Monthly Archives: February 2009

Five Ideas for Seattle Startup Weekend


Tomorrow’s the big day – the Startup Weekend crew are back in Seattle for another fun-filled, three-day, caffeine-and-subversion-fueled, startup-creatin’ marathon.  And just like last year, I just plain forgot to sign up and the darn thing sold out again.  But, as luck would have it, I sent out a sad little tweet that happened to catch the attention of this year’s SWS orgainzer (the esteemed Robert Eickmann) who extended me an invite to take one of the last-minute cancelation spots!  Big thanks to Robert – not just for the invite, but for opening my eyes to the real power of Twitter.

Anyway, to help get ready for this awesome event, I’m going to dig through the archives to revive some of my favorite ideas – and even post one of my all-time favorite ideas that I’ve purposely held back in the off chance I might actually get around to implementing it someday.  I’ll probably be pitching one of these ideas tomorrow, but definitely want to throw a few more out there to other SWSer’s who may be looking for a bit of inspiration.

Idea #1 – Raising John Stamos

So here’s the idea I think I’m going to pitch for tomorrow.  This is an idea I’ve had for a long time, and actually was almost the idea I used for the first episode of “A Startup A Week”, but changed my mind at the last minute after getting inspired by John Wood’s amazing “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” book.  Here’s how it would work.  It’s an iPhone app that follows the basic format as the Tamagotchi or (fluff)Friends virtual pet – but with a twist. 

Instead of raising a cute little fuzzy animal, you would instead start off with an egg that hatches into a baby John Stamos.  Your job is to nurture your little Stamos from a fussy little baby into an international superstar.  Along the way, your Stamos would evolve from being an out-of-work waiter to landing his first TV commercial to getting cast in a pilot to becoming the uncle we all wished we had, Uncle Jessie in Full House.  

Besides being just a heck of a lot of fun to put together, there’s some serious potential to this one.  The unique celebrity angle is a good way to generate some viral buzz for the app, and there’s a very big monetization opportunity by tapping into the $1.5 billion virtual goods market.  And, of course, there’s an infinite number of spin-off possibilities – such as Scott Baio’s path to Charles in Charge, taking Obama from law school to president, Brittany Spears from backwoods hick to, well, a much richer backwoods hick. 

Idea #2 – PressBoxx

This idea is one of my all-time favorites – if I were actually going to start a company tomorrow, this is probably the one that I would pursue.  It was one of my ideas from my 30 day Y Combinator challenge, and the one that my readers chose as their favorite as well.  The basic idea is to create a interactive site where users could combine the fact-checking effective workflow of mainstream news reporting with the cost-effectiveness of user-generated content.  For more info, check out the original post.

Idea #3 – MST3K for YouTube Videos

The name pretty much says it all.  The idea is to take advantage of a new trend I’m seeing a lot of lately where people are ditching their cable in favor of a combination of web-based video content from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.  It’s a lean-back experience that would allow people to create funny commentary on top of popular YouTube videos to create a continuous stream of hilarity.  For more info, check out the original post.

Idea #4 – Yellow Ribbon

While the original idea was proposed as a MySpace app, I think it may get more traction on the iPhone.  The basics of the idea is a way to show your support for our troops who are serving overseas.  The goal is to recruit as many people as possible to install the app to show their support to the troops.  Each person who installed the app would be represented as a point of light on a map, with the end goal to light up the entire country in support of the men and women who are bravely serving our country.  For more info, check out the original post.

Idea #5 – TweetDate

Didn’t think you could get through this list without having at least one Twitter-related app, did you?  This one is actually my all-time most viewed post on the site (over 50 uniques!!!).  The idea is a way to use Twitter to create a basic dating site.  There’s a matchmaking angle to this idea that i kinda like, but to be honest, my favorite part of this one is the mock-up I did – the “Fear” button cracks me up every time.  :)  For more info, check out the original post.

Thanks for reading, look forward to meeting all you SWSer’s tomorrow at the event – should be good times!