Entrepreneurs (and wannabes) often talk about the value of ideas. I'm firmly in the camp that good business ideas are a dime a dozen, and that execution is the hard part. Here are a few ideas for businesses (or just little projects) that I don't expect to ever get around to executing.
- A web site for managing emergency contact information. Every time my kids go on a field trip, I have to fill out a form with all of our emergency contact information, the kids' allergies and medications, etc. I'd like to see a web site where I can enter this information once. Then, I can point the field trip leaders to that site. They would request access, and I would get an email letting me allow that access (or not). There are obviously some minor security concerns here, but it's not as if my phone numbers and my kids' allergies require Fort-Knox-level security.
- Similarly, a web site for managing immunization records. Doctors would be able to add to the records when the kids get their shots, and schools would be able to access the records; again, with a similar access mechanism that would allow me to grant one-at-a-time access. Same security concerns, but again, this isn't terribly sensitive data.
- Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) used to have a business card that just said "(1) Go to Google, (2) Enter 'Matt', (3) Hit 'I'm Feeling Lucky'." It would be cool for those of us who aren't the first return (or even in the first thousand) to have a widget that, when you enter a term, tells you where a given term would rank in Google's search results. I'm not sure if this could be done by scraping, or if you'd need direct access to Google's indices (i.e. you would have to be Google).
- I just love the vibe of little paper-goods stores like Dandelion Patch, but such places always seem very (forgive me) girl-oriented. I'd love to run a store that is sort of a brick-and-mortar version of LifeHacker. It would stock high-end and niche office supplies, planners and other organizational tools, and the like. I'd want sort of a coffeehouse vibe - one of my local Barnes and Nobles has an attached Starbucks, right next to the section with all of the planners, pens, and the like. Like that, except smaller and with a much larger inventory of supplies and only a very small section of books relevant to organization, life management, Getting Things Done, and so forth. I'd love for it to provide an inventory of what are currently mostly "print it yourself" or "have Kinko's make this for you" supplies, such as those from David Seah. They might also offer custom printing services, and classes on GTD and similar organizational skills. Sort of a hybrid of coffeehouse, Barnes and Noble, Dandelion Patch, Office Depot/Staples, Levenger, the Franklin-Covey store, and The Container Store. My best idea for the store's name: Index.
- I'd love to have a news reader that learns from what articles you find interesting, and over time shows you more like them. It seems hard to believe that this doesn't already exist. It would also have functionality to allow you to explicitly tag specific subjects for which you'd like to see subsequent articles.
- I'd love to see a web-2.0 project management solution. Sort of MS Project, except web-based and dead simple in a 37Signals sort of way.
- I'd love to have a single-serving site for "what should I do this weekend?" It would obviously be localized, probably fed by users, and would just dump a few ideas for fun things to do in your area - both specific things that are happening this weekend and interesting destinations in your area that aren't tied to a specific date.