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You wouldn’t pay anyone for a startup idea, especially a stupid one, but you might have the product management habit of thinking about the impact of solving a problem.
People have terrible memories, so we write lists, but a shopping list on a smartphone doesn’t leave hands free for holding a basket and picking up shopping. Make it easy to refer to notes on the move, when you can’t use a phone. For example, build a watch app so you can Send list to watch and read shopping list items on your wrist.
Supermarket Treasure Hunt
Supermarkets in foreign countries make it hard to find products, by disguising their packaging, or not stocking them. Produce a supermarket guide for foreigners that (compared to where they live) covers what they won’t find, what ythey’ll find in the ‘wrong’ packaging, or the ‘wrong’ section, and what they didn’t expect to find.
People work from home in cold places either spend a lot on heating, or get cold hands sitting at their desks. Computers users need targeted heating, such as heated keyboards or heat lamps. Touch typists get a giant mitten that encloses keyboard, trackpad, and both hands - a desktop version of a Japanese kotatsu.
Car drivers risk disappointment every time their passengers fail to complement their parking skills. Give them recognition with parking cameras that use AI to grade their parking skill and announce their score to the passengers.
Merlin Language ID
Everyone evesdrops. Satisfy your curiosity about overheard foreign languages, with an app like Merlin Bird ID for foreign languages. The pro version does regional accents.
Everyone else talks too loud. Develop AI noise-cancelling headphones that block speech from people not in your Favourites list.
Entertainment has two problems: everyone loves original ideas, but no-one has any.
Retell forgotten stories, instead of making up new ones. For example, produce a television series where each episode dramatises a classic cocktail’s origin story, such as Tiki bar classic the Zombie, possibly invented in response to a hung-over customer who walked into a bar and said, ‘I feel like a zombie’.
Solve the originality problem by copying Untitled Goose Game success, while raising the stakes. Use the concept - bothering people - but this time you play a orca, or the whole pod in co-operative mode, that harasses yacht harbours.
Grand IT Designs
While corporate IT departments struggle with project overruns, civilians miss out on the drama. Create a television series like Grand Designs, but for enterprise IT software rewrite projects.
People with large CD collections don’t pay for music streaming, because they already paid for more music than they can listen to in a year. Develop audio compression that reduces audio quality according to the listener’s age, removing frequencies they can no longer hear, so it all fits on a smartphone.
Fix diversity with a social network where everyone identifies the primary topic they post about, and can only follow one person on each topic, so you can only follow a diverse group.
Reintroduce an enabling constraint to social media, like Twitter’s original 140-character limit, with a social network where posts must have exactly ten words (like the original Ten Word Wiki).
For more occasional start-up ideas, follow @PeterHilton on X.