Business startup ideas: the short-list.

They say the best ideas are simple... ©

During the last 6 months of 2008, as I was working through the MBA application process, in my spare time I started scribbling down ideas which could be seeds from which I could draft business plans later. I ultimately came up with five ideas. All five were related to media, perhaps because I have always been interested in media.

The essence of those ideas follows. Can you guess which ones survived into 2009? I'll post the answer in a future post.
  1. Digital TV Production: Many TV broadcasters, particularly smaller ones, still use physical tapes to record content - tapes that are passed from one department to another. If digital technology was used instead, content could be made easy to search through, store, manipulate and transfer. The opportunity in this idea is selling digital technology to broadcasters stuck in the analogue age.
  2. Emails and Relationship Management: You want to be in regular personal touch with 300 people, but hand-cranking an email to each person requires immense effort. What I need is a mail-merge for email. Not just a mail-merge, but something that tracks previous correspondence and makes it really easy for each relationship interaction to be unique.
  3. Open Source Film Making: Amateur videos on YouTube will never be able to compete with professional videos so long as one person – the person creating the YouTube video – is relied upon to possess all the skills necessary to a create video. We need a way to bring together people with specialist skills to work together to create the video. Something like BaseCamp, but for film-making; something to take video production from concept development/commissioning through scripting, casting, production (filming), post-production and eventual distribution.
  4. Product Placement: Video-on-demand is growing, not only through Tivo boxes, but through internet services such as Hulu. People don't want to watch adverts when using such services - with Tivo, you can skip straight through them. How might television advertising work in such an environment? One possibility is product placement - such as the American Idol idols drinking Coca Cola. This has largely been a niche area, but has potential for huge growth.
  5. A new model for news: It does not look like newspapers will survive in their current form. What kind of other things will replace them? Perhaps community blogs where people like you and me contribute? Or will it be philanthropy funded news, such as that from ProPublica? There is massive opportunity in this space.
Remember folks, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions. More on that thought, here.