — other than it’s a 59-minute podcast. To know what they’re discussing, I’d have to listen to the 59 minutes.

The problem is that there’s so much content/opinion on the web these days, that I can’t possibly consume it all. The author should post an outline of topics discussed in the podcast, that’s a given. Taken a step further, and here’s the idea — I’d love to see a transcript of the podcast. But if you were to pass that podcast through a typical audio-to-text converter, it’s going to spit out one big mass of text. That would help, but ultimately I’d like to know who specifically said what and when.

I envision the participants of this virtual roundtable to dial into a conference call bridge and each audio portion is recorded separately by the proposed software — the software then converts the audio of each participant in the roundtable into text and mashes the text into chronological order to display much like a screenplay or IM conversation might appear.

Here is the napkin-sketch visual (hope to do these better in the future):

Welcome to Techquila Shots!

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The mission of this blog is to spark ideas and business creativity in my readers. I have started this blog to express my web strategy/marketing creativity by differentiating from all of the other great “web tech” blogs out there — whether it be news (TechCrunch, Mashable!, GigaOM, etc) or opinion/insight from the many blogs by VCs/Entrepreneurs/etc.

Techquila Shots is focused on providing ideas and brainstorms on how things can be “improved” on the web — be it a web service, web software, a new start-up, an industry, a product, a service, a company, or specific group of companies. There will also be (unoriginal — most likely) web start-up ideas. I say “unoriginal,” because 99 times out of 100, someone (likely 10 someones) have already thought of the same idea that you or I may think is unique at the time.

I don’t plan on covering breaking news — I plan to still do that type of writing over at TechCrunch (although lately I’ve been too busy to actively post there). However, I may do one of my creative strategy/marketing brainstorms on a company that is considered breaking news.

So sit back and enjoy the shots. Bottoms up!