October 28, 2011
I’d like to see a business that is a combination golf driving range and car wash. Just park the car, hit a bucket of balls, and your car is clean when you’re done. It’s the ideal combo, and each service would be optional and separate. A driving range and a car wash take about the same amount of time, they both require good weather, they can both be weekly or bi-weekly activities, and the combination turns two generic services into one special one. (Yes, I did steal this idea from the Laundromat/bar concept.)
I’d also like to see a better evite system that allows people to move from conditional plans into something concrete. For example, I might want to go to dinner and a movie with friends IF I like the movie, and IF the timing is right, and IF they pick a good restaurant. My guess is that many people don’t bother making plans with friends because it’s too hard to negotiate all the preferences. No one enjoys putting out invitations and getting no takers. It’s hard to be the organizer.
I’d like the future evite system to start by figuring out who is around and who is up for what sorts of activities. Over time, the system would figure out the sorts of things you like and make suggestions to your circle of friends. Or perhaps you would keep a running profile of the new movies you’d like to see, the concerts you’d enjoy, and the restaurants you want to experience. The evite system would combine everyone’s general preferences into one or more specific plans for which you can opt in or out. And all along the process that might develop over the course of a week, each participant can “nudge” the plan in the direction he or she wants. The system might even negotiate potluck menus and help pick a home for get-togethers.
I’d also like someone to invent a better calendar interface. The current ones are way too much fussy clicking. I get annoyed every time I enter something on Google calendar or Outlook. I feel like a data entry clerk. Can’t that be easier?
Yeah, I know, Siri has a voice solution. I haven’t tried it, but my experience with Google voice search on my phone tells me that in the real world there is no such thing as a quiet enough environment. And if it is quiet, there’s a reason, such as the fact someone is working in the cubicle nearby or trying to read at the airport. As things stand, Siri is more of a douche bag identification system than a scheduling tool.
Google has a nice option for letting you do a quick entry just by typing the details in any way you like and letting the system figure out what you meant. That’s about halfway to where I’d like the interface to be.
I also think my to-do list and my calendar need to be better married. If you’re like me, you want to keep your “thinking” tasks separate from your “doing” tasks. In other words, you might want to do all of your writing and designing in one block of time, and then your phone calls and scheduling during another. So maybe your to-list needs to make that distinction, plus others, such as how long a task takes and when it needs to be completed. And all of that needs to happen without a fussy calendar interface.
I just needed to get those ideas out of my head to make room for more. (That’s literally true. I need to clean my mental attic every now and then.) If you’d like to do the same, let’s hear your business ideas in the comments.