IDEA #18 – Custom Music/Sports T-Shirts

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If you’re into music or concerts (particularly hard rock), you’ve been to Hot Topic. They sell tons of band “swag” (fancy term for shirts, etc). But how many of those shirts do I want? None this past weekend — but I’m sure kids are buying them, because they have no other choice if they want to show their love (by way of a t-shirt) for a band. But the massive explosion of MySpace shows us that individuality is key — kids want to personalize their web space (and themselves). They want unique — and that’s what the bands and sports teams should provide them.

Bands/Artists/Sports Teams would provide an inventory of logos, artwork, photos, fonts, and a web-based tool that users could use to then create custom t-shirts. The printer, band, and user would all receive revenues from the sales — or maybe the user doesn’t get money, but rather they receive perks from the band (free concert tickets, their designed shirt, etc., based on sales goals). Heck, prior to an artist’s tour — do this, have kids create shirts, find the best ones, and then have THOSE printed and sold at your concerts (or sports events).

Provide the kiddies with widget embeds that they can post in their MySpace pages and let them promote the heck out of their creation — give a grand prize to the fan that sells the most. Maybe this embed also promotes the artist’s latest CD and latest concert tour dates.

IDEA #17 – Audio Chatting by Phone

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Everyone has a cell phone these days — and haven’t you found yourself with some time on your hands, yet don’t know what to do? I know phone dating chat has existed for years — but couldn’t there be something similar (and free? or smaller fee?) for just normal chats? You could randomly chat with someone by phone — or get in on a conference call where people are discussing a particular subject? Users might be using a phone or using a microphone from their computer.

Maybe there’d be sponsored chats — where a topic is given (“Low-fat food at Fast Food restaurants”) and people discuss it. [That topic might be sponsored by McDonalds with/without knowledge of the people discussing — kind of like a focus group where McDonalds can get some data.]
Particularly during or after a live event — such as a broadcast of a TV show, or live broadcasts of sports games, American Idol, etc.

Once again — social networking, profiles, etc, would be great.

Since it is Valentine’s Day… what about dating lines by phone? Don’t anyone take this personally, but I guess I find it a bit creepy. But I’d likely be game to do some sort of 3-minute per person speed dating by phone — where I can view the person’s profile online and chat with them for a few minutes by phone? I think if more singles were doing this — they’d be finding dates. It’s like sales — it’s a numbers game; you might need to chat with 30 people before you find one you’d like to go on a date with. Monetization could be various packages for sale — dinner at Applebee’s, movie at Regal Cinemas, etc. Maybe you charge the people up-front like $20 each and they end up selecting something to-do.

IDEA #16 – What’s Going On Tonight

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If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m quite obsessed with the convergence of online and offline, social networking, events, and my love for music.

Have you ever wondered what’s going on tonight? It’s such a mess online — there’s no single source that will show you all the things going on tonight. I have to frequent many websites, as well as my local newspaper and weekly newspaper — to find out about things going on.

I’d love the ability to call up a phone number and be told about various things going on — it’d all be automated (using VXML technology). It would tell me about some concerts going on, tell me where they are, and let me listen to 30-second clips of the artists’ songs. It would tell me about some of the exciting new / hot movies that are playing at theaters. It would tell me about some local theater productions going on. It would tell me about some sporting events going on locally — or big national ones that people will be watching at sports bars (and it’ll suggest a particular sports bar to go see it at). It would tell me about trivia night at a local bar, or a happy hour special somewhere, or a singles mingle at a bowling center.

Much like how the search engines work (do a search that gives results with sponsored and non-sponsored listings), this service would operate the same way. Various events going on would be sponsored and told to you — thus, if a big football game was going on tonight, Buffalo Wild Wings could pay to suggest to you to watch the game at Buffalo Wild Wings and receive “$2 well drinks all night!”.

Users of the service would recommend different events going on — there’d be a social networking aspect to it online where you’d eventually have friends and neighbors (people that you don’t know, but whom have similar tastes as you) … and you could learn what they’ve recommended in the past.

Of course there’d be a website as well that would have all this information available to you — but there’d be the phone call capability too.

Your thoughts?

What Web Service/Software Startup Ideas do you have?

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Share. You know you don’t have all the time in the world. I’m sure you have some decent ideas that you’ll never run with, or lack practicality, or you lack the capability. Share ’em and let’s spark some conversation amongst everyone. If there’s a real interesting one that deserves its’ own post — I’ll do a post on it.

IDEA #15 – Ads on Websites Replaced

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This idea would really shake a few things up. Users would install a plugin to their web browser (which can be a tricky proposition — needs to be real value to user in order to do that). The plugin would spot any advertising on a webpage and cover it up with new ads from a different ad network.

Example Scenario:

idea15a.gif
Webpage typically seen by readers.
-> idea15b.gif
Users with our plugin won’t see that ad. That ad is covered up…
-> idea15c.gif
And replaced by an ad from our own network. So the user with our plugin installed, sees this ad instead of the ad seen by non-plugin users
pixel.gif

Thus, I am imagining that Google AdSense text ads or graphical banner ads would be covered up — and replaced with ads from a network that the user may find more beneficial to them somehow.

I think the best idea is that we pay the user $5 per month to utilize our plugin and view our advertising — or the price we pay them depends on how much web browsing they do. Imagine the possibilities for advertisers — you could pay this ad network I’m proposing here, to have your advertisement appear on CNN.com or MySpace.com (to our plugin users). The user would still be seeing advertising and still would be clicking, but just wouldn’t be seeing the same ads as non-plugin users.

Or maybe…

IDEA #14 – Ads with Personal Endorsements (filtered ad network)

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Problem: People are mentally blocking out ads on blogs. Do you ever look at those Google AdSense text ads? My brain knows their exact visual format and knows to ignore them. Why do I ignore them? Most times they aren’t relevant or I have no interest in whatever they are pushing — plus, I know they are ads.

Solution: You know what would make me actually view those text ads? If they were endorsed by bloggers I respected. When Fred Wilson (a daily read of mine) posts about a CD he’s loving or a new toy he’s playing with, I listen. And I would gladly share his endorsements with my readers — and likely share the endorsements of products/services by peers he respects with my readers.

My idea would cater to niches — so if your blog is all about automobiles, then all the ads from this network would either be auto-related or from respected peers of the blogger.
To make this entire idea really simple — as a blogger, I would endorse products, services, websites from an inventory of ads that advertisers are willing to pay to have displayed. Thus for example, I (as a blogger or simply a person in the overall social network) might see all the ads from Google AdSense and specify which of the products / services / companies (“ads”) I personally endorse/approve — then my avatar might appear next to that company’s actual text ad. And maybe I input a quick 1- or 2-liner that pops-up next to the actual ad when someone rolls-over the ad.

Example Mockup:
idea14.gif

ALTERNATE OPTION OF THIS IDEA: I believe there to be a need for…

IDEA #13 – I Got Drunk Last Night

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This proposed website might be called like ‘DrunkenStories.com’. People would expose what they did the night before and friends could add to the stories. You/they could also submit photos, videos, and voicemails from the night.

There’d be a social networking aspect to it — you’d have a profile, friends, various products that could be your friends (Jack Daniels, Coors, etc), and various bars that could be your friends (think what MySpace has done to the music scene — artists publish their tour dates to their MySpace page; well, this proposed idea of mine could mean a profile for every bar that gets updated with what’s going on that week at each bar, drink/food specials, etc). Eventually this website would have evites (so you could plan happy hours with friends/co-workers) — and people could specify that they’ll be at “bar A, restaurant B, and bar C, tonight”.

Essentially, it’s the website where people keep track of (and plan) their fun times out with friends — in a central online repository/archive. Your night would be tied to various bars — and then you could even see who else was at the bar that night.

It’s a very focused idea on a multi-billion dollar industry — booze connect people.

IDEA #12 – E-Cards with Your Voice (and bonus ideas)

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E-Cards are over 10 years old and still in my opinion one of the most viral things on the web. When you receive an e-card, it’s instinct to send one back to that person — and likely to someone else that has been on your mind. But the old dogs limit the number of free e-cards they offer and charge for more glorified cards (bleh!).

What about an e-card you could send to someone with your actual voice greeting (e.g. “Happy Birthday Mom — sorry I can’t be there to help you ‘over the hill’, but I’ll be home to visit you in 2 weeks! Love you!”). This might be already done, but I haven’t heard of it yet.

This idea creates very personal e-cards to the recipients. I could see this application being used not only for special occasions, but just anything — maybe instead of jotting down an email to someone, the user would rather vocalize something (i.e. I could see myself doing this when I hear a new song or discover a new band online — I send out these ‘OMFG’ emails to my close music friends, but would much rather express my passion/enthusiasm in a voice recording).

Now there’s a couple ways this could be done —

IDEA #11 – Classifieds by Cell – The Long Tail of Used Goods that has yet to Emerge

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Currently it can take 5+ minutes to list anything for sale online — I’m proposing a process of less than 1 minute … and tapping into the long tail of items in people’s homes that they would sell (garage sale type items), if they had a quick way of listing the items.

Market / Problem being solved: Yes there is eBay for tons of used products, as well as Craigslist that has an emphasis on localized buying/selling of used products — but what about all the items that you’d typically find at a garage sale or flea market? I bet eBay and Craigslist are only 20% of the potential of products that could be sold online — I bet there’s an 80% long tail of items in people’s homes that they just don’t want to waste the time (given current listing options online) to list these items.

I have 3 used DSL modems, a watch, some music CDs, and DVDs that I’ll never list for sale online, because I don’t want to spend more than 1-minute listing each. The current process would require me to photograph the item, get the photo on my computer, then upload the photo to the site — and if eBay, take at least 5-30 minutes to list the item for sale. If Craigslist, likely 5 minutes (with the photo transferring / upload time included).

I’m proposing a 1-minute or less method of posting an item for sale — using your cell phone…

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?)