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Product/Service Ideas


DCG
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Thought this might be interesting, and maybe even spur some possible business ideas.

 

 

What products or services do you wish were available, but haven't been able to find?

 

 

What products or services do you use frequently, but aren't overly happy with?

 

 

What problems do you have that you haven't found a good solution for?

 

 

- This is for any areas of your life - not specifically investing.

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A service that consolidates all your recurring bills into a single payment, they tell you what you owe and you write a single check for it. Maybe they take a percent or two for convenience on top of that too.

 

 

This is a nice idea and one that used to exist.  My roommate in college used an early online service to do this before many companies had their own online / automatic bill pay stuff set up.  I can't remember the name of the service.  I believe he used it for years, then the company finally went out of business.  There may still be a service like it out there, but I think the business model became tougher when virtually every service provider provided their own free online / automatic bill pay systems.

 

It saved my roommate's credit though - without that service (back then you had to have all your paper bills mailed to their address for it to work) he could NEVER pay a bill on time and he was constantly getting calls from creditors, etc...  Our landlord would take a check from me for my half of the rent but my roommate had to hand it to her in cash each month because he was so bad with money management.  Luckily for him he is wealthy now, he wouldn't have fared well otherwise...

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A service that consolidates all your recurring bills into a single payment, they tell you what you owe and you write a single check for it. Maybe they take a percent or two for convenience on top of that too.

 

How is that better than automatic bill payment services that are available?

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1. I'd like to have a charity branded credit card that automatically donates my cashback to the charity. That way you can one-up the person with the black card or platinum card. Sure they're rich, but they aren't really cool if they aren't flashing an Oxfam, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, etc card.

 

2. A subscription service that automatically purchases new music from your favorite musicians and loads them onto your devices (computer - phone - car). It could also include members-only items like t-shirts and label mixtapes, and notifications / discounts on upcoming concerts.

 

3. A clothes buying subscription service. You specify your size and preferences and they send you $50 or $100 of clothes a month. There are a couple of these already that look very expensive, I haven't tried them yet.

 

4. A web based service that allows individual investors to keep track of investments, including a lot of highly customizable templates like industry comparisons, cutsheets, financial models, charts, links to relevant articles, etc. I keep a watchlist in Excel, and I have a portfolio on the Motley Fool, but I would like to find a service that does this more effectively.

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1. I'd like to have a charity branded credit card that automatically donates my cashback to the charity. That way you can one-up the person with the black card or platinum card. Sure they're rich, but they aren't really cool if they aren't flashing an Oxfam, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, etc card.

 

Was/is available. I've had WWF credit card (World Wildlife Fund - what did you guys think? ;) ).

 

4. A web based service that allows individual investors to keep track of investments, including a lot of highly customizable templates like industry comparisons, cutsheets, financial models, charts, links to relevant articles, etc. I keep a watchlist in Excel, and I have a portfolio on the Motley Fool, but I would like to find a service that does this more effectively.

 

Very tough to make this so it does exactly the right things for people. What works for you, won't work for me, etc. :)

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A service that consolidates all your recurring bills into a single payment, they tell you what you owe and you write a single check for it. Maybe they take a percent or two for convenience on top of that too.

 

How is that better than automatic bill payment services that are available?

 

Not too different except it's all in one place as a single payment. From a personal finance perspective I think a lot of people would benefit from a single bill that itemizes their recurring expenses, perhaps with % breakdowns by category. Thinking about it a little more, charging a convenience fee is probably the wrong way to make money. The service could simply pay people's bill's for perhaps a small flat fee, say $5 - $10 a month and then if the subscriber is unable to make a timely payment, charge them interest. So if you would otherwise miss payment on the light bill or water bill, they'll pay it that month but you have to pay it back with interest.

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I need food container boxes that can hold a spoon inside. I usually cook for 2-3 days. When I take the food from the refridgerator each time, I do not want to use a fresh spoon. If I keep a spoon inside the container, sometimes the whole spoon handle gets in contact with the food, and I end up using a new spoon..

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I want an app that can take what I already like, for instance TV shows and books, and suggest new things for me that I will actually like.

 

I've seen a few services try this but never been impressed.

 

 

Amazon is pretty damn good at this. Maybe not for TV shows yet, but I assume they'd get there for fireStick users.

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I want an app that can take what I already like, for instance TV shows and books, and suggest new things for me that I will actually like.

 

I've seen a few services try this but never been impressed.

 

Amazon is pretty damn good at this. Maybe not for TV shows yet, but I assume they'd get there for fireStick users.

 

I agree with SpecOps: none of the recommendation services are good.

 

Amazon is not good either: they push the stuff that is already in my wish list; they push the stuff that I recently bought: no, I don't need another GPS unit if I just bought one, I don't need another travel guide to Spain if I just bought one. Even with books they sometimes veer onto really weird directions. No, I am not interested in technical analysis or stock options, did I ever buy a book on this? :) With music - I don't think I got a single recommendation that I either did not know/own before or was any good.

 

Overall though, this is a very hard problem even though there are tons of recommender systems and research on them. The fact that I like Matrix movie does not mean that I will like Matrix sequels that are horrible. The fact that I like "Paul" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1092026/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 ) does not mean I will like "Hot Fuzz" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0425112/?ref_=nv_sr_1 ). Ratings of other people (even friends) are not a reliable indicator of your preferences. You might agree with someone on 10 movies, but violently disagree on the 11th. Sure, statistical machine learning approaches work somewhat, but not greatly. You pretty much need a full-AI psychologist entity to analyze users' worldview/thoughts/feelings/etc. to figure out what they like and why. ;)

 

This seems like an easier problem than, for example, driverless cars, but in reality it is likely harder. :)

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I want an app that can take what I already like, for instance TV shows and books, and suggest new things for me that I will actually like.

 

I've seen a few services try this but never been impressed.

 

Amazon is pretty damn good at this. Maybe not for TV shows yet, but I assume they'd get there for fireStick users.

 

I agree with SpecOps: none of the recommendation services are good.

 

Amazon is not good either: they push the stuff that is already in my wish list; they push the stuff that I recently bought: no, I don't need another GPS unit if I just bought one, I don't need another travel guide to Spain if I just bought one. Even with books they sometimes veer onto really weird directions. No, I am not interested in technical analysis or stock options, did I ever buy a book on this? :) With music - I don't think I got a single recommendation that I either did not know/own before or was any good.

 

Overall though, this is a very hard problem even though there are tons of recommender systems and research on them. The fact that I like Matrix movie does not mean that I will like Matrix sequels that are horrible. The fact that I like "Paul" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1092026/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 ) does not mean I will like "Hot Fuzz" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0425112/?ref_=nv_sr_1 ). Ratings of other people (even friends) are not a reliable indicator of your preferences. You might agree with someone on 10 movies, but violently disagree on the 11th. Sure, statistical machine learning approaches work somewhat, but not greatly. You pretty much need a full-AI psychologist entity to analyze users' worldview/thoughts/feelings/etc. to figure out what they like and why. ;)

 

This seems like an easier problem than, for example, driverless cars, but in reality it is likely harder. :)

 

I agree this is a much harder problem.  I've been using Amazon multiple times per week for at least 10 years now, and less often for years before that and in all that time I don't think I have ever purchased something I found as a recommendation.  I go there looking for something and I search until I find it.    A good recommendation system would recommend things I wanted before I even knew I wanted them, I've never experienced that.  The only recommendation system I've been somewhat happy with is Netflix, but that is an easier problem, because they already know the general category (you are looking to watch a TV show or movie) and they have many years worth of data on what you've already watched.  When I go to Amazon.com they have no idea what I am going to search for.  They don't know that my meat thermometer just broke and I am now interested in one of those even though I've never bought one from Amazon before.  It is an impossible problem to solve.  Maybe they should use the Amazon Echo to listen in to the conversations going on in peoples home so that they know when someone mentions that they need a certain item...

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With Netflix, we don't rate movies, so I have not experienced its recommendation capabilities fully. I take scattershot approach anyway: I add something to the list/queue, Netflix throws out 10 more recommendations, I read abstracts and put in 1-2 into queue, Netflix throws out another 10 and repeat until I get bored. After that we have 500 movies in queue/list and we pick something from there when we want to watch TV... :)

 

Edit: BTW, a friend has Echo and it's not impressive right now. Might become better as they upgrade their software.

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With Netflix, we don't rate movies, so I have not experienced its recommendation capabilities fully. I take scattershot approach anyway: I add something to the list/queue, Netflix throws out 10 more recommendations, I read abstracts and put in 1-2 into queue, Netflix throws out another 10 and repeat until I get bored. After that we have 500 movies in queue/list and we pick something from there when we want to watch TV... :)

 

Edit: BTW, a friend has Echo and it's not impressive right now. Might become better as they upgrade their software.

 

 

Amazon is just not good at designing their own products/hardware. Even the Kindle, which is their only technical product that's been real successful, isn't a great product. It's value comes from Amazon's vast eBook library. The operating system is still pretty bad.

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With Netflix, we don't rate movies, so I have not experienced its recommendation capabilities fully. I take scattershot approach anyway: I add something to the list/queue, Netflix throws out 10 more recommendations, I read abstracts and put in 1-2 into queue, Netflix throws out another 10 and repeat until I get bored. After that we have 500 movies in queue/list and we pick something from there when we want to watch TV... :)

 

Edit: BTW, a friend has Echo and it's not impressive right now. Might become better as they upgrade their software.

 

 

Amazon is just not good at designing their own products/hardware. Even the Kindle, which is their only technical product that's been real successful, isn't a great product. It's value comes from Amazon's vast eBook library. The operating system is still pretty bad.

 

 

 

The Kindle HD is also terrible.  My wife had one and got so frustrated with it that she just started using my iPad all of the time, so I had to buy her an iPad too.  Amazon should stick to letting other companies handle the hardware and focus on delivering books/ebooks and other products.  But as far as e-ink readers go there is no really good product on the market.  I've owned a Nook and the Kobo Aura-HD, and the operating systems on both of those are difficult to navigate and library management is an impossible task if you have more than 10-20 books on it (I have over a thousand).  I haven't tried the Kindle because a) I've heard that it is no better than the others, and b) most of my books are in epub format and I don't wish to spend the time it would take to convert them all to mobi.

 

So back to the topic of this thread:  My product wish is an excellent e-reader with an 7-8 inch e-ink screen (300+ DPI, capacitive multi-touch) , built in lighting like the newest Kindle and Kobo's have, an easy to use OS, easy library management of thousands of books, good wi-fi and web browser, supports all common formats (mobi,epub,PDF, doc, etc), handles PDF files well (none the ereaders I've tried do a good job with PDF files), has expandable memory or at least 32GB built in, light weight, thin, waterproof, a fast processor (for snappy web-browsing, quick page turns, fast app opening, etc), and under $400.

 

I'd buy it in about a second.

 

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