Thursday, October 13, 2011

Startup Visibility Accelerator

Photo by floeschie

Ever since I’ve launched AdDuplex and started treating it as a startup, I started consuming lots of information about startups, startup accelerators and other related stuff.

Startup accelerators bring a lot of value to the startups via mentoring, work space, seed investment, media and investor attention, etc. At the same time they require a lot of specific dedication from startup teams, organizers and mentors. These programs are intense and for a good reason. But it doesn’t make your startup a sucky one, if your whole team can’t relocate to Boulder, Colorado for 3 months. And it sucks for accelerator organizers too, if they think your startup is super cool, but they can’t get you into their program for these or other reasons.

I really enjoy watching TechStars show on Bloomberg TV, This Week in Startups, This Week in VC, This Week in TechStars, etc. These shows bring (usually) deserved attention to startups and their products. TechCrunch, VentureBeat and others write about new and promising startups. All of this media attention is great, but it’s pretty random.

So today I had an idea and I like it (I’m in the hype phase).

Startup Visibility Accelerator

What if there was an organization that would accept applications from startups and select 10 of them for a 3 month program. Pretty much like TechStars and other accelerators do today. But instead of collecting them in one place and putting them through this intense mentor driven program (which is great), they let them do their thing and just track them during this 3 month period and spread the word about them, help these startups get media attention, set them up for interviews and stuff like that.

Pretty much like the TechStars TV show, but in real time and distributed across all media types. In the center of it would be project’s web site that would attract media attention through a coordinated PR push and then distribute the attention to the startups participating in this “reality show” program. An editor (or editors) of the site would blog about the startups, interview them, visit their “headquarters” and stuff like that.

I think this could be interesting both for the startups and outside spectators. It could bring value to the organizers in a similar fashion it does today. And it should definitely attract attention from investors. It is also clear that it would definitely require some established organization like a/m TechStars to pull this off.

Does it make sense?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Consumer Level Tea Bag Packaging Machine

Photo by Jonas Ahrentorp

It’s no secret that most of the low-mid priced teabags are filled with some sort of tea dust (at best). Even more expensive kinds are frowned upon by gourmets. But tea bags are way more convenient for our fast paced lives than all these tea strainers and other “correct” tea making techniques.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go into a gourmet tea store, buy some great tea leafs and they would pack them into tea bags for you? Or taking this concept to extreme you could have such a machine at home and prepack the leafs for later use.

Google search for tea bag machine produces only some industrial level appliances. Why not do this at a lower, consumer scale?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Physical Case for Capacitive Buttons


I hate capacitive “hardware” buttons on modern smartphones. I’m not crazy and I’m not alone. This trend made it pretty easy for me when I had to choose my Windows Phone. Only one of them had real physical hardware buttons and that’s what I got. But I would actually love to have more choice.

The sad truth is that from the purely visual aspect a phone with capacitive buttons most of the times looks better than the one with actual physical buttons. “Designers” embrace capacitive buttons because “designers” don’t care about user experience, Designers do. Unfortunately most users don’t care about these things when they come to the store either. It’s only when they drop out of some game or app by accidentally brushing over a button, when they start noticing that capacitive buttons are evil. But it’s too late by then.

On the other hand there’s a popular accessory which is sometimes useful (like in case of a very slippery Samsung Galaxy S my wife owns), but makes all these pretty phones pretty ugly. It’s called case/bumper/cover/whatever. Case-mate makes decent cases like this.


So I thought it could be a cool product that would solve the problem of frustrated capacitive button users by augmenting the case with an extra part that would transform capacitive buttons into physical.

Something like this:


Please pardon my “photoshop” skills, but I guess the idea is clear. The cover would transform capacitive buttons into something you have to press to actually trigger the action. Implementation is obviously a little more complicated than just putting a piece of rubber over the button area, but it shouldn’t be that difficult to implement.

Note: I didn’t do any extensive research except for a couple searches on this. It’s quite possible that something like this already exists and I just wasn’t able to find it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

About this blog

Photo by Adam Hally

Not so long ago I’ve read a book by James Altucher titled “How To Be The Luckiest Person Alive”. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it. One of the concepts described in that book caught my eye the most. I’m not sure if it’s original James’s idea or maybe it’s a well known concept. I’m totally ignorant in that space.

Anyway, the idea is that you have an idea muscle and it atrophies if you don’t properly exercise it. I didn’t remember the exact exercise described in the book and now that I’ve reread it on the blog I see that I did it “wrong”, but I don’t think details actually matter.

What I do for the past couple of weeks is sit down for 10 minutes every morning before I start working and try to generate as many ideas about anything as I can. Most of the time these are some business ideas, mobile app ideas, web site or service ideas and things like that. Some ideas are utter crap. Some I may implement one day. Some sound pretty interesting to me, but are definitely out of scope of my expertise and/or interests, so I’m pretty sure I have no practical use for them.

The thought of throwing these ideas away saddens me. So I decided to start a blog where I'll post them in some detail. Keep in mind that I’m not doing any substantial research on originality or viability of these ideas. No guaranties. Other than that feel free to take these ideas and do whatever you want with them.