5 Business Ideas: 2.21.2021

Each day, during my morning routine, I come up with 10 business ideas. Typically I get to 5 to 7 ideas before my brain’s creativity meter dips below “E”. Throughout the day, I’ll add more ideas as situations, particularly annoying situations, present themselves.

Most of the ideas are raw, uncooked, and relatively useless outside the spark they might provide me. BUT, as James Altucher puts it:

Ideas are the currency of life.  Not money. Money gets depleted until you go broke. But good ideas buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you better experiences, buy you more time, save your life. Financial wealth is a side effect of the “runner’s high” of your idea muscle.

James Altucher, The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine

With that said, since I started the practice a little over 30 days ago, I’ve come up with some interesting ideas.

This post is a list of some of my business ideas from this morning. A lot of them are recycled from the past, many of which are a stretch for me to pursue at the moment, either due to technological gaps, upfront funding, or general silliness. With that said, the point of the exercise is to come up with ideas, no matter how outlandish, in order to build my creative muscles.

The breakdown

I don’t know how to best organize these ideas, so I’m going with a simple list, with an explanation of the idea, and then whether I think it’s viable or not.

Business Idea 1: Appraisal tech

Appraisal tech to simplify the appraisal process and provide transparency and consensus about the valuation of a home

This one really pisses me off, as a homebuyer. I’m probably being irrational, but after waiting for more than a month to get the appraisal back for the house I’m buying outside of Austin, it came in 40k under the sale price. Another came in $10k under, and finally, an appraisal came in at the sale price. It’s aggravating. I AirBnb’d for 2 months because of all the delays instead of being in my beautiful new home.  I know, I know, first-world problems.

This would be a SaaS product in an exceptionally gated and regulated market. The appraisal tech idea, although possible, I’m not the right person to build it.

Business Idea 2: Skill-stacking app

Skill-stacking app or site that takes into account different interests and skills to provide people with job suggestions and job listings. Maybe provide them with training or guides for skilling-up.

I first heard Altucher mention skill stacking in his book, Think Like A Billionaire. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, came up with the concept of talent or skill stacking to find your unique (more likely scarce than unique, you’re not a snowflake, you’re a flawed human, just like me) capabilities.

This is a fairly simple concept and I have all the requisite skills and resources to build it. I’ll add this to the list of viable opportunities.

Sidebar: I think the concept melds well with the idea of becoming t-shaped in your chosen career field. I’m lazy right now, so here’s so more info on T-shaped skills. Drop a line in the comments if you’re looking for more resources.

The concept of T-shaped skills or T-shaped persons is a metaphor used in job recruitment to describe the abilities of persons in the workforce. The vertical bar on the letter T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own.

Wikipedia, T-shaped skills

Business Idea 3: Car optimal time to buy app

Cars often have an elbow in their valuation curve over time.

Image screenshot from the book Statistics for Machine Learning, by Pratap Dangeti

The elbow is where the value of the vehicle evens out. Sometimes that elbow is the minute the vehicle is driven off the lot. Other times, it’s when the vehicle is 4-5 years old or a specific mile range. My idea would be to provide users with the best time to get the most bang for their buck — so that they can purchase their vehicle and minimize time-based or mile-based depreciation and possibly recoup most of their money when they sell the vehicle later.

If you buy before the elbow, you’re not maximizing your utility gained on your vehicle purchase. The closer you buy to the elbow, the better your chances of maximizing the utility gained through your purchase.

This is a very feasible product idea. I’m not sure what I’d be able to charge for it, or how I’d generate revenue, though.

Business Idea 4: Automated meeting summarizer

Somebody has probably already built the components to this. If it’s not in production already, I’d simply use speech-to-text and then run it through some basic NLP services to ID entities (NER) and summarize the overall text. In retrospect, due to the back-and-forth nature of most meetings, that’d probably be a pain the ass to figure out. 

Regardless, it’s something I’d consider building a proof-of-concept for, considering I have all the requisite capabilities and experience with natural language processing systems to build a proof-of-concept like that myself.

Business Idea 5: Basic metered APIs for machine learning services

This is pretty straightforward. I don’t know how competitive I could really be with something like this unless I picked a super niche market and built specifically for them. If I did that, I could probably carve out a small chunk of revenue on this without a huge lift. Most basic ML services are simple to build. Making them generalizable in some way, and useful to end-users for multiple use cases, is the real challenge. Maybe I could get super targeted and find ways to provide uber-simple services. Hell, I don’t know, but it’s probably something I’ll try.

In closing

Those are my 5 ideas for today, Feb 21th, 2021. Hopefully one of the ideas or the practice helps you develop a habit of ideation.

Do you have any ideas for businesses? Drop them in the comments and we can chat about them.

Keep in mind that ideation is only one small piece of the puzzle; execution is probably the other 99%.

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