Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Cameraphone Changes Everything

The Cameraphone Changes Everything
The trend watchers at Springwise noted the emergence of two services that let dieters photograph their meals with their camera phones and send them to dieticians for analysis.

But at a cost of $100 per month, I find it hard to believe that they'll find many takers.

On the other hand, if they were able to outsource the dietician work to India and drop the price to $20 per month, I think they'd have a hit on their hands.

What other businesses can you think of that can leverage the omnipresence of camera phones?

Minipreneurs

Minipreneurs
I've already written a lot about how we're entering an entrepreneurial age. But this Trendwatching article does a great job of providing a comprehensive rundown of some of the factors driving the rise of "minipreneurs."

Top down and hierarchy are so last millenium. Today, the grassroots are the real foundation.

Yet another great example of this is Y Combinator. For a mere $6,000 per entrepreneur stipend, plus some administrative support, Y Combinator got a 5-7% stake in a wide variety of cool ventures. Assuming that the 10 teams each had two members, that's $120,000 for a 5-7% stake in 10 different startups. And not only is it a great investment now, it's a great investment in a future relationship with the rock stars of tomorrow.

As I've said many times, Paul Graham is a genius.

Pierre Omidyar Rocks

Pierre Omidyar Rocks
Ebay billionaire Pierre Omidyar will match dollar-for-dollar any donations for Katrina relief. Way cool. Now you really have no excuse not to donate.

I found the link on my new friend Ramit Sethi's blog, via Google's new blog search tool. Sayonara, Technorati!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Why Didn't I Think Of That?
Alex Tew, a British soon-to-be college student, has set up a homepage with 1,000,000 pixels, and is selling advertising for the rate of $1 per pixel.

Thus far, he's sold almost $12,000 of advertising.

Of course, only the first guy, with all of the press and publicity, can cash in on a gimmick like this.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Product Idea Of The Day: Handsfree Computer Interface

Product Idea Of The Day: Handsfree Computer Interface

What if you put together the following?

1. Glasses-mounted display
2. Eye movement tracking
3. Wireless keyboard based on finger movements

Connect everything up via Bluetooth or WiFi.

You view your PC screen using the display. The tracker determines where the cursor goes--just look at the menu in order to move the cursor there. Then just use some control to click. It could be based on finger or hand movements, or maybe based on a noise, like clicking your tongue.

I think it could be done today with off-the-shelf technology. Anyone aware of such a product? I could really use it!

Virtual Pinups Return

Virtual Pinups Return

In a savvy move to attract the younger demographic of gamers (versus old perverts), Playboy will once again be running a nude pictorial of the sexiest female videogame characters.

Don't tell Hillary!

Katrina, Control, and Compassion

Katrina, Control, and Compassion
The fallout from Katrina continues to paint an unflattering picture of the government's response to the catastrophe. If I had to sum up my impressions, it's that the government has been too concerned with control, and not enough with compassion.

When George W. Bush first campaigned for the presidency, he cast himself as a "compassionate conservative." Yet whether or not some of the blame for the Katrina debacle belongs to the president, he has failed in the critical presidential duty of projecting compassion and concern.

FDR did a lot of things wrong during his early years in office, but the big thing he did right was to signal to people that he understood their problems, that he cared, and that he was trying to do something about them, even if the things he tried didn't always work.

In contrast, the governmental response at all levels, federal and local, has placed an emphasis on control instead.

In addition to FEMA's well-documented shortcomings (including having volunteer firefighters spend 8 hours on a sexual harassment seminar so that they could hand out fliers, rather than helping with rescue ops), the state authorities also ended up with egg on their faces.

For example, state authorities blocked the Red Cross from going into New Orleans with humanitarian supplies for the people trapped in the Superdome and convention center because they wanted to encourage people to evacuate the city.

Say what?

I can understand the desire to evacuate the city, but starving disaster victims (an action which may very well have contributed to fatalities) isn't the way to do it.

I won't even get into how the Second Amendment is being trashed left and right.

Even after being evacuated to safety, the government is locking down the survivors as if they were foreign refugees.

In general, if the government wants to A) improve its image, and B) do the right thing, it needs to worry less about control and more about compassion, rather than banning images of dead bodies.