Jacques Mattheij

technology, coding and business

My List of Ideas, if You're Looking for Inspiration

When I saw jgc’s 1,000 (bad) ideas post I was hoping that it would actually have 1,000 ideas in it. Sadly not, but I can imagine he did not want to throw all his ‘good stuff’ out there for the world to see.

Since I have more ideas than I have time, here is my list.

Plenty of the ideas below are bad or even ridiculous, but there is some good stuff in there too. I don’t get close to 1,000 that’s mostly because I’ve self-censored and removed the majority of the really crappy ones (before that this list was 900 entries long…) :)

What I usually do if I have an idea is register a domain name for them, the trick here is that if the idea isn’t worth throwing $7 at it for a domain name then it is by definition a bad idea so that first investment is used as a filter against the very worst ones.

Meanwhile (since I had these) no doubt a whole bunch of them have been implemented.

They’re listed in alphabetic order of their working titles, not in execution potential so if the first few are ‘uninteresting’ to you keep reading, there are better ones further down.

Some of the stuff in here is interesting enough that just writing these little 5 line blurbs about them gets me wondering about implementation again.

Since the value of an idea is exactly $0 there are obviously no restrictions on any of this, so if you’re looking for inspiration read through the list and see if there is anything in there that you think has legs, either in the original or in some variation on it, that’s how the list is meant to be used.

Some of them would take an afternoon or two to implement, some of them a lifetime worth of dedication.

Feel free to go and run with any of them or ask me questions about them ( jacques@mattheij.com or http://twitter.com/jmattheij ).

Update, apparently, at least one of these has been implemented, if you come across more that have been implemented please let me know so I can link to them.

  • (1) 3adomains A registrar where you can buy single domains for $1 over the required fees. Make the money through constant domain auctions and escrow arrangements.
  • (2) A-Tie Sell ties online (I’ve *never* worn one!), ties are a collectors item and lots of people will spend insane amounts of money on them.
  • (3) Adalyn A virtual girl that you can teach stuff. She’s very curious, anything you tell her will be analyzed and if she doesn’t understand something she’ll ask you to tell her more about it. Paired with ‘askadalyn’ which allows kids to ask adalyn questions that she herself can ask of adults, the answers of course are cached so next time around adalyn will be a bit smarter. Used as a way for kids to ask a ‘peer’ online that is very knowledgable. I actually built adalyn, it went quite far before the ‘pranksters’ started to teach her about child porn and other ‘funny’ stuff (not funny at all if you ask me), so I shut it down but I’m still very tempted to revive this with better content oversight.
  • (4) AdFreeZone An internet corner where commerce is strictly outlawed, information only. In a way wikipedia does this, but the idea was to not have notability criteria and such but to simply provide a huge non commercial playground.
  • (5) AdProfs A new generation of advertising company, 100% transparent, showing both what the buyer paid for your space, our take and your net. All the usual suspects, click tracking, CPM/CPC/Performance based advertising and a built in affiliate program.
  • (6) AeWiki A wiki centering around alternative energy, which is a market that has tons of snake-oil and misinformation floating out there as well as a lot of good stuff. Think of it as a clearing house for solid info and tools that you can use to help you size alternative energy installations and to do a bunch of back-of-the-envelope calculations for you. Also warnings about alternative energy scams (there are plenty of those).
  • (7) AfMijn A clock based auction system where you set the lowest price that you wish to get for your goods. This would operate like a video game, new auctions would start all the time and would run for exactly one minute or until someone hits the ‘mine’ button. Buyers and sellers would be ID’d before being allowed on the site so no ebay scammers and other bull. Serious bidders and sellers only. The clock would start at a high multiple of your lowest acceptable price and count down after the auction starts.
  • (8) Afrux A linux distribution concentrating on the African continent with all the documentation and associated websites available in as many African continent languages as possible and with a network of ‘local support’ built in.
  • (9) AjaxBricks A collection of ajax modules hosted by a single third party that are designed to work together to allow you to ‘click’ together a working web app. Uploaded modules would be reviewed and included in the ‘core’ if they pass muster, but anything could be part of ‘contrib’, the free for all collection. Each ‘brick’ would be versioned, upgrades would only be done if there are security issues or other urgent fixes, no ‘switching your script’ with something malicious while you aren’t watching.
  • (10) ArticleBody A service that given a url will extract the article text and will strip off any navigation, widgets, advertising and so on. This seems trivial but is actually quite a tough problem to get 100% right all the time.
  • (11) AslProfile A site where you can gradually reveal your ‘real life’ data to strangers found on the internet based on the trust level that you’ve developed towards them.
  • (12) AutoTagger A site that figures out what a text is about and automatically tags it accordingly. I’ve actually built a working prototype of this, good enough for casual use but not perfect, but I’m convinced the method behind it is solid, it just needs better input data.
  • (13) CheapDriving The cost of operating a vehicle seems to be in rapid ascent, a collection of tips and tricks per country on how you can reduce the cost of personal transportation as much as possible.
  • (14) BoostOrBan A web variation on the ‘shark tank’ idea, wannabe investors pay $100 for a vote on start-ups, the ones that get the most votes in 30 days will get the prizes the rest will never be heard from again, a part of the $100 will get converted in to stock given back to the original voters so everybody that votes will always end up with stock in something.
  • (15) BoostStrap A business model for the new milennium. More to follow on this one, it’s very ambitious, I’ve been working on it for fully 10 years now and I hope that this year I’ll finally be ready to launch it to a slightly larger public than just the select people I work with at the moment.
  • (16) CamelMarket A dating site for people with a sense of humor, that recognize that it is impossible to decide who is ‘good for you’ without actually meeting in person over an extended period.
  • (17) Cameria Anagram of America, the ‘free world’ where you can join in groups to roam the internet at large. Any page you visit you take your ‘followers’ along with you, and everybody shows up as little avatars on top of the pages visited. Now known as ‘crowdsurfing’.
  • (18) CarOs A real time patched linux based ECU for cars, for a fraction of the price of a replacement ECU for your vehicle with adapter plugs to allow you to drop it in to just about anything. To break the ridiculous pricing that automobile manufacturers use when it comes to ordering replacement ECUs.
  • (19) CdXchg A place where you can exchange cds, you mail one that is wanted by someone and in return we mail you one from our stock. Prime it by buying up lots of used CDs, a buck per CD + postage.
  • (20) CellBattle A variation on core-wars, you get a ‘vehicle’, a cell that has a bunch of external manipulators and sensors and you have to drop your operating system in to it. Then the cells are let lose in an arena to do batlle for limited resources with each other. Last cell standing wins. New cells will be allowed to do battle only with the current top contender.
  • (21) Cleanux A drop-in replacement for the linux kernel based on a micro kernel OS.
  • (22) ClosedClub A very exclusive online club, membership $10K per year, otherwise just a forum with read-only access for the rest of the world.
  • (23) clustercompute A specialty newsletter/forum with anything and everything about cluster computing.
  • (24) CodelNet A simple content delivery network with an even simpler interface (rsync). This got built and is in daily use.
  • (25) CustomCrawl A service that generates reports based on search engine results that go the extra mile based on your query. A nicely formatted PDF with the merged information found in the first 10 pages of google results for a fee, complete with facts check and a list of recommended extra reading an source pointers.
  • (26) Daz The digital audio zone, anything that helps to find you new music.
  • (27) DeadMansKnob A service that will perform actions if you don’t check in to the site once per day, week and month. After 3 months a special one time action will be triggered that will assume that you’re dead or in a persistent vegetative state and your account will be terminated to prevent abuse. StavrosK pointed out that this now exists: [http://www.deadmansswitch.net/](http://www.deadmansswitch.net/)
  • (28) Drive-inn A place where djs can line up to play music for an audience, several ‘streams’ are made available for different styles.
  • (29) E404 A place where everything that’s lost on the web is preserved.
  • (30) exes4all A place where you can ‘evaluate’ your former significant other.
  • (31) F5News New news whenever you hit ‘F5’ for an endless supply of stuff to read about. Whatever you’ve read gets dropped, stuff older than 24 hours gets dropped. News to be filtered based on user preferences and a detailed profile that you flesh out over time.
  • (32) FossBounty A place where you can incentivize Free software authors to do your bit, we take a pre-auth for x days on someones credit card, you get to build the bit they’ve asked for, we evaluate and if it’s good you get the dough and they get the wares which are then of course available for the rest of the world as well.
  • (33) FreeVod Free Video On Demand, a place where you can use the camera in your laptop and a flash app to create a video which is then instantly available for viewing by the rest of the world.
  • (34) Fwilter A twitter monitoring service that you can pre-set with regexps or wild carded fragments of texts that you want to be alerted about when they occur in tweets.
  • (35) genalign Very fast genetic sequence alignment. This could be layered on top of AWS.
  • (36) GrassRootsBoycott A place where consumers can unite against businesses, if a consumer has a verified problem with a business and they think they’re in the right they can upload all the relevant documentation to the site, a vote is taken and if the vote is accepted that company will be boycotted by all the members of the site until the situation is resolved. The sting is that the people that boycott the company will all list their receipts from the past months of $ spent with the company so they can see the direct impact on their bottom line.
  • (37) HackerBacker You’re a coder with a bunch of free time, we give you an idea + the funds to go and execute it, we’ll take a minority share in return.
  • (38) HackerContests Every week on a fixed day a new challenge is released, solutions will be judged by correctness and performance.
  • (39) HardHacks A place to show off your real world hardware hacking skills.
  • (40) mXchg A combined media exchange and player platform, it will automatically exchange music and video files with other media exchanges instead of on a file-by-file basis as with other peer to peer networks. Basically wholesale file exchange. The software uses audio fingerprinting ahead of the transfers to make sure that it does not download stuff that it already has. This has been built and is working quite well but I’m sure it can be improved upon. The RIAAs worst nightmare, a media exchanging darknet that only exchanges files between friends.
  • (41) NonStarter The starterless engine, simply use the positioning information from the crank encoder to figure out which piston can be fired, inject a bit of fuel, spark and go. This would save some weight on every vehicle, a bunch of copper (expensive) and a part that fails at least several times over the life-span of a car. It would also do away with the problem of draining your car battery until it is flat, and it might allow a reduction in car battery capacity.
  • (42) NoSeo A search engine that will drop any site that has been search engine optimized.
  • (43) NotFb A place for facebook hold-outs or people that have left FaceBook for whatever reason.
  • (44) OnTvNow A place where people can stream feeds from their favorite TV programs for others that are not in a location where the feed can be seen normally. Big time legal trouble with that one!
  • (45) OpenPapers A place where all academic research that has been funded in part by public funds is published, journals be damned. Hopefully with deep pockets to fight off the lawsuits.
  • (46) OptInSpam A place where you can drop your email address and a bunch of fields that you are interested in. People that wish to spam you would have to go through us, we will evaluate their message and if we think it is ‘good enough’ we tag it and we’ll send it out to matching contacts.
  • (47) p2pcluster A place where you can rent out your cycles on your home pc
  • (48) ProofItWasThere A service where you can dump a url, we make a screenshot of the page and give you a link back to the screenshot. Certification notices for a fee.
  • (49) Registrate A place where you register the serial numbers of all your devices so that if you get robbed you can alert the insurance company of your loss with the right information and so that it becomes harder to re-sell your stuff on places like ebay.
  • (50) SequenceHunter An application where you select a genome and then you can cut & paste a dna fragment in to the ui and it will highlight instantly all the locations where that fragment is found. Modifying the fragment will give real time feedback as well, so if you shorten the sequence you should see more locations light up and if you lengthen it the number of locations will go down. Match mode includes exact match or ‘fuzzy’ match with a percentage of the basebairs being allowed to be ‘wrong’. To make the Genome more interactive, probably not very useful ;)
  • (51) SideEffectInfo Information about each and every medicine, foodstuff or chemical and what the effects on your body will/may be when you use it in the short, mid and longer term.
  • (52) SoftBricks Bricks that contain software components that you can connect just like lego pieces. Smaller bricks can be composited in to larger ones, composite sets of bricks can be ‘cloned’ in to a single ‘new’ brick. Brick pins can be inputs using a protocol, a level, an edge or an analog value, ditto outputs. Specialized bricks would allow interfacing to real world stuff at higher voltages and currents than bricks can handle directly. Bricks can be composited in to computing fabrics where data flows from one brick to the next in a pipeline like fashion, and where bricks can cause the bricks near them to be reprogrammed to modify their function.
  • (53) Spam-P Checks to see if link content has been the payload of spam.
  • (54) SunPower A solar concentrator made up from flat mirrors driven by a single motor to concentrate the light from the sun on to a single stationary receiver. The receiver could be a conventional solar cell arrangement (which would have to be cooled and so would produce hot water as well for a very respectable efficiency), or a ceramic plate with water tubes running through it using a ram-jet like system of valves to flash water in to steam driving a small turbine.
  • (55) SysAdminWiki A place where system administrators can congregate and share their knowledge, tips and tricks for various systems.
  • (56) TorrentLeaks A variation on the wikileaks theme where you upload a bunch of files, the service makes a torrent which is then announced and deleted exactly 24 hours later (after enough others have downloaded the torrent it should stay alive if it is ‘hot’ enough). That way there is nothing to sue and no single point of failure. The software to re-implement the site would be available for download and people would be encouraged to set up more of these ‘drop off points’. Good luck playing whack-a-mole.
  • (57) UrlSpotter A place where you can drop your links after you’ve seen something nice and where you can vote on the links posted by others. Sounds familiar ;) ?
  • (58) vm4rent A business that rents out VM instances.
  • (59) WebCamPlanet Proving ground for new stuff that I’m too scared to try on the main website but that might have merit, if something is found that works well the main website will get it and webcamplanet will *lose* it. Rinse, repeat.
  • (60) WeWatch A service that watches over your property remotely and alerts you if something is wrong or has changed according to parameters that you set. So, for instance you could point a camera at an object, identify the object using the site UI and call for an alert if it was moved or missing.
  • (61) wwgrapevine A web app that shows a vine of grapes at the top of your screen, whenever a new URL gets posted a bunch of grapes appears. Bunches are colour coded (red:breaking news, green:humor, orange:you should probably read this and so on). When clicking on a grape bunch the bunch lands on a plate and you’re taken to the site. If you click the plate you get a bunch of options (like, dislike where ‘like’ will pass the bunch on to your followers and where dislike will reduce the chance it gets passed on at all). This was actually implemented and worked quite well but I never really followed through on it.
  • (62) wwspeech A free-speech speakers corner on the web where you can make a 5 minute pitch about anything that you think matters.

If you got this far then you have a lot of patience :)

Questions about any of these or remarks: jacques@mattheij.com or http://twitter.com/jmattheij

If you implement any of them I’d like to hear about it! (especially if you make a bundle ;) ).