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