Here Are Some Random Business Ideas That You Should Totally Steal From Me
They’re probably not great. But I don’t have time to execute on any of these. So grab whatever you want!
While I’m currently greatly enjoying my time in the trenches of marketing communications, there are times when — I admit — I have harbored the idea to create my own startup.
Sadly, to date, life has consistently gotten in the way. Or more honestly: my freelance business has taken so much time to run that there isn’t much time left to work with.
Nevertheless, I move through life with the vague goal that one day I too will go on to become the founder (I have worked with many and running your own consultancy is to an extent the same thing — just minus the innovation!).
Because I’m the imaginative type that tends to come up with random business ideas at two in the morning (which has absolutely just happened) I keep a project management board where I jot down these ideas.
I want all of these products to be created so that my life will be slightly easier.
Sadly, I lack the time to currently actually pursue any of these initiatives seriously. Most of these ideas are probably garbage. But perhaps there are a couple of seeds of potential among the rough.
Therefore so that I can continue to be an armchair innovator you, dear reader, should consider actioning some of these thoughts.
Feel free to run with any of these random musings. It wouldn’t be stealing. But that was a catchier title.
A LinkedIn <-> InCopy / Google Docs Sync Tool
I update my LinkedIn profile every six months or so whether I’m job hunting or not.
Typically I change a few words here or there or remember things I did in previous roles that I’ve long since forgotten about but which randomly popped back into my mind.
The actual resume that I send out from time to time is a designed PDF that I store in Canva. So I have to go in and edit the few words I’ve updated (so that my LinkedIn profile and resume are in ‘sync’) then download the updated PDF and upload that to my Google Drive.
This is a terrible workflow.
How much more efficient would it be if we could create some kind of a live sync between our LinkedIn profiles and a resume creator. Or a live sync between our LinkedIn profiles and a draft that lives in Adobe Cloud?
Change your last experience description on LinkedIn? The changes will automatically sync to your resume. Simply make a few design changes, download, and you’re on your way with a shiny new version.
A Thorough Consumer SaaS Backup Tool
I’m something of a backup obsessive.
My (Ultimate!) Ubuntu Backup Strategy
What I’ve Been Using To Keep My Desktop Safe From Accidental Deletion, Disk Failure, and Other Forms of Destruction
But when it comes to SaaS, there isn’t a tool on the market that does exactly what I would like.
You see, dear reader, the cloud doesn’t equal backup.
For instance, take Medium.com. What if Medium’s data center was hit by a hurricane? What if Medium went out of business? You get the idea.
Now here’s what I’d love. A cloud to cloud backup tool. But one intended for consumers and the services that they — rather than businesses — use.
A tool that integrates with every SaaS service consumer commonly use.
Think Facebook. Medium. Reddit. Twitter. Todoist. Evernote. Not the big enterprise stuff like Gsuite and Office. But all the tiny bits of pieces of cloud infrastructure that people use every day of the week without thinking about it.
Scoop up user data by API. Package it up into an archive. And send an incremental backup of that data over to somewhere that users can store it (like Google Drive). Give S3 as an option for those who are more technical. Or an on premises server for backup admins that want to backup all the small stuff the organization is putting into cloud services and store it on-site.
Technical aspects? Simple web hosted frontend. Users integrate their own services and then let the backup scripts run on schedule.
Monetization? Charge a monthly fee. Marketing messaging? Some ideas: The cloud isn’t backup. Backup isn’t just for business.
Lightweight, Telescopic VESA Mounts
I work with three monitors and a desktop computer. (Yes, I’ve mentioned that before!)
I like it like this. It’s been my setup for at least five years now.
I like it so much that I have a hard time trying to get work done just about anywhere else. At least during an initial adjustment period.
But like most of us I travel from time to time.
That means going back to a laptop or working in hotel business centers.
The trips are often so short and the adaptation period from 3 screens to 1 so cumbersome that I just don’t get much in the way of work done.
Inventors have come up with a lot of imaginative solutions to try solve this “problem” — which is probably growing as more and more people are working with this kind of setup.
The problem? Many of them are kind of buggy.
Digital nomadism is a growing “thing.” It’s becoming more common for digital nomads to just pick up monitors on the cheap whenever they’re staying in a locale for a few months. Some even rent them.
All that’s missing to create the perfect setup? A VESA mount that’s lightweight enough to fit in luggage. I’d guess this would have to be made from some kind of composite material and telescoping.
Is It Here Yet?
Being based in Israel, there are a lot of tech services I would love to see available but which aren’t officially in the market yet.
Revolut. The Curve card.
Typically, tech startups announce launch roadmaps and also share that data publicly.
All that’s missing?
Some website that aggregates all that data so that digital nomads can research a particular geography and quickly identify which services are available in that locality.
Monetization? Haven’t thought this far.
Take My Sub
This one’s potentially a bit shaky.
Every year, countless consumers and businesses sign up for yearly subscriptions to SaaS platforms that they end up not using.
What if there were a marketplace to resell unused subscriptions?
If SaaS platforms could be cajoled into getting on board, this might even be a way for startups that can’t afford some high end SaaS tech to get access for cheap.
Companies scrub the data. Those that can’t afford the full solution price get access. They miss out on the onboarding. But they get to use the tech. It’s better than nothing. Companies get to monetize their unused SaaS time.
Sales teams conduct a lot of Zoom calls and phone meetings.
In some organizations, senior sales staff listen in on calls in order to provide feedback.
What if there were a platform that did … only this?
Sales Coach could look a bit like SoundCloud.
It could integrate with CRMs so that call recordings could be quickly imported.
Then senior salespeople could leave timestamped comments on the recording in order to provide feedback to more junior SDRs and staff.
I send some of my clients upwards of 5 emails per day.
If you have dozens of subordinates I can only imagine the kind of inbox overwhelm that many managers face daily.
Here’s an ideal for a solution.
An inbox aggregator that sits between users’ mail servers (IMAP) and the internet.
Take email from frequent senders and using AI and NLP package it into once daily digests.
There could also be an override feature so that subordinates could report truly urgent issues to their superiors without that email entering the usual triaging system.
Trade Shoe Informer
Attending trade shows can be a budget and time consuming chore for many small startup organizations with limited sales and marketing resources.
Travelling around the world also tends to eat up time.
But trade shows are fertile sources for industry and competitor intelligence.
What if there were a consultancy whose job it was to attend trade shows on behalf of their clients.
Report what’s going on. Ask questions to target vendors.
Does this exist? I’d guess almost certainly. But add it to the list!
Cellular Networking Cards For The Desktop
For those who work from home, internet access can be a make or break thing.
I once subscribed to two different internet service providers just to have fallback.
A common recommendation is to instead use a 4G/LTE router.
But what if you’re the only internet user and — like me — you’re using a desktop.
Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just build a small SIM card to ethernet adapter for desktop computers?
I went searching for such a component recently and had a very hard time finding one. I guess I probably missed it. But somebody should do a better job manufacturing and marketing them.
Wise … Just For Borderless Accounts
I make extensive use out of Wise.com’s borderless accounts feature in order to receive payments from clients in different geographies.
Unfortunately it doesn’t cover as many localities as I would like it too — especially in Asia.
It would be great if there were a FinTech provider that existed solely to help digital nomad create as many virtual bank accounts in as many geographies around the world as possible.
Probably a regulatory nightmare.
Expat Destination Search Engine
Those considering relocations commonly weigh up a few typical factors:
- What are employment opportunities like in their field where they are interested in?
- What’s the weather like there?
- What’s the cost of living?
- How good is internet access?
To help those who want to whittle down the world into just a few countries, it would be great if there were an expat destination search engine.
Tell the search engine what you’re looking for. The output is a list of geographies that meet the criteria you’re looking for.
The ultimate weird accessory for writers.
I occasionally need to mount a document I’m working on to my monitor.
Typically the solutions clip onto a screen.
But what about the hardware that’s always there: the human doing the writing.
What somebody should come up with is a document hat.
The hat contains a telescoping document holder that can swivel ergonomically so that it’s positioned at the perfect angle relative to the writer/user.
Digital Road Signs
Why are our roads and landscapes littered with pieces of metal pointing cars and walkers in the direction of places they typically know how to get to anyway?
Isn’t this all a bit .. anachronistic?
I propose a better way.
Low power IoT devices are here.
Replace signs with smart broadcast devices that are managed centrally by municipalities.
Equip vehicles and pedestrians with the technology needed to use them.
Broadcast on cellular. Broadcast on Bluetooth. Integrate into digital displays.
Say goodbye to chunks of metal and signposts.
In Israel, Wave has baked speed limit signs into its app. Most road users pay more attention to those than to the signs affixed to highways. Why can’t we extend this concept?
High NRR Bluetooth Headphones
Etymotic is just about the only company that makes IEMs that have noise reduction ratings comparable to earplugs.
Unfortunately last time I checked they only make headphones that need to be physically tethered into an audio plug.
Create headphones that run over Bluetooth. Make money selling to sound sensitive people like me.
Drinking Pace Trainer
I love beer.
But I don’t like drinking enough of it that I get drunk. And like most beer drinkers, I’ve had occasional experiences when I’ve been a little too enthusiastic in my consumption (note: especially when starting ADHD meds. I want to eat and drink everything when they wear off. Right now!)
So here’s an idea that I think would be really simple to implement and would actually help a lot of people understand the difference between a responsible drinking pace and the type of drinking people do at binges and which leads to all sorts of problems.
It could even be used as an educational tool by drug awareness educators. Fill it with water and show it off in schools.
First, we’re going to need an electronic beer glass. It’s going to have to have a little LED screen where we can key in the ABV content. Next, it’s going to have a little liquid sensor to detect the volume in the glass.
Finally, we’re going to need a little LED strip on the side of the glass. Once the user pushes the start button, it’s going to light up green where the user should drink to. If the user drinks below that level, they’re drinking too fast.
What’s an optimal drinking place? I’m guessing the experts know that.
A Video Based Social Network
I probably like Reddit more than any other social network. But I also really love video and think that it’s the way of the future.
It’s so much more immersive. There’s so much that can only be communicated adequately when tone of voice and body language are superimposed onto text.
What I’d love to see?
Something like Reddit except it’s a series of nested video clips rather than snippets of text.
Audio would be cool too. But why not start with video and then give the user the option to listen to the video or read an automatically generated text transcript?
Knowledge Search Engine
There are a lot of things you can learn through the internet these days.
How to run a marketing campaign.
How to get started with origami.
And there’s a lot of ways in which to learn.
You can watch experts on YouTube.
You can listen to podcasts.
You can sign up for Udemy courses.
What do I think is missing?
A search engine to tie all this together.
Tell the search engine which skill you want to pick up.
It reports back a list of all your options.
Books. Podcasts. Courses. YouTube channels. Certifications.
There are so many SaaS platforms out there that it’s getting overwhelming.
Some companies have shared publicly what technology stack they are using.
Why not try to aggregate and leverage all that data.
Startups tell the program what business challenge they’re trying to solve.
The AI reports back with recommendations for components.
The recommendations could also leverage existing stacks in use by other companies.
Gartner. For Today’s Audiences.
Having worked as a freelance writer for the past 5 years, I’ve received countless Gartner papers from clients.
I respect Gartner. I think that they do great research. Ditto the big 4.
But I’m not sure how many executives actually take the time to really pour over the kind of jargon heavy lengthy PDFs that they typically produce.
I think that it’s time for the market research industry to modernize.
Take the same core model — focused around experts doing deep dives into problems and solutions — but change the output.
Instead of producing subscriber-only PDFs, produce subscriber only videos and infographics that can only be accessed from within an online access area.
Users get the same value. But in a format that they’re more likely to actually consume — and enjoy doing so.
A Chrome Extension For ADHDers
There have been plenty of Chrome extensions developed with the intention of automatically summarizing articles.
But I’m not sure whether any one has actually been developed which has been specifically developed to make internet pages more readable for ADHD patients.
The kind of things that would be useful in terms of features:
- Increase text size. Paginate long chunks of information.
- Block distracting graphics.
Ideally this kind of a thing would be developed in close coordination with neuroscientists so that all its features and recommendations are based on science.
Tinder For Jobhunters
Here’s a problem that I’m familiar with from the freelancing world:
Take the following example:
You’re an IoT writer and thinking about doing some cold outreach.
Conceivably until you’ve spent more time narrowing down your market your target audience consists of “every IoT company on the planet.” Or at least every IoT company that markets in English.
Once you have an internet connection that’s enough, right?
Not so fast!
Ideally one would consult for — or work for — companies that one truly likes and cares about.
Companies whose values and marketing are congruous with one’s own values.
Take the somewhat superficial way of presenting information that Tinder has popularized in the dating world and adapt it to the jobhunting market.
Present prospective clients as flash cards with a few details about them. Swipe right to see if your skills are close enough to what they do to create a match.
Not My Actual Email
Having occasionally delved into the world of dubious black hat marketing practices, I’m familiar with the requirement to create email addresses solely for the purpose of masking one’s true identity.
Typically one sets up an email and then configures a forward to one’s actual email address.
You can also find many ephemeral email providers on the market. But these are typically time limited.
Here’s what I’d like.
The email equivalent of a virtual number service.
Quickly provision email addresses that don’t actually have inboxes but which exist solely to forward incoming email onto an end address.
Use cases for people who might want to mask their address in this manner:
Social Entrepreneurship — Free Mental Health Books
There’s a wealth of useful material available about many mental health topics including ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
Nowadays, most titles are available in ebook format. Which means that anybody anywhere in the world can gain access to them so long as they have compatible hardware.
The people who write mental health books — like any creatives — need to make a living.
But because they have to charge for their works, this creates a risk that those who need the books the most won’t be able to afford to read them. After all, there’s a correlation between low income and poor mental health.
I would suggest that some philanthropist that has money to spend should consider setting up a service that subsidizes mental health books that have been vetted by clinicians. The UK has launched an innovative bibliotherapy scheme in this respect.
The website could function just like a regular ebook marketplace. Except that the titles cost nothing or a small fraction of their recommended retail price. They’re only important mental health books. And there’s an unknown charity covering most of the cost and making up the difference to pass onto authors. Readers would have to apply for access and demonstrate financial need.
Social Entrepreneurship — An Old Hardware Relief Program
Hardware moves fast.
And when HDD moves to SSD which moves to NVMe SSD demand for the technological predecessors inevitably declines before — finally — it becomes obsolete.
But what to do with that slow selling less glamorous hardware?
Perhaps somebody could set up a relief program which buys up old spec hardware in bulk and ships it off to aid programs in parts of the world where users could make perfectly good use from it.
Support Talk To Support
On several occasions, I’ve found myself working as the annoyed go-between between two different support teams.
Your domain registrar needs to change a DNS nameserver so that another service provider can migrate your site.
The ideal solution?
Support team A talks directly to support team B without having to run information through the intermediary / consumer in the middle.
How could this work?
Some kind of connector platform that allows support teams to liaise with one another after the user authorizes the passage of their account file between the two.
Potential pitfalls: likely privacy concerns.
Backup enthusiasts and those with the most stringent data vaulting requirements in the planet often go to extensive lengths to ensure that their data is protected.
Think storing data in elaborate vaults built deep into the earth.
But what about taking data protection to the next level. To the next … altitude.
The outlandish idea here is to provision a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite packed full of storage media.
High net worth clients can transmit data to be backed up to the satellite via a satellite uplink.
I suspect this already exists in some guise. At least among governments / militaries.