Dreaming the Next Big Thing

Sometimes a dream is just a dream but to make it a reality takes a lot of work. Things worth doing are always difficult. There are many things that can prevent you from making it easy. It could be the technology that is limiting you. If you tried to introduce online movie streaming like Netflix in the early 90s it would not work because the broadband technology for homes were not up to speed as it is now, most homes would probably be running on dial up modems at that time.

When I was in university I had two ideas that would be amazing for myself

  1. Google maps for indoor
  2. Ability to talk to my iPod

Google maps for indoor

The idea was simple, create a guide similar to Street View but for internal buildings. This would be useful for shopping centres, museums or new students to a school trying to find a classroom. My friend and I thought about it and tried to figure out how this would be done. By getting a floor plan of a building you could create checkpoints to orientate where you are and then show videos of how it may look to go in a certain direction. See the video below for an idea of what the video would look like.

This solution was never implemented because we didn’t know how to locate people indoors and at that time smartphones were not big so we couldn’t imagine people carrying laptops around to find their location. Google now has implemented my idea I had many years ago. They call it Indoor Maps. It is a great implementation of this concept.

Ability to talk to my iPod

It was 2006/2007, the iPhone wasn’t announced yet and we all had iPods. For my final year project, my friends and I decided that it would be interesting if you could speak to your iPod. Change songs, pick a playlist and stop songs all without using your hands. It would be great because you can say commands and not worry about interacting with your hands which may be busy carrying bags from the grocery store.

As you can see we implemented the solution by using a hardware solution. We envisioned the final version to be smaller and have all of the processing handled in the extra peripheral. When I heard of Apple’s implementation of this concept via Voice Control, I shook my head in disappointment. Why was I disappointed? Because I ignored my friend’s suggestion in the past to try to take the idea to market. At the time all I was focused on was graduating and getting a job. When Apple unleashed  Siri that showed me where this simple idea could be expanded to.

How do you find the next big idea?

As the guys from Startups for the Rest of Us say by the time something is written about in Inc magazine or Fast Company , it’s too late, right?  You can take one of these ideas and modify them a bit and these types of ideas are called derivative startups. However these are not game changers, it doesn’t make sense to spend all of your time working on something that already exists.  One way I think we can find the next big idea is to look around you. What bothers you currently? What could you improve in your daily life? What could be done to improve the lives of your friends and family? Build a solution that will help you and there may be some other people out there who may benefit from the solution as well. Therefore I daydream and ponder often and run ideas by my girlfriend, friends and colleagues. All of my ideas are written down. Whenever you have an idea for a startup, write it down. For one of these crazy ideas I have may be the next big idea. The harder part is making the idea a real thing.

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