For the past few months I’ve been sitting on some ideas (for Web applications) that I’ve scribbled here & there. I’m working on a few (not listed here) in my spare time, but realistically I won’t be able to work on all of them. So I thought it will be better to just publicly share some of the ideas for others interested in driving them.
1. Car Pooling – Sometime back I took a taxi cab to work. I got talking to the driver, a friendly guy with crude English. He mentioned something so simple that it made me think on several interrelated issues (environmental, social, economical) for days. “Only one person in each vehicle. That’s what’s wrong with this f**king world.”, he said. As I looked around in the sluggish traffic, I could really see only one person in each vehicle, for miles. It made me jot down a note to think about promoting car pooling and maybe improve the experience somehow. Eventually, a bit of brain-storming brought a question – what’s a good model for online coordination of car pooling, so that more and more people can easily get on-board and the mechanism is effective?
2. Comments Aggregation – Most of the decent user-generated content is built around niche online communities, where users often post some great comments on various topics. Most of these comments (however small or big) go unnoticed and get buried over time. If these comments were available for reading on a wider platform (a dedicated website) to a larger audience, then it can add more value. Each deserving comment becomes an independent post/article, linked back to the original post/article. The app can simply be a bookmarklet to clip thoughtful well-deserving comments and a website to aggregate the clipped comments with a clean uncluttered reader-friendly UI to go with it.
3. Social Goals – An application (probably a Facebook app) where anyone can set one or more goals (e.g. lose x amount weight in y days) for themselves or their friends. The user (person who has to achieve the goal) can then post regular updates on their progress. Their network of friends rank their effort on each update posted. Their network of friends can also send them a gift (virtual or real) at each milestone or when the goal is accomplished. The idea is loosely based on Game theory, as it aims to promote action and behaviour change through group motivation.
4. Feedback for Startups – Startups need early feedback as part of customer development. The idea is to create a website for startups to put-up a survey (small or big) and a special offer (e.g. discounts, coupons, gifts, gift certificate, books etc.) to go with it as an incentive to complete the survey. The longer the survey, the bigger the offer to the user. Users (who meet a set criteria) can then choose to participate in a survey and receive the special offer. Startups on the other hand can get the relevant feedback.
5. Food Photos – More and more people are sharing photos of their food. And there’s something about looking at other peoples (real) food. It’s somehow aesthetically pleasing to the eye. New York Times wrote about the phenomenon – People Who Photograph Food and Display the Pictures Online. The idea is to create a website and curate/aggregate food pictures in real-time from various photo sharing sites and social networks (Twitpic, TweetPhoto, Flickr, Posterous, Blogs). Add a bit of social voting and make it elegant for ‘food porn‘.
6. Integrated Blogging Environment (IBE) – Blogging is more common than ever before. From a bloggers perspective, I find that it still lacks a simple integrated tool to write rich articles quickly. Here’s my wish-list for a blogging tool: Web-based, simple WYSIWYG text editor, inbuilt support for dictionary & spelling suggestions, quicker reference to Wikipedia, inbuilt support for search and embedding of images (Creative Commons licensed) from Google Images and Flickr, auto-post to multiple blogs, auto-post to Twitter & Facebook. How about it?
Most of these abstract ideas have emerged from my own needs and observations. These ideas are open for anyone to use, so feel free to go for it. Drop me a message if you make any progress. Good luck.