Startup Ideas you can steal and spawn
Photo by Eschipul
I'm already late on this one, but hell, I was busy with our own startup. Today was a rather dull day, a bit down, sorta bored and there ain't anything interesting in the Inbox. Nothing of those emails that you can show around with your team and laugh, smile; the back-pain also suddenly hit me for some reason. Even George Carlin - Modern Man (embedded below, script included), though good, wasn't enough to bring me back to the usual life.
What more better time than to read something to inspire, to steal and to spawn. So, I dugg up one of Paul Graham's recently popular article about the Startup Ideas they'd Like to Fund. If you're startup-ing or thinking to innovate (pun intended), head over there and spend sometime.
Out of all his awesome ideas, some which really caught my fancy are;
* Outsourced IT: In most companies the IT department is an expensive bottleneck. Getting them to make you a simple web form could take months. Something like Wufoo (I use it religiously in lieu of plugins and other scripts). Now if the marketing department wants to put a form on the web, they can do it themselves in 5 minutes. You can take practically anything users still depend on IT departments for and base a startup on it, and you will have the enormous force of their present dissatisfaction pushing you forward.
* Enterprise software 2.0: Enterprise software companies sell bad software for huge amounts of money. They get away with it for a variety of reasons that link together to form a sort of protective wall. But the software world is changing. One way to start is to make things for smaller companies, because they can't afford the overpriced stuff made for big ones. They're also easier to sell to.
* Dating: Current dating sites are not the last word. Better ones will appear. But anyone who wants to start a dating startup has to answer two questions: in addition to the usual question about how you're going to approach dating differently, you have to answer the even more important question of how to overcome the huge chicken and egg problem every dating site faces. A site like Reddit is interesting when there are only 20 users. But no one wants to use a dating site with only 20 users -- which of course becomes a self-perpetuating problem. So if you want to do a dating startup, don't focus on the novel take on dating that you're going to offer. That's the easy half. Focus on novel ways to get around the chicken and egg problem.
* Web Office apps: This is a rich market, considering how much Microsoft makes from it. A startup that made a tenth as much would be very happy. And a startup that takes on such a project will be helped along by Microsoft itself, who between their increasingly bureaucratic culture and their desire to protect existing desktop revenues will probably do a bad job of building web-based Office variants themselves. Before you try to start a startup doing this, however, you should be prepared to explain why existing web-based Office alternatives haven't taken the world by storm, and how you're going to beat that.
* Online learning: How can you teach kids now that you can reach them through the web? The possible answers are a lot more interesting than just putting books online. One route would be to start with test prep services, for which there's already demand, and then expand into teaching kids more than just how to score high on tests. Another would be to start with games and gradually make them more thoughtful. Another, particularly for younger kids, would be to let them learn by watching one another (anonymously) solve problems.
* Easy site builders: The way to build this is to write a flexible site builder, then write layers on top to produce different variants. The key to making a site builder for end-users is to make software that lets people with no design ability produce things that look good -- or at least professional.
More at Startup Ideas from Paul Graham of YCombinator.
Btw, here is the "George Carlin - Modern Man" Video. Script Below.
Im a modern man, digital and cost free; a man for the millennium a diversified, muli-cultural, post-modern deconstructionist; politically, anatomically, and ecologically incorrect. I've been uplinked and downloaded, I've been imputted and outsourced. I know the upside of downsizing I know the downside of upgrading. I'm a high-tech, low-life. A cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, bi-coastal multi-tasker, and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond. I'm new wave, but I'm old school; And my inner child is 0utward-bound. I'm a hot-wired, heat-seeking, Warm-hearted cool customer; voice-activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database; my database is in cyberspace; so I'm interactive, I'm hyperactive, and from time to time I'm radioactive Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin' the wave, dodgin' the bullet, pushin' the envelope. I'm in the moment, on the edge, over the to, but under the radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom-feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps, and I run victory laps. I'm totally ongoing, big-foot, slam-dunk rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic, a working rageaholic; out of rehab and in denial. I've got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant, and a personal agenda. You can't shut me up; you can't dumb me down. 'Cause I'm tireless, and I'm wireless. I'm an alpha-male on beta-blockers. I'm a non-believer, I'm an over-achiever; Laid-back and fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home; low rent, high maintenance. I'm super-sized, long-lasting, High definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built to last. A hands-on, footloose, knee-jerk head case; prematurely post-traumatic, and I have a love child who sends me hate-mail. But I'm feeling, I'm caring, I'm healing, I'm sharing. A supportive, bonding, nurturing primary -- care giver. My output is down, but income is up. I take short position on the long bond, And my revenue stream has its own cash flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds, I watch trash sports. I'm gender-specific, capital-intensive, user-friendly and lactose-intolerant. I like rough sex; I like tough love. I use the f-word in my e-mail. And the software on my hard drive is hardcore -- no soft porn. I bought a microwave at a mini-mall. I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast food in the slow lane. I'm toll-free, bite-size, ready-to-wear, and I come in all sizes. A fully equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically proven, scientifically formulated medical miracle. I've been pre-washed, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped and vacuum-packed. And... I have unlimited broadband capacity. I'm a rude dude, but I'm the real deal. Lean and mean. Cocked, locked and ready to rock; rough, tough, and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow; I ride with the tide, I've got glide in my stride. Drivin' and movin', sailin' and spinnin'; jivin' and groovin', and wailin' and winnin'. I don't snooze, so I don't lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty, and lunchtime is crunchtime. I'm haning' in, there ain't no doubt; and I'm hangin' tough. Over and Out.