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Successful entrepreneurs are sharing their unused business ideas online. Maybe one of these are for you?
Successful entrepreneurs are posting their unused ideas online — and they don’t mind if you steal them.
It’s happening at a new platform called Kernal, which was created by Hootsuite founder Ryan Holmes with help from his studio team, Alex Simpson, Paul Donnelly and Joel Hansen. “We realized that there are platforms for products (ProductHunt.com), questions (Quora.com) and fundraising (Angellist.com), but there isn’t a platform for people to share and validate ideas to see if they’re worth pursuing,” Hansen said. “Rather than letting great ideas die in notebooks/google docs, we built a space for entrepreneurs to find, share and grow more startup ideas.”
Kernal is still invite-only, but Hansen shared 10 of the most intriguing ideas that have been posted on the platform.
1. A communal tool shed for neighborhoods
“What if there was a communal shed in the neighbourhood that was fully loaded and you just had to use your phone to unlock and sign out what you needed?” asks Mike Parkhill, who posted this idea. Users would pay a monthly or annual fee to access it, and therefore wouldn’t need to buy and maintain their own tools.
2. A customer-friendly waste disposal company
If you want your trash picked up, you’re currently playing by someone else’s rules: The company tells you when and what they’ll pick up. But what if it wasn’t that way? “This is ripe for disruption, by focusing on customer support,” writes Kevin Moran, who posted the idea. “Allowing flexible (and scheduled!) pickup times. Different bins for different needs (maybe even taking them away and washing them?) Accepting one-off items through an app, with clearly listed prices.”
3. A better QR code experience for restaurants
The QR code has replaced menus at many restaurants, but it’s not nearly as useful as it could be. “A QRCode on a restaurant table that opens the menu is not really what we want,” writes Tobi Lutke, who proposed this one. “A QRCode can be unique to the table and allow food ordering directly to it. Should carry state and context.”
4. AMA Platform for Athletes
People want advice and insights from their favorite athletes — and now that college athletes are legally able to earn money off their names and likenesses, NCAA athletes will be looking for any way to monetize. An AMA platform could make fans and athletes happy by being a place “where fans ask athletes questions ranging from funny personal ones to what they eat in a given day, what type of athletic apparel they prefer, how they train, and more,” writes Elaine Zelby, who posted this idea.
5. “Shadow A CEO” Courses and Programs
“Follow a CEO for a day and take detailed notes: How do they email? How do they manage their calendar? How do they make decisions?” writes Trevor McKendrick, chief of staff at Lambda School, who posted this idea. “People will be shocked how quickly CEOs move on BIG issues and decisions. Do it for 10 CEOs and package that into a program. Having access to those details would be huge.”
6. Live Video Sales Reps for Shopify
“Every ecom store wants to sell more,” writes Shaan Puri, senior director at Twitch, who posted this idea. “Let’s say you have an avg profit of ~$20 per sale. What if you could have a person on live video demo’ing products all day to help convert more sales? The video salesperson will only cost ~$10-15/hour, and so even a single extra sale per hour would cover their costs. I’m thinking a tiny widget in the corner of the screen (like how ‘live chat help’ works today, but with video so you can demo products instead).”
7. LinkedIn for Teachers
“Why does it feel like Education is the only industry that isn’t digitally connected on a personal/professional level?” asks Greg McLaughlin, who proposed this idea. “And why aren’t top teachers widely recruited for?” This new network would solve that problem, giving teachers a place to build their online professional profile, and giving schools a new tool to recruit talent.
8. Classpass for Conferences
Why pay for lots of conferences individually, when you could buy an annual membership that gives you access to a wide range of conferences around the country or world? That’s the idea here. “Conference organizers would like this as a way to presell tickets,” writes Rob Stretch, who proposed this one. “The difficulty would be in figuring out the math of how many people are actually likely to attend each one.”
9. A Tinder-Style App for Content Creators and Guests
“Looking for interesting/valuable guests? Solved,” writes Frances Odera Matthews, who posted this idea. People looking to be guests could create profiles, then content creators — such as podcasters, YouTubers, newsletter writers, and others — could use this app to find people to interview and profile. If both sides swipe right, they’re connected.
10. A Marketplace for Wedding Speeches
“People search ‘best man speech template’ each month with no one able to help give the exact support they need,” writes the people behind the podcast My First Million, which posted this idea. This marketplace could help anyone who needs to give a speech, by connecting them with people who are great at writing one. Then the marketplace could expand out into other avenues like keynotes and business presentations
Jason Feifer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine, and author of the forthcoming book Build For Tomorrow about how people can become more adaptable in their careers and life. He is also the host of two podcasts: Build For Tomorrow (yes, same name as the book), which is a show that debunks people's fears of change; and Problem Solvers, about entrepreneurs solving unexpected problems in their business. He writes a newsletter about how to find opportunity in change.
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