1. Hire Us

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October*. This is my 20th ( and final! - phew) post.

    * … and November.

    Idea #20 - Hire Us

    The Pitch:

    “The valuation for a pure aqui-hire of a company (without any technology surviving the acquisition) can get as high as $1,000,000 for each engineer the acquired company has. But why wait to build a failed product and all that mess just to capture the value of a bunch of geeks standing in a room? Let’s just skip straight to the hiring part! We provide a legal framework and a marketplace for engineers and designers to group together and offer themselves as hire-able teams. Engineers are incentivized to join up with their most talented fellow engineers, companies are incentivized to hire the entire team, and teams are incentivized to stay together (by deciding to be hired or not). We take 10% of each sale bounty, and the rest is split up amongst the team.”

    How it would work:

    • Each team would decide how much their ‘Bounty’ would be worth per person. For example, a group of three people could decide their team bounty is $300,000, so the per-person bounty is $100k.
    • A company then could decide to hire less then 50% the team (1 person), or 50% or more of the team (2-3 people).
    • A company pays the per-person bounty for each of people they hire.
    • If less than 50% the team is hired, the bounties of the team members who are hired are split evenly amongst the people who are not hired. (You are incentivized to not take a job alone)
    • If 50% or more of the team is hired, the bounties of the team members who are hired are split amongst the entire team.
    • Our 10% of the bounty is paid in cash at the time of agreement to us, with the remaining 90% paid out in a cash/stock mix to the hired team at 6, 18, and 30 months.

    Why I’m Interested:

    • Finding good engineers remains a difficult problem.
    • The money that goes towards an aqui-hire isn’t not as crazy as it might seem, as most of the money paid is in the form of stock incentives that vest over four years. So this is more like a collective bargaining system for engineers.

    Possible Problems:

    • Employers might balk at paying much to people who are not getting hired (though this does happen in actual aqui-hire situations)
    • There might not be enough tech companies who can hire larger groups of people at a time to make this work.

    Read Bryan’s post and vote for the better idea!

    8 months ago  /  0 notes

  2. Let’s Fix Medicine

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote at the bottom!

    Idea #19 - Let’s Fix Medicine

    The Pitch:

    "Do you have grocery insurance that you use when you need food? How about clothing insurance, when you need to be not-naked? Then why do you pay exorbitant premiums (and suffer through a crappy claims process) for basic health care? Our primary care physicians are different - we don’t accept any insurance plans, because you won’t need them with us. Our doctors are independent professionals with small practices and limited patient rosters. You pay a yearly fee plus a flat rate per office visit, and receive free care via email or Skype. You should still carry high deductible health insurance for emergency situations, but even with the added cost, we end up being comparable with most health insurance plans (and with much better service).”

    Health insurance is terribly broken in the United States. I have been improperly billed more often than not over the past 5 years due to insurance push-back (for a total of ~ $3000) and each time had to spend a lot of valuable time before the doctor, hospital, or ambulance ultimately conceded that I didn’t owe them anything (a few times the billing was blatantly illegal, other times it was just an accounting mistake). I now pay cash for as many things as I can, because I assume every insurance interaction is going to result in days of hassle.

    How it would work:

    • I’m inspired by boutique doctors like Doctor Jennifer Grodberg in DUMBO, Brooklyn. She offers a wonderful consumer experience - you should really check it out. I would try to build a business by offering software and services (like scheduling software and transparently priced lab testing) to doctors like her to help them manage their practices.
    • At scale, I would hope to form a cooperative network out of these independent practices (so if your doctor takes vacation others can take over, for example).

    Why I’m Interested:

    • Insurance issues have been the #1 source of frustration in our household. I’m most excited about a consumer centric approach to this problem, because the current experience is just. so. painful.
    • By cutting out a huge part of the health care industry from the insurance system, we may protect it what (from the outside) appears to be an unh

    Possible Problems:

    • The Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) has further strengthened the assumption that insurance is your primary channel to getting health care. An extra-insurance product strategy may be a bad way to go these days.
    • There is at least one new promising insurance company, Oscar which is offering some of the benefits of boutique medicine, like free medical consultation over the phone, but packaged as an insurance plan (which is a recognizable product consumers expect to purchase) and can use the ACA marketplaces as a distribution channel.

    Read Bryan’s post and vote for the better idea!

    8 months ago  /  1 note

  3. See Your Friends More

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote at the bottom!

    Idea #18 - See Your Friends More

    The Pitch:

    "You know when you email someone and say ‘hey, let’s try to find a time to hang out!’ and then it… doesn’t happen. Next time you send that email, just add weekly@friendtime.cc to the CC field, and we’ll email you and your friend a weekly reminder to find a time until you hangout. It’s like Followup.cc, but for friends!”

    I don’t see my friends nearly enough. It’s a problem that haunts me. I spent a year attempting to solve it with a product called YAYfriends). The ultimate failure of YAYfriends taught me this: if you’re going to build something to coordinate with Normals (non-techies) your MVP has to be Normal-friendly on day 1. Normal-friendly means your experience can’t be a lot different from something they already do. You can only get away with a little different. And you’d better get in their email or text inbox, or you will disappear entirely. GroupMe and Square Cash are excellent examples of this in action.

    Why I’m Interested:

    • I still don’t see my friends nearly enough. Communication technology can’t answer this problem entirely, but at it’s core it is both a social and logistical problem, so I’m convinced there is a product here… somewhere.
    • There are a lot of startups focused on the nightlife side of getting together (like YPlan and a gagillion others) and for good reason. In lots of ways, it is the easier problem to solve. But my ideal night usually doesn’t involve spending a lot of money. Enjoying a glass of wine with close friends after finishing a home cooked meal: that’s what I want more of in my life.

    Possible Problems:

    • Oooohboy are there problems. Even delivered directly to the inbox, Normal people may balk at the idea of using an email reminder to find time to meet up. It’s kinda Corporate.
    • A lot of people may simply not have the time to see friends. When I used to describe YAYfriends to young parents, they would give me a particularly confused look.
    • People. are. lazy. Even though we should go out and see friends on any given night, we kinda really want to stay home and watch Netflix.

    Read Bryan’s post The Most Important Person to Your Success Who You May Be Ignoring and vote for the better idea!

    8 months ago  /  0 notes

  4. Retweet Your Team (TeamMateHQ)

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote at the bottom!

    Idea #17 - Retweet Your Team (TeamMateHQ)

    The Pitch:

    "Your team and allies (family, close friends) can be a powerful force for your organization. Our daily email helps teammates band together online to support your organization and each other. It includes posts from your organization’s social media accounts, as well as selected posts from the team’s personal accounts. Teammates and supporters can like, retweet, and reply right from inside the email, so there’s almost no friction to helping spread the word”

    At GameChanger, I would occasionally stumble on some great tweet that a teammate had posted, and it was hilarious or useful (or boring) but I was always glad to see this side of our team. I want to combine that experience with a basic daily to-do experience around social media to answer the question “What can I do to help the team today?”

    Why I’m Interested:

    • I’ve already started to build this and the emails it creates are promising (though the subscription and onboarding flows need work before trying it with more teams)
    • I have a bit of a love affair with email based interactions including iDoneThis, Followup.cc, Alchemy, and Square Cash. (note: this should also be listed as a possible problem. I can become too infatuated with interactions and product hacks sometimes)

    Possible Problems:

    • This idea was born out of my current goal of building some passive revenue, and by design it is not tackling terribly hard or large problems. But I’m interested it partly as a marketing vehicle for other future products.

    Read Bryan’s post Fixing Our Most Broken Industry and vote for the better post!

    9 months ago  /  0 notes

  5. Independent Developers, Untie!

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote at the bottom!

    Idea #16 - Independent Developers, Untie!

    The Pitch:

    “Lots of mobile apps these days (mostly games) are more like movies than products in that they can be built, launched, and provide revenue as a media asset with minimal upkeep. But it’s difficult for developers to team up to build something outside of the context of a new or existing company because of issues of ownership and revenue distribution. Our startup provides a legal and logistics framework to help distribute revenue from independent apps (and handle other annoying things like taxes), so developers can focus on making the next awesome app (with the same team or a new one!).”

    Lucius Kwok, an independent iOS producer in NYC, recently joined the chorus proclaiming that the app gold rush is over. He suggests that more independent developers may need to form teams in the future as the bar is raised (and I would add cross platform apps are required to get full market reach). I see a logistics startup like this as a way to form those teams together around specific projects without losing the creative strength of flexibly employed independent creators.

    How It Would Work

    • We would take over the app assets (consolidated under one App Store account), send the proceeds to our bank account and handle the cash flow that way.
    • App developers would not pay anything on the first $2000 of yearly earnings, but would pay 5% of the revenue after that (30% Apple, 65% Developer, 5% us)
    • We would provide money up front in exchange for a larger slice of the pie for developers that have a successful track record.

    Why I’m excited

    • Developing independently for the past six months, I’ve come to appreciate how much one person can do with the tools we have available today. But there’s also a lot of inefficiency in working alone. I think the reason people avoid teaming up on projects is clarity around ownership.

    Potential Problems

    • Launched apps still need upkeep, so this system would have to incentivize members of a project to share upkeep appropriately too.
    • Developers might be hesitant to share yet another piece of a dwindling pie.
    • There are already established players like BetaWorks that understand the media-like nature of technology and would be well positioned to provide this service.

    Be sure to read Bryan’s post today Live in the Future and vote for today’s winner!

    9 months ago  /  1 note

  6. Appa-Mater

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote at the bottom!

    Idea #15 - “Appa-Mater”

    The Pitch:

    "We craft white label (or blue label) mobile app experiences for alumni groups. The most popular part of our app is sports alerts, but the second most popular are our event tools, which help introduce friends of friends who are nearby at reunions and alumni parties.”

    Background:

    We’ve seen a frothy mess of social startups in the past few years experimenting with location specific social interactions. There’s a lot of potential in the interactions, but the most successful products will leverage them in appropriate contexts instead of just throwing them out to the general population. For example, many users would think that their phone telling any store they walk into that they had just arrived is weird, but as part of Square’s wallet payment flow, it is downright magical. I think institutions like Colleges will pay for great experiences that bring their alumni (and donor base) together. By focusing on the context of an affinity group, you could build great social experiences that wouldn’t be viable in a general population.

    Why I’m Interested:

    • I don’t engage with my alumni groups nearly as much as I could.
    • Alumni engagement translates to donation dollars, so there’s a clear value proposition for the institution.

    Potential Problems:

    • If you white label this product too completely, you lose the marketing benefit of distributing a social app.
    • Similar to other B2B plays, you’ll have to work hard to chase down your first clients without proof your product works. I would try to address this by focusing on a few institutions and growing it within those alumni groups without the direct involvement of the school.
    • Circle actually started with an institutional focus (those were the circles), but it has been finding more traction with their more recent focus on local posts.

    Read Bryan’s post today, The Ultimate Guide to Making Money Without a Job and vote for today’s winning idea.

    9 months ago  /  0 notes

  7. Entrepreneur’s Angel

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote at the bottom!

    Idea #14 - Entrepreneur’s Angel

    The Pitch:

    “Recruiters suck*. As highly skilled tech workers in an increasingly mobile (and quickly moving) industry, we need someone on our side helping us find great opportunities. Unfortunately, because recruiters only get paid for landing people new gigs, they’re only good for one thing (landing new gigs). That’s why we created Entrepreneur’s Angel - your dedicated professional dating service. Thinking of starting a business soon? We’ll make sure you start meeting potential cofounders or early employees. Loving your current gig? We will help you meet potential hires (even the ones that aren’t currently looking for work), and also continue to explore your local network so you’re in a good place when it is time for your next move. Every quarter, your Angel agent will reach out to check in and make sure we still know what your current strategic goals are. We will make sure you meet the right people, at the right time, so you can focus on just being awesome wherever you are right now.”

    * Sorry recruiters. I don’t have anything against you personally, but your business model is a symptom of an inefficient workforce market, and I would love to see you put out of a job. That said, I have worked with some wonderful people found through recruiters, so until we replace you I guess you should stick around.

    How It Would Work

    • The free product (which would be mostly for marketing and data collection) would connect with twitter and linked in and send you a monthly update with a few people you should be meeting based on shared connections within your industry.
    • The paid product would be priced high ($100 / quarter at least) and would focus on bringing you added value by understanding what your current professional needs are.

    Why I’m Excited

    • Efficiently matching talent with opportunities is as fundamental to our economy as you can get.
    • I would pay for this right now, and I’m a pretty cheap guy these days when it comes to recurring fees.
    • The high-touch nature of the business (and early cashflow) would support an engine for customer development .

    Potential Problems

    • People might not want this service.
    • It might be harder than I’m realizing to get the data to give people a regular stream of quality new people to meet.
    • Out-of-network people might be really hesitant to meet with folks who use the service (I think the service would be cold-calling people to try to make the connections happen).

    Be sure to read Bryan’s post today “Lighting the Introduction Economy" and vote for the best idea!

    9 months ago  /  2 notes

  8. Kid Post

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote at the bottom!

    Idea #13 - Kid post

    The Pitch:

    "Are you worried about your children’s use of social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Email? We build tools that let children start using these services with friends, while giving parents an opportunity to teach proper online behavior and safety. Our main tools are a set of companion mobile apps. One lets your child use Facebook like normal, except when they do something like friend someone or post a message. At this point you get an alert and can approve the post (or not). As your child grows older, the app will limit less and less, until they are old enough to take over the account themselves."

    Parents face a tough choice when a child (and friends) outgrow DIY.org and want to start joining the wider internet. There’s a lot of pressure coming from angles, and of the 0 parents I’ve asked about this, NaN percent would pay for tools to help make that transition responsibly.

    Why I’m Excited:

    • There’s a strong distribution opportunity within a child’s social circle if they are allowed to use twitter, Facebook, etc. because of this service.

    Potential Problems:

    • Newer services like snapchat (and Instagram) restrict interaction to the official apps to shape the use and perception of the service. (The service couldn’t get in the middle with an API)
    • While I’ve heard some of the problems from parents about raising kids with social media and the internet, I don’t have a lot of personal experience here and haven’t validated this idea at all with parents. If you’re a parent I would love your thoughts.

    Read Bryan’s post today: Keep Your Company’s Best and vote for the better idea!

    9 months ago  /  0 notes

  9. iShame

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote at the bottom!

    Idea #12 - iShame

    The Pitch:

    “Do you have something you try to do every day? Maybe it’s flossing. How about working out? Our app will help you do it! First, sign in with Twitter. Next, take a photo of yourself. Nice one! Now, if you don’t post a photo of that pushup workout three days a week, we’re going to superimpose your face onto a photo of something super embarrassing, and tweet it on your behalf. Miss two days in a row, and your posts will be retweeted by other delinquents! Flossing every day doesn’t seem that bad anymore, does it?”

    I wasn’t going to post this one. I actually drafted it for yesterday’s idea and then just stuck it in a drawer. But then Bryan’s idea about An Awesomer Future You made me look at it again. Not because I’m proud of it. But because it is the jerk cousin of Bryan’s idea. And stupider things have gone bananas in the app store.

    What I’m excited about:

    • The viral potential is baked into the interaction explicitly.
    • The retention potential (less appreciated sometimes than distribution) is also baked right in, as people get regular alerts when they are about to be shamed.
    • Using the face-cutouts and original artwork or photographs, the “embarrassing” content could actually be very entertaining and set a fun tone. (think Jib-Jab)
    • I sort of do this already, but I think this is the missing piece to make it work.

    Potential Problems

    • There are a TON of these kinds of apps around. Not that that’s always a problem, but… this is clearly an idea that has been experimented around. There might be big psychological reasons that negative feedback loops aren’t solving this problem for people.
    • I don’t see a big business here. But it could be a little bit of passive revenue from subscriptions (gives you one skip a week!). Not stickers. I will never do stickers.

    Check out Bryan’s post today, Enterprise Startups Unite! and vote for the best post of the day.

    9 months ago  /  0 notes

  10. ResuMADE

    Bryan and I are each posting 20 startup ideas in 20 days in October. We’re also competing to see whose is better each day, so please vote!

    Idea #11 - ResuMADE

    The Pitch:

    “Have you built a lot of cool stuff? Cool internet stuff? Embed our widget into all your internet stuff, and it’ll tell people you built it! Did you built it with other cool people - we’ll list them too. When visitors click on a name they’ll see more things made by that person. We have an SDK for all mobile platforms too, so whatever you build, you’ll get credit for it.”

    Part of learning how to build is building. Along the way, we’ve all built things. Now we’re building bigger things with more people. We’ve been designers, copywriters, and coders, but we don’t have our own IMDB to bring these stories of building together. The closest thing is GitHub contributors, but those don’t include everyone who helped with a project, and many aren’t public. This can be our IMDB.

    Why I’m Excited About It:

    • The tech industry values building and execution. A graph of people you’ve built with could be sparse but valuable. (See the new things your 2nd degree builders just launched!)

    Potential Problems:

    • Not sure where the $$$ are coming from in this one.

    Be sure to check out Bryan’s idea “A Better You" and VOTE for today’s winner.

    9 months ago  /  0 notes