Concept: Idea Platform

The Problem

So many people walk around wanting to start something interesting, but don’t regularly encounter big opportunities in their everyday lives. Other people deeply need solutions to the frustrating issues that surround them. This relates back to the Trap of Small Thinking. A teacher at a school typically doesn’t have expertise to successfully pull off a web app for her kids, even though she might see an opportunity in the market.

The Solution

Imagine an online platform where people could submit ideas specific to the industry in which they work. It’d be similar to GitTip, a “simple platform.”

A teacher, coach, pastor, could submit an idea, and recruit likeminded people to “sign up to be alpha testers”. The trick? This “product” doesn’t exist.

On that platform, an entrepreneur can see the idea and already have a small audience to learn about the problem. This kind of resource could be extremely useful for seed-funding pitches. If he/she can show a potential seed investor that they have 25-75 alpha testers without having touched the product, it’s going to be easier to secure initial funding.

It’d be a community of people who love startups connecting with people who need expertise.

How this makes money

The platform would have a much easier time gaining viral traction with entrepreneurs if it was arranged as a nonprofit.

  • I considered asking for a percentage of the companies, but that feels like a resource-drag, particularly considering the time and diligence required to make those deals happen.
  • One interesting way to build revenue would be charging entrepreneurs who purchase an idea (making it like Flippa for ideas).
  • Could be sponsored by a company with a vested interest in startup people…AppSumo?
  • Finally, this could probably be set up to be low-maintenance, so the site’s users would simply “tip” the platform, relying on courtesy.

As a side note, business plan competitions are popular right now, and corporate sponsors are eager to appear entrepreneurial. With traction, we could ink a deal with a pretty substantial corporate partner to run a competition. Think: “$7,500 for the entrepreneur with the best solution to ____ problem, sponsored by Exxon.”

What I like

  • The challenge to the platform isn’t technical, it’s simply convincing everyday, industrious people to post thoughtful business problems. (Could start as a blog about business problems. <– that’s ironic.)
  • This concept could facilitate “large thinking”, assuming people posted big problems.

What I don’t like

  • Platforms are difficult. You have to find product-market fit with two groups (entrepreneurs and everyday people), which is hard to do. Chicken and Egg problems make me sad.
  • Monetization strategy isn’t immediately obvious, particularly on small scale. Thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Concept: Idea Platform”

  1. Have you looked at some of the idea platforms out there? There are a half dozen or so that work pretty close to your proposal. One I participate in is firespotting. But here are quite a few others as well.

    I’d suggest you participate in those, get really involved with them, and only if you find they are significantly deficient in some way you think is important should you consider this.

    As for your monetization path, it’s not clear how you’d make the entrepreneur pay for the idea since the idea is public.

    Also, I have to say, after your think about big important ideas post this is not what I expected next. This is a little idea that could possibly help others find and solve big ideas. A bit of a disappointing side step.

  2. This is a great idea. While I’m sure that idea platforms exist already, it doesn’t appear that anyone has made a connection beyond the “techies” to reach people on a general level. The success of such a platform would depend on a strong marketing program that could engage the pastors, teachers, plumbers, etc…

    On the monetization front, a small percentage of company profits (ex 1%, capped at $X) combined with some sort of monthly access fee to the userbase would certainly be easy to sell to entrepreneurs. A requirement would be that the startups that are created through the program have to share financial data. Some of this data could be made public and the platform could use it to ease the recruitment of new entrepreneurs. Think, “Our Platform has helped create $XXX in profits for entrepreneurs. Join Today!”.

    This was a very diverting article and I’m glad that I stumbled across your blog. Keep writing!

    Cheers

    TW

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