Archive for December, 2007


Elevator Pitch

It’s been great to get feedback on the ideas that I’ve posted. It’s also spurred on a new idea – a site where users can pitch their dotcom start-up idea in the style of a 2-minute elevator pitch, gather feedback, perfect their pitch and raise its profile to potential investors.

The homepage would feature a single pitch and encourage visitors to submit their thumbs up/down rating. Once 200 votes have been cast, the next approved idea in the queue will get posted onto the homepage. A leaderboard lists all previously submitted ideas, akin to TechCrunch’s CrunchBase directory.

A user who has their own idea, could perhaps have a choice between completing a template that requests details on the idea, or filling in a blank canvas with text, images and video that communicates the concept in a 2-minute attention span.

Here’s a sketched mock-up:

Elevator Pitch

There isn’t anything else like it; the only site that has a resemblance is the now doomed yourelevatorpitch.com, which ran from March ’05 and closed down for ‘refurbishment’ in November ’06. However, during this period it touts that it published 100 pitches, gathered 14,000 ratings and even picked up an award.

Future iterations could allow entrepreneurs to seek microfunding from users, or recruit team members to join the start-up. The site could benefit from user profiling, commenting and more granular user voting. Another idea would be to allow journalists, industry experts and VCs to cast their ‘supervote’, which would give educated feedback to the idea submitter.

Thoughts?

 Tags: Business, Ideas   Published: 26th December '07

Aaargh!

I was in an IM conversion and wanted to write the sound of a grunt-like noise, but I couldn’t quite figure out how it would be best spelt. This gave me an idea for a user-powered website that would give people ideas on how to write sounds and noises.

Visitors can submit an audio recording of the noise they’re looking to be spelt and other users then provide their suggestions, which are ranked by their ratings. Lastly, tags would enable logical browsing and searching of previously submitted sounds.

It has the potential to become a humorous resource and be of true value to authors and editors (there really is nothing else like it). However, I have some doubt whether it could draw wide appeal, or if it could build a significant community of loyal users who interact regularly.

Here are some wireframe drawings to illustrate how the site could function with a bare bones feature set:

Aaargh Homepage

The homepage would outline the concept and guide them to submit a recording of a sound, or browse through the existing directory using tags. Future iterations could allow the building of a tag query; where multiple selections are made to narrow down the search.

After the user submits a recording, they’re asking to tag it with labels that describe the sound. They must also specify their idea on its spelling and a description outlining the context in which it’s used.

Aaargh Soundpage

Once created, other users who stumble upon the page can listen to the recording, vote on an existing suggestion, or make their own. The list is dynamically sorted so that the highest-rated idea rises to the top of the list, much like UrbanDictionary.

I’ve just taken on an impressive Ukrainian web development studio to work on a few projects. I’ll approach them with a full brief to see how much it’d set me back to build a functional pilot site.

Please leave a comment with your views!

Update: Thanks for all the great comments. I’ve set it up so that posts are automatically pulled into my Facebook profile, bringing in a nice extra chunk of visitors. However, I end up with comments on the blog and some on Facebook. Thankfully, I found a neat little script that pulls in Facebook comments into WordPress, making everything consolidated. Phhew!

Update #2: For the user to be able to make a recording, the site would need a Flash-powered sound recorder using Flash Media Server – costing $995 a pop. I’ll give this idea a miss.

 Tags: Business, Ideas, Internet   Published: 16th December '07

OneHundredTees

Another day and another wacky idea for you to digest.

The premise of OneHundredTees is to set around embarking on a mission to get 100 CEOs (belonging to FTSE 100 companies) to donate a signed t-shirt. Their autograph would also bind them to the pledge that if, and only if, I obtain all 100 t-shirts, the collection will be auctioned off for charity and that each company must each match the final sale price. The awarding charity would be chosen by the consensus of the sites visitors.

There are a few dynamics that enable the idea to possibly work. The key ingredient is that the companies would only have to commit to donating if the project is a success, and that this would necessitate press interest to occur. Therefore, they only take the financial burden if they get something out of it – an essential dynamic for these elite folk.

A spin-off idea is to swap CEOs for football players, or celebrities. This would be more likely to drive interest from the media and increase the intrinsic value of the collection, but on the other it’d be more difficult to grab their attention since so many other people poach them for charitable causes.

Thoughts?

 Tags: Business, Ideas   Published: 16th December '07

Knol (akin to Digital Wisdom)

Yesterday, Google announced Knol; a knowledge-sharing platform similar to About.com and Wikipedia. 2-years back, I commissioned a designer to draw conceptual designs for Digital Wisdom; a revenue-sharing, multi-author platform that is amazingly similar in style and functionality to Knol (and it’s contemporaries; Squidoo, Hupages and Wikia).

See for yourself. A mockup of Knol (click to expand):

Knol

and what the Digital Wisdom hompage may have looked like:

Digital Wisdom Homepage

and a hypothetical article page:

Digital Wisdom Article Page

Perhaps I gave in too quickly on this idea!

 Tags: Business, Ideas, Internet   Published: 14th December '07

Pooh Too

Fellow blog fans will have undoubtedly been disappointed with the lack of new posts as of late. The silence has resulted from focusing my attention on the redevelopment of Just Pooh, a site I acquired around this time last year. The site ranks well for many related search queries, despite not receiving a significant update since 2002 and was in for a much needed redesign.The endeavour had three clear objectives:

  • Improve the user experience so that visitors spend more time on the site.
  • Bring more traffic to the site by improving the internal structure of the sites’s content.
  • Exploit the combination of the above to increase advertising revenue.

Here is a screenshot of the prior version of the site:

Just Pooh Version 1

And this is the new version of Just Pooh:

Just Pooh Version 2

It’s still too early to draw any significant conclusions, but it appears that the new version has satisfied all three objectives. Analytics shows the below statistics for a 3-day period after the redesign, compared against a typical 3-day period in the past.

Pooh Google Analytics

In summary; users spend more time on the site and view more pages. Users are also less likely to leave the site after landing on their first page (known as the bounce rate). Lastly, the number of visitors has increased, thanks to the search engines increasing the site’s ranking and crawling additional pages.A huge thanks to Jack Sleight, the web developer I commissioned for the project.

 Tags: Business, Internet   Published: 14th December '07