Tag Archives: ideas

Legally sell copies of your mp3s to your friends

People often discover new music from their friends. I tell people about new bands all the time, so I want to publish my iTunes library to the web and let my friends buy songs from me, rather than from Apple. And I don’t want any of the money… I want it all to go to the artist.

I imagine there is a creative legal way to do this. There is definitely a technical way…

– install a light weight agent that monitors my itunes folder and pushes the following data to the server: list of songs, playlists and meta data like number of Plays and Last Played.

– I’d be given a friendly URL like “http://mymusic.com/billboebel” and people can “Friend” me, just like on Facebook.

– my page would let people sort by “recently added”, “most played”, “recently played”, etc.

– people can buy any of the songs I own and the website would securely handle their payment and then would act as a middle man to let the buyer download the song directly from my computer (or queue it for download later if I’m currently offline). If the song’s file is DRM protected, a non-DRM version of the file would be created by the agent on my computer using my credentials that are stored in itunes.

– the website would need to take a cut of the proceeds to handle operating cost, but the rest of the money would go to the artist.

– the website could even let artists set their own price for songs.

– the sound quality would vary from seller to seller, but since the sale takes place between friends, I’m sure the friends can work it out if the buyer is unhappy with the quality.

Repurpose old iPads into elegant single-purpose devices

In 2011, when the second generation iPads are released, my first gen iPad is immediately going on eBay. I want the new shiny one with a camera for video conferencing! I’m not alone.

It is a safe bet to assume that over the next couple years, millions of used iPads will hit secondary markets. Today’s devices will likely be too slow to run iOS5, but they will still have enough compute power for many great uses. How about repurposing these hardware devices with new software that serves a single purpose in an elegant way… such interactive restaurant menus? or upgrade those audio devices that old people rent at museums? or a kick-ass kids toy? or a better remote for a home control system?

Start thinking about how to disrupt a market with a special purposed hardware device. All you will need to write is the software. You will be able to buy “magical and revolutionary” hardware at an “unbelievable price” soon.

Elevator floor cancel button

Can someone make it so that if I press an elevator button for the wrong floor I can press it a second time and it cancels that floor?  You can probably invent an hack to the standard elevator electronics that does this.  Then sell it to every hotel and office building in the world.  Thanks.

Print & mail photos from your phone

For the past 17 months, I’ve been taking photos on my phone of my son (born last June) and emailing them to my family.  They love this and the list of recipients has started to get big, so a few months ago I created a group mailing list.   My son’s great-grandfather, however, is 93 years old and not a very savvy email user.  Emailing him photos isn’t very effective.  So 2 weeks ago I logged into his email account and downloaded the 200+ photos I’ve sent him and got them printed and mailed to him, and he was ecstatic to receive them in the mail as a surprise.
I want to be able to send great-grandpa printed photos in the mail in real time from my phone.  I don’t want to have to take any additional steps beyond sending the photo to my family email list… I just want to add a third-party photo printing service as a recipient to the email list and have the photos automatically printed and mailed to him.

I was going to blog this as a startup idea, and hope that you create this business so that I could be your customer.  However, I recently found a service that does this… Picwing.  After testing it for a couple weeks and working out a few kinks with the email forwarders, it works and I love it.  It batches photos into two shipments per month to save cost.  I’d pay extra for weekly shipments, but they don’t have that option and this is close enough for now.

Superbowl ads for everyone

Remember Million Dollar Homepage?  The website’s owner sold 1,000,000 pixels for $1 each.  It worked because the idea was new and generated a ton of press.  You can’t repeat this now because the concept is no longer newsworthy and nobody is willing to pay $1 per pixel again to a copycat site.

But what if this concept were applied to a superbowl commercial?  According to wikipedia, minimum quality standard 4:3 TV broadcasts are 640 x 480 pixels and can be as low as 24 frames per second, which works out to:

  • 640 x 480 = 307,200 pixels per frame
  • x 24 frames = 7,372,800 pixels per second
  • x 30 sec = 221,184,000 pixels in a 30 second commercial

If you sold every pixel for $0.05, that equals over $11 million.  Last year the average cost for a 30 second superbowl commercial was $3 million… pretty good margin.

Failed startup tshirts

I have 10+ tshirts from failed startups. I love wearing them. Where can I get more? I can’t find a website that sells them. Someone should create this.

When a startup dies, the founders/investors/employees are usually left with a ton of scwhag. At fieldParty.com we were left with thousands of beer can koozies, beach balls, stickers and tshirts. (ya we were stupid but it was fun)

There should be a marketplace for this stuff!