3.30.2009

Free ideas; yours for the taking (part 1... probably)

Clearance time in Joe's Head! I'm dumping off a bunch of ideas I've had over the years that I know for a fact I'll never do. There's no reason why they shouldn't be done though, so if you find something here you want to use or do, have a blast. This is probably just part 1, because I have two and a half notebooks full of these from 32 years of thinking way too much.


Social Experimentation:

  • Create a fake band over a period of a year called The Verbs, complete with a few singles, myspace page, the works. Create a few press releases over six - twelve months talking about how the band is breaking out and really getting attention in your local market. Make up a record label that they are signed to. Invent appearances on local television and small concerts / festivals. Then, after a real plane crash somewhere in the country, immediately release a statement saying that "all four members of the up and coming band, The Verbs, were aboard the flight." See how many people come forward claiming to be fans and "liked them before they were popular."
  • Call into Bill O'Reilly's show (or Lovelines or anyone else) and see if you can get him to say the words "Captain Nemo's Staircase" (or any other ridiculous string of non-sequiturs). Claim you're a middle school teacher, and you've heard about it in the hallways and ask if he knows what it is. Mention that it's what 12 year old kids are doing to each other. Give it a few days, and check Urban Dictionary to see how many definitions spring up for your totally made up term. Be sure to blog the entire sequence of events before you make your call, so you have proof you did this as a social experiment.
  • At any concert, you and as many cohorts as you can start chanting "Gloria" to see if you can get the band to start playing it. Take note of which version of it they play.



Web / software projects:
  • OpenEdit (or MeTube or something): Have users send me three minute video clips of anything (preferably themselves), and I edit them into an actual story with an actual plot. The only thing I can add to the final product of my own is voiceover / narration. I may still do this one day, but it's a fine idea and someone should take it and run with it
  • Chapter Project - this was actually a precursor to the Mentally Incontinent project, but I never did anything with it. I write the first chapter of a story. Users read it, then submit their entry for chapter two. Readers then read all the chapter 2 submissions, and vote on the one to become chapter two. We continue on until the story concludes. I would supply characters ideas, settings, and whatnot before the project starts (or, users can vote on what they want to start with). Still a great idea just... I'm never going to do it.
  • 25cameras.com (or around the world in 35mm) - I tried this back in 2003, it failed with flying colors because basically I did it wrong. Send disposable cameras around the world (or leave them in conveinent places). Attach full instructions to each camera explaining that the user is to take one pic, then pass it along to a friend or loved one, or leave it in a conspicuous place. The last person mails the camera back to home base. The photos are posted online, and eventually a book can be made showing the routes the cameras took. The major trick here is that you can't just leave people to their own timeline or devices, or they'll just get lazy and it'll never go. You have to have prompts and backup plans in place. There's probably a way to do this with "instant use" digital cameras that allow the user to instantly send you the pic they took, while being able to pass along the actual "torch" that is the camera. If you decide you want to do this, hit me up and i'll spill my guts about all the ways it won't work. I'll also sell / give you the domain name.
  • Hmstrdns 2.0: remake the hamster dance site using all ajax, gradients, rounded corners and cel-shaded hamster images taken from photos of real hamsters.
  • An iphone app that uses the camera with a reticle overlaced, so you can choose a weapon and then blow up anyone or anything on the screen. Call it the Revengenator or something. I want royalties on this one when it reaches #1. This might even exist, i don't own an iphone so i have no idea if it does.
  • an iphone app that will randomly choose a tune from your music library as your ringtone. You have to guess the artist / album / song title in order to answer the call. It'd be a fun game, and once your friends knew you were doing it, they'd know every time they went to voicemail, you suck at music trivia (even better, you can send them to voicemail and claim "well, it was the DiVinyls, and I totally spaced on the name of the song..." or something, without taking heat for dropping them to VM).

Band Names:

  • Unnecessary Apostrophe's
  • Das ist nicht Germane
  • Lefty and the Right-Hand Man Band
  • Groucho Marxist
  • MC Bel Biv DaVanilla Ice Cube (for a throwback rap act)
  • Rapscallions
  • Three Forks and a Spoon
  • DiAmanda Gracias
  • Overstood

Ideas too big to just try, you have to commit to these:

  • A LAN / Game center that is essentially a geek mecca. Weekend showings of geeky sci-fi movies. Instant access to xbox, ps3 and PC games. Snack foods (microwavable stuff) served at your kiosk as you play, by pretty girls who are actual geeks. Comic book store up front. Rooms reserved for tabletop gaming. Charge a monthly fee as a club so that revenues are not generated by any one item to get around pay-for-play licsensing on that sort of thing. Franchise it out, and begin clans for each LAN center for weekly / monthly tournaments against each location. Winning team from the location gets a month of free dues (I was actually 30 days away from launching one of these myself in 2001, and then... Well, 2001 happened and everything fell apart).
  • A "teaching development house" where young / new programmers can come intern on projects ranging from small websites to video games to full blown applications, while they attend classes for training in their chosen field. The development house takes on projects from companies needing websites, or begins selling shareware / payware video games developed by the interns. In return, interns get paid a base hourly rate commiserate with their skill level, plus percentages of sales on the projects they work on. In the case of web development, the interns build website / flash templates as part of their training, and are paid points on sales of their individual templates. The interns could be promoted into lead and management roles as they show progress, or are free to leave to work anywhere else they wish.