Friday, January 23, 2009


What is the most effective way to wake up every morning? A wake-up call, of course. No alarm in the world compares to that of receiving an actual phone call telling you that it is now time for you to get up and out. Unfortunately, wake-up calls are usually reserved for hotel guests and punctual executives - what about the everyday man?

The Idea: ad-fueled wake-up calls.

The system is fairly simple, especially since the majority of today's wake-up calls are already automated. With that being said, all that is needed is the infrastructure required to request and deliver the calls. To offset the cost of building such a system, and to eventually turn a profit with this enterprise, one could sell ad space on the calls and offer the service to users free of charge.

Users would be able to sign up online for the free, ad-fueled, wake-up call service by filling out a brief and simple form with their basic demographic information. The ads a certain indivual would then receive during his or her wake-up call would be chosen based on this demographic information.

To learn more about available pay service wake-up calls, check out

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


As of today, we can purchase robots to scrub our homes, vacuum our offices, and even maintain our pools - but what about construction sites? Construction sites depend on constant clean-ups, usually requiring a significant amount of labor. This work, as all work done by humans, is accompanied by the pitfalls of personal injuries, inconsistent production, and other forms of human error.

The Idea: construction-grade robo-vacs.

Construction-grade robo-vacs would be robots built to clean construction sites more efficiently. These robotic vacuums would be similar to the existent cleaning robots such as the Roomba and the Scooba, but of a much higher capacity - they would be able to handle the dirt and debris produced at construction sites. Such a robo-vac might include apparatus designed to pick up heavy items such as steel and concrete, large-quantity items such as sawdust and old nails, and temperate items such as hot metals.

These robo-vacs could also be created to handle specific types of construction, ranging from small/moderate residential work to large-scale, urban, heavy-duty projects. The construction-grade robo-vacs could also be synced with additional models to create a veritable "army" of construction site cleaners.

While some might object to the loss of human labor positions, they must concede that construction-grade robo-vacs would also bring immediate opportunity for robo-vac technicians, manufacturers and sales associates. In addition, employing these machines would eliminate the plethora of health risks and safety hazards the former laborers were exposed to.

To learn more about robots, visit

Monday, January 19, 2009


How often do you sit down in a restaurant and wonder what is good? Asking the waiter what they recommend may result in an accurate, objective response about what tends to be a popular and delicious choice, or, it may result in a completely biased, subjective response based on the server's personal taste or agenda. Sadly, it is not until you've already ordered and received the item that you will know for sure.

The Idea: a menu-item popularity tracker.

A menu-item popularity tracker could be shown in a variety of ways, but it would always display the same information – how many times a certain dish has been sold. Imagine a deli where every sandwich is listed on a chalkboard behind the counter. The sandwiches all have descriptions and may even have clever names, but what they don't include is how popular each one is. Employing a tracker would show just how many of those items have been sold in a certain period of time, whether that time is weeks, months, or even the whole year. Customers would then be able to make a decision not just based on the sandwich’s description or ingredients, but on how popular it was among consumers as well.

But how does this benefit the restaurant, you ask? The data generated by the menu-item popularity tracker could be used by restaurants to make a variety of decisions including pricing, stocking, etc. A tracker could also be synced with a restaurant’s existing POS system to further aid the compilation and display of such data. Lastly, in the event that a restaurant were to be bashful about low sandwich purchase numbers, they could easily switch to a system that displayed percentages of items sold rather than the actual number of sandwiches purchased.

To learn more about menu-item strategy, check out

Friday, January 16, 2009


Corresponding with family and friends while on vacation used to involve a gift shop, the purchase of a postcard and a stamp, and a few awkward sentences detailing all the fun you were having on the trip. Nowadays, correspondence from afar comes mainly in the form of email or text/picture messaging. Sure, it is convenient, and the pictures are often a bit more personalized than a “wish-you-were-here” labeled beach photo, but an electronic greeting will never compare with an actual card delivered by mail. What if there was a way to combine today’s technological advancements with the comfort and tangibility of the classic postcard.

The Idea: instant postcards.

Instant postcards would be pictures taken at tourist destinations, which would instantly be printed onto postcards and mailed out. The pictures would include anything from those often taken at museum exhibits, amusement park rides, sporting events, etc. - instead of 10 awkward wallet-size photos of the family at Epcot Center, why not 4 ready-to-mail postcards that each member could send out to a friend? Its utility would boost sales at these photo booths, which in turn, would save on the waste generated by pre-printed photos which tourists previously would have had no need for.

Further, with the help of advancements from companies such as Massachusetts-based Zink, roving photographers with printer-equipped cameras could snap a picture and instantly print the image on a postcard. Zink just recently introduced a digital camera with a printer. The only modification would be creating sheets which had preprinted postcard formatting on the back for a letter. Imaging being at the Grand Canyon, looking out at the spectacular view, when someone comes up behind you and offers to take your picture and print it on a postcard; you agree, and a few minutes and a few dollars later, you now have a personalized postcard to send back home to your family. Picture perfect.

To learn more about Zink's new products, visit

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


A group of friends decides to rent a vacation house together. One friend steps up, charges it on their credit card, and then has to collect money from ever other person going... three or four months later, they are still missing a few payments. Whether it's rounding up money for a vacation, paying for spots in fantasy football, or even splitting rent and utilities among roommates - payments between friends and acquaintances often become sticky situations.

The Idea: a small debt collection agency.

A small debt collection agency would be a company for which one would pay either a flat fee or a percentage of the debt being collected in order to avoid the responsibility of collecting payments from everyone in the group. By using such an agency, the problems and complications which usually arise when dealing with money and friends will be eliminated. Essentially, the debt collection agency would be a much-needed third party which would manage collection. Once an event was scheduled, all group members would agree to employ the agency at a reasonable rate relative to the benefits.

Some group members may balk at the idea of paying someone a fee for a seemingly simple transaction among friends, but then again, they are not in a position to ensure that anyone will pay on time besides themselves. Further, those who support the service would most certainly agree that a small fee is a welcome tradeoff for the hurt feelings and potentially long term effects (not to mention debts) that group pools often elicit.

To learn more about simple group travel planning, check out I'm In!

Monday, January 12, 2009


The internet has revolutionized the world of dating - between online services and social networking sites, the whole landscape has changed. However, the one component that has remained constant is the planning and execution of the actual date. Whether it is your first date or your 100th, there is still the question of what to do. From the classic dinner and a movie to skydiving and burritos (in that order of course), the possibilities are seemingly endless. But how do you know what to pick, what is available and whether your significant other will even enjoy it?

The Idea: a create-a-date website

A create-a-date website would be an online resource for date-related activities. Users would be able to "create" dates by inputting certain criteria such as price, time and location, as well as general interests. The site would then produce a series of complete dates for the user to choose from. These dates could range from the traditional activities to the unique, and the individual components of each date could be rated and commented upon.

The site could easily be added to an existing site such as Yelp, a social networking, user reviewed and local search web site. In this situation, the create-a-date part of the site would operate as described above, but would cull the date components from the existing database of places and activities. In this scenario, the user-generated content would be readily available for people to review, as well as add their own opinions after the fact for future users.

A create-a-date website could also promote partnership opportunities with existing online dating services such as eHarmony or, giving people a “one stop shopping experience” for finding a companion... and a place to take them. Finally, it would be simple to match a potential companion's interests with the dates provided by the create-a-date program.

To sign up and create a Yelp profile, check out