September 18th, 2011, 06:11 AM
Being frustrated as an entrepreneur that I don't have any real developing skills - programming, front-end, UI, or UX, and a little homesick, last weekend I decided to do something spontaneous - fly out to Shanghai and participate in Startup Weekend. I didn't tell anyone and just dipped out for this 3 day weekend to work on this side project idea I've had.
Startup Weekend is a little 3 day weekend competition where people pitch their ideas, organize teams, and possibly gain media exposure and/or seed investment. I flew out there to Shanghai to pitch my idea.
So here was my pitch:
"What's the most resilient parasite? A virus? a bacterium? an intestinal worm?
An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world, and rewrite the rules."
This quote from the movie Inception provides a compelling description of the power of ideas.
The problem is, people don't share ideas. Why? Because they think they have the next billion-dollar idea and that someone will steal it from them. But truth is, ideas are worthless without proper execution -- and that requires competence and collaboration. Ideas are meant to be shared so they can grow and mature to provide clearer direction.
So IdeaHub (IdeaTank, IdeaForge or whatever) bridges the gap between Wikipedia and TED, two successful sharing technologies. People go to Wikipedia to learn how things came to be; people go to TED to gain insights and learn about the possibilities. And then people will go to IdeaHub to turn ideas into reality, by identifying societal and industry issues, collaborating with others and coming up with innovative solutions, and creating a community that connects competent people to execute on
An ambitious project I know, which is why (stating my needs) I need two developers, a designer, and possibly a marketing specialist.
I want to end with this quote: "Competition leads to incremental growth; collaboration leads to exponential growth" and I think that's what this world needs: exponential growth through collaboration to improve the human experience and create a sustainable and brighter
future for the world. Thank you.
It was very ambiguous, I know... and we didn't work on it because it was too ambiguous to begin with. BUT it was well received, with a lot of follow-up interactions when we were forming teams. And there's also a lot of douche bag international entrepreneurs who think they're the ****, but they have no charisma or effective people skills.
The thing that many entrepreneurs aren't good at is effectively communicating their ideas with enthusiasm to persuade and inspire others to work with them and help create their vision of the future. So I went to Shanghai's Startup Weekend to fail fast, learn from others, and network. At the event, we had this badass programmer from Japan who can build a site like Facebook in a day -- he's written 2 books on programming and made his own ERP software to help manage business systems.
Summary of the event:
We ended up building a product called "Goal Circles" which is a social collaborative platform in which you can create and share goals, as well as the steps leading up to those goals (called "sets of disciplines"). Those sets of disciplines were divided into daily, weekly, and monthly disciplines. For example, if your goal was to "eat healthy" or lose weight, you could share that with your friends (to keep each other accountable) and the steps would probably include for daily like "drink 1 cup of water 8x daily," "eat salad," "take multivitamin" and it would turn it into a simple regenrating daily checklist on your smartphone so that it's always with you when you complete those simple tasks, thus notifying and reminding (and hopefully motivating) your friends to do the same.
It was well received with multiple HR departments and Life-Coach organizations approaching us, urging us to push forward with us with potential partnerships down the road. Very encouraging indeed.
I'm all about sharing and collaboration, and I'll be the first to admit my lack of competence in the developing side. Thus, I would like to work with the people who can execute who are passionate to help the world. Anyone can "steal" these ideas, if they're really inspired, or hopefully, make a better one.
But one thing I've learned, an idea is worthless without proper execution and that requires a competent team and passion.
I'll gladly share any wireframes, UI screenshots, etc. with anyone who is interested, and hopefully passionate about helping people help themselves.
September 18th, 2011, 04:49 PM
I am fully aware that i will sound really greedy now, but can you tell us how the 3-4 members of the team (and yourself, naturally :-P ) are going to be compensated for the work they will put into this project? Some form of profit share?
September 18th, 2011, 10:32 PM
Haha, yeah that's the thing -- of course they'd be getting equity in the project. And it's not just going to be 3-4 people, this is open to whoever really believes it can work. The business model would be similar to Wikipedia, relying on funding and other donations.
But that's not the point -- the point is that I am always open to share ideas that I think can help people, and that's the typical way businesses start: 1) identify a need, 2) come up with a way to fulfill that need, 3) execute and deliver accordingly, and 4) get recognition or compensation, etc.
I don't care about money, but I understand that people need to pay the bills (as do I), and if people are committed, I will make sure they are compensated. But first, I need to prove to investors that I have assembled a competent team and we would need to show them something (a basic prototype, workflow with wireframes, etc).
September 19th, 2011, 01:32 PM
Ok, i am really tired right now, so i hope that i make sense...
I've been reading over your post a couple of times now, and i have to say that i like your sales pitch. After thinking about it for a while i started wondering though: This forum (and many other forums like it) pretty much prove the fact that there are so many more people with ideas than there are people available who can execute them (the ideas, not the people having ideas ).
And this is a software development forum, nearly everybody can develop a piece of software, given enough time, perseverance and about 500 dollar to buy a computer.
When people have an idea for bigger stuff ("Wankel Engines are cleaner, less noisy, lighter and more fuel efficient than conventional car engines. We should start making cars with wankel engines in them"), 500 dollar and a lot of time will not cut it anymore and the idea/ execution rate becomes even more skewed.
How do you want to make sure that IdeaHub doesn't become a huge dumping ground for idea's, where the people who can help execute an idea get drowned by the sheer number of idea's submitted?
September 19th, 2011, 02:23 PM
I'd like to talk more via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (just a matter of convenience - and anyone else feel free to e-mail me).
You make valid points, that the executers are few and the "visionaries" are plentiful.
However, no matter what, a start-up or a project (especially one as ambitious as this) requires nothing less than full-time commitment, and the whole start up process is what weeds out the uncommitted. The committed stay simply because they have to.
To further reiterate on the whole governance mechanism of the site, I direct you to Wikipedia CEO Jimmy Wales' TED talk: [edit: won't let me post url - go to ted and type in Wikipedia.
Furthermore, another interesting talk that reiterates why the Wikipedia model works (despite how many people were against it) and on intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation:  url blocked go to ted and type in dan pink motivation and click the first link.
Watch the two and you'll understand that people will contribute because it matters. And of course, no matter what technology or innovation comes up, to pull from Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat, he talks about how people will find ways to abuse new technologies (like people try to do with Wikipedia), but it's a matter of educating those people and further encouraging those who use it responsibly to overlook the bad (again, like Wikipedia).
I have the book The World is Flat right in front of me and here's a page I turned to looking for the actual quote of the previous assertion: "Rule #4: The best companies are the best collaborators. In the flat world, more and more business will be done through collaborations within and between companies, for a very simple reason: The next layers of value creation -- whether in technology, marketing, biomedicine, or manufacturing -- are becoming so complex that no single firm or department is going to be able to master them alone."
Likewise, with our evolving societies and due to advances in technology, the availability of all this data is growing exponentially that it's going to take more than one person and all these automated systems to do something with that data.
I'm drawing all this research from people with credibility to prove that I really do care. And to (hopefully) add more credibility on my part, I am a co-founder of a start-up coming out of the Chinaccelerator startup incubator program in Dalian, China (type in chinaccelerator in google). I'm not here to advertise my start up and build buzz, get investment, etc, -- I am here to share an ideology that I hope will resonate with people and drive them to action.
And to make a counter to your argument is that there is an abundance of those very "scarce" executers (programmers, software engineers, etc) over on this side of the globe, from India to China. I know iPhone developers, programmers, etc. what have you who will do work for 1/10th of the price you will find in the United States with someone of the same competency. What may be hard to find over here is more of the front-end programmers, which is why it's best to assemble a competent team of multiple specialties.
My hope is to connect these people with the innovators (and true visionaries who will stick it through), to brainstorm and come together to make their visions a reality. And I understand that you said the executers will be drowned out by all these people submitting ideas. Well, there is nothing wrong with letting an idea grow to the point -- people keep bouncing an idea back and forth, getting feedback, getting insights from outside articles and research, letting things marinate (many times people hold ideas for several years to themselves before working on them)... I'm sure there will be some sort of system in place for those to identify the creative non-executers and those executers who will be interested in a project topic solely because it will align with their interests to begin with.
And it may be begging the question: if I have so much access to the executers, why am I not doing this? First, I want to see my current start-up through (October 17 is our judgment day -- the day we pitch to investors and we may or may not get investment; I am also applying to TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing on October 31 - November 1). This is my first start up, and I must admit, I've learned a lot (there is still a chance for failure -- and failure just means more experience). I've messed up a lot, and I've learned my limits as well as my capabilities (pitching and speaking, for one). But I'm really trying to rally up enough people who believe strongly in this idea (wikipedia of ideas) that they think it can happen, and actually take action to make it happen -- whether through spreading the idea, self-education in whatever is needed, etc-- and thus attract more people with resources (maybe angel investors, or whatever) to help sustain the initial start up costs with the infrastructure as well as compensating the team to make the full-time commitment.
I understand this is long... but it's because it resonates with my core values and beliefs, and I know I'm not the only one who believes this -- it's a matter of finding those people who do. And with internet, I suppose I can increase my chances of finding those very people.
Oh yeah, and lastly, thank you for being engaged in this. I don't like keeping these things to myself, so it'd be nice to have these ideas linger in other people's minds. And it's on the internet for all to view. You seem very smart and who knows... you may take this all to heart, round up a team, and create the future.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
September 19th, 2011, 02:48 PM
Whoa! Huge post full of awesome stuff. Nice! I'll review it proper tomorrow (sleepy), but you'll have to agree that even with the large group of developers in china/india, it is still probably that only a very tiny fraction of all ideas can be executed, because many ideas will be flawed, have no market for them, are just too much work for too little gain and so on.
So you still have the risk it will become a bit of an idea-dump, unless you somehow filter out the crud or something...
Another little something, you seem focus on ideas for software development in your last post. Is this actually the area you want to focus on? Or can ideas like my wankel engine in a car also be submitted?
Ok, one last thing before bedtime: I really like the name "IdeaHub", but it seems like it's already taken by other businesses, same goes for "IdeaTank" and "IdeaForge".
September 20th, 2011, 11:13 PM
i am interested in the marketing position. I am not that desperate for immediate pay at the moment. Pm me back if you need me.
My skill is persuading people to buy something they don't even need.
September 21st, 2011, 12:09 AM
Hey zorox, you can e-mail me (e-mail above in previous posts). That's a very good skill to have - persuading people. Once a product is out, the persuading people (marketing) process is the most important.
Originally Posted by zorox
Steve Jobs said, "People don't know what they want until you show them."
September 24th, 2011, 12:04 AM
Yeah, I am interested.
PM me if you still need people.
September 24th, 2011, 03:20 AM
send me an e-mail: email@example.com
glad to have reached out to you