IDEA #10 – In-Person Social Networking – Event/Bar Mingling via Cell

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Result/Solution proposed by this business idea: People will begin interacting with new people, making new friends in person. Some people will find dates or meet others that will end up being very good friends — because now you’ll be at a bar/restaurant/concert/sports game — and actually know who at the same place has similar interests as you.

Problem being solved: How do you meet people in a bar/restaurant/concert/sports game?

For the purposes of this example, we’re going to call this idea “hey.com”.

My idea is to basically have this virtual message board at every bar/restaurant/sports venue/concert venue. I call this hypertexting reality, which means applying virtual notes/tags to a physical object.

How it works: Hey.com distributes signage to every bar/restaurant — each bar gets their own unique ID (i.e. B.E.D. in NYC’s ID might be “bednyc”). People in the bar can interact with others by text messaging via their cell phone — they’ll send messages to “bednyc@hey.com” — or simply “post@hey.com” with the first word (or subject) being “bednyc”.

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People can also send photos and videos from the day/night at the event/bar/concert to the venue’s code — to archive the night a bit.

Each user will have their own profile and can choose the privacy options on it. I could post a message to the virtual message board in the bar by saying, “Anyone want to play some darts?” Other users can specify that they are at the bar and receive any new messages that people post to the code — or they can simply query the virtual message board by sending a message to “post@hey.com” with “bednyc new”. The user then gets a listing of usernames and what each username said. The user can then query the system to find out more about a specific username, or find out who is at the bar that is a single female between 21-32 (for example). That user might be able to see pics and/or videos of the user results (depending on the privacy options of users).

If people are using this at a concert, they could shout out their favorite songs — or give feedback on the show (“wow, that was amazing!”) or tell where the after-party is.

Sponsors could pay to send out messages telling about their post-concert drink/food specials — or national beer/soda sponsors could text out ads about their beverages (if the user is over 21, they’d receive the beer promo). We’d want to ensure these ads were applicable and expected by the user.

Value: The value is the user community that forms — a massive pseudo-offline social network. We also have the value of promoting advertisements to people in the midst of social setting or bar/restaurant (i.e. Coors would love to tell you “hey, why don’t you try a Coors beer” when your sitting on a bar stool at a bar). There’s also a huge online website where members can have their own profile, have friends — and friends can easily query the system using their cell phone to find out where their friends have checked-into last (so they know where they can meet them — this is similar to Google’s dodgeball.com). Also, there’s a ton of archived material — photos, videos, text comments, from all these message boards for each “venue”.

(How do we avoid privacy concerns — if someone takes a pic of someone else, posts it — can that person that was pictured involuntarily do something?)