Monday, December 01, 2014

Ideas as attention engines

Coming up with ideas is fun, as I love ideas. I also like tossing an idea out here on the web. The potential then is that you can draw a good bit of attention, so I like to say: ideas can be attention engines.

But to me that opinion calls for a demonstration.

And one of my more recent ideas is SO simple and basic it seems like it would be fun to give myself permission to just run wild with speculations. So I gave away a completely free and open source idea which is to use shared images to help in validating guests, for some kind of event like a party. At its simplest, it's just that: someone shows up at the door brings out their smartphone, opens the app, and taps the screen and it shows the correct image, validating them. It is in essence an image invitation, or an image ticket.

I don't know if there are any apps out there doing that and I came up with it just idly thinking about wedding crashers and ways to make that harder. It's so basic I don't take it too seriously and with no intentions of developing it myself, it gives me what I like to call a throwaway idea where I can just have fun. And no, would not care if somehow this is a valuable business idea and someone made a billion dollars with it, and gave me none, as they would owe me none. That gives me complete freedom to run wild with some speculative analysis. Play at a business case.

Which is the point of this post. So point of disclaimers is: free and open source idea, I consider it a give-away, it's so basic I don't think it should be charged for anyway, and now I'm going to play with speculations.

Ok, so with images you have automatically out of the box that this approach has international potential. It's a very basic approach, so limited explanation, and the transaction value is highly specific which I like. So yes, anyone can share images to potential guests but an app can block that sharing so only people you list get the image, allow a professional feel, and monitor as guests arrive so you have a constantly updated list of guests onsite. And that's just what comes to me just kind of freethinking it.

With a potential customer, who has friends willing to have the app on their smartphones, a purchase decision, where let's say $1 US for an event of one hundred or fewer guests just to throw out numbers, would involve convenience, security, and trust. The value of the transaction is in giving a convenient tool that allows guests to have a "ticket" to the event with minimum fuss or hastle.

Pricing is about value to the customer. So, for instance at 500 guests you could have a higher price point not necessarily because the app would work that much harder, but because of the accepted benefit for the customer, so it's pricing on security, professionalism, ease of use and benefit to guests and host.

And pricing would vary by so many ways as it's about the value to the host! So shifting to Tokyo which is another premium level international city, price points could vary based on how valuable people in the city see this type of security for an event.

At the transaction level it would be a lot about what value a host sees in the service and pricing at that value which could be much higher than costs. But it's like singing, how much really is it for that person to belt out a song? But how much does the value shift? Quite a lot depending on who is singing and what, and where.

Oh yeah, images as I brainstorm here, could be very high profile at higher price points, like even designers or artists? Willing to allow use of their images for the promotional value? That could be a prestige point as well for an event.

At the highest level price points, you could link to even more security services, or a security firm might have such an app as part of its service, allowing it to control access to the event, and easily check guests. They just bring out their smartphone and you have an image to consider.

Visual images communicate well, and cross language barriers.

For instance here's one of my favorite photos of San Francisco.

It would also not hamper the visually impaired as though they might not see the image themselves, the point is for others checking the guests, so they could still use the app. App could have features designed to ease their use of it, like auditory aids.

It would be harder to bluff your way into an event, if it was clear that you should have the required app on your smartphone though someone might say they lost it, but then they'd be shifted over to a higher level of scrutiny to validate, and wouldn't make it past the first person at the door, who wouldn't have to think at all, just check an image.

In terms of potential market I think automatically of New York City as a premiere top level city, and the potential market is every event in the city during some particular time. And price points can vary based on host easily. At the bottom level price point you could have a basic image and the app priced to move, like at the $1 per event level mentioned. At higher levels you might have $10 per event for added security. And at premium levels you could use your imagination, including high level art images, and linkage with onsite physical security or even concierge services.

Fun exercise so far. These are the kinds of things I do. Sit around and muse about all kinds of things, and what I like is just putting something out there with an actual idea because it is fun to speculate with something that could actually be done by someone. I'm kind of wondering if something like this thing is already out there, and if not, why not?

Images are cool. They travel well. Using shared images as a security feature is easily explained. Hardest thing might be getting everyone to download an app to their smartphones, but that app would be free, and people have all kinds of apps now.

Gonna toss these speculations up, and maybe fiddle with this thing on an ongoing basis. I like posting things and editing which is a process that can take days or weeks or even longer--as I write it, so I can change it.

Will give me time to consider if I covered everything that I wish to ponder. Oh yeah, so the fun to me with this idea is that it IS given away so I can just run wild with speculations. I think the concept of using shared images is so basic that it would seem silly to patent something or whatever but that's just my personal feeling where others do not have to agree.

To me it's like a great basic potential community tool that can help facilitate greater community: just giving to the world this possible path to helping secure events, like say, weddings from things like wedding crashers.

And it's fun to put out some of my process. For me there's this giddy excitement in doing this kind of thing. Where I'm someone who just enjoys playing around with ideas--and throwing them out there. It can be a very messy process too! So if all the above just sounds wacky, I don't care. I'm having fun.

So how much attention can an idea like this draw? Well it can go wherever the web goes.

I try to monitor ideas as best I can, and one way is with search!

To see what results with your own search with this one you might try: guest validate app

Or: guest validate idea

James Harris
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