in Projects, Programming, Technology

Pre-startup weekend idea list

Startup Weekend is rad. I skipped the first 10 or so of them we had in Seattle because I stupidly thought I was too cool for it. “Every weekend is a startup weekend for me,” I’d say. I finally went to my first one back in November, and recruited a killer team of 3 people (Jason Strutz, Hisun Kim, and Darrell Garbe) to work on SeeSaw (a mobile social app similar to Hashable).

It was an adrenaline rush to work in a competitive environment with great people. I now always recommend Startup Weekend to people looking for programmers or designers. Personally, I enjoyed having the chance to pitch an idea, get people’s responses, and do a basic implementation to get the idea out of my brain.

In preparation for the next event, as a follow up to my post on evaluating ideas, here are some of the ideas I’ve noodled-up the last 6 months or so. When evaluating these, I’m trying to place an emphasis on customer pain, clear business model, and the execution of the idea.

The spreadsheet ranks ideas based on the prospective market, virality, retention, monetization, and level of effort. I have a proclivity for social apps because they are more viral (and I just love them).

I’m eager for your feedback. Please leave a comment if one of these ideas catches your eye. Especially leave a comment if you think an idea is dumb (to save me time working on it).

Use this link to open full spreadsheet.

You should always share your ideas, by the way. In this day and age, if you find yourself saying “we’re in stealth mode,” or worse – just keeping an idea to yourself, you’re stupid. Remember, it’s the execution that matters anyway.

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  1. Great list, great rubrik. Should iron out those pesky Saturday night pivots.

    I’d like to hear more about “dodgydrafts”, “mobile push button activity tracker” and “EarlyBirds”. Maybe do a few blog posts between now and Startup Weekend to flesh out some details?

    And how can you not like the Matchbox car platform. I don’t know how hard it would be to pull off (legal, etc), but fun is fun.

    From my last SW, it appears you get what you put into it. So if you’re aiming for business I’d stick with your top in the Monetize category. But if you’re not looking for a long term commitment, I like the simplicity of something like EarlyBirds. It’s something that is totally doable in a weekend, you can polish the hell out of it later and hopefully it scratches your own itch so you don’t get bored of it later.

  2. Love the “share your ideas” ethos – it’s exactly the right thing for SW. That you’ve already got a spreadsheet up well ahead of time is even better. Before the most recent SW at Madrona, many of the other entrants and I were practicing our pitches on each other before the kickoff session – a great way to gauge general interest. This allows me to say “I was there when” was just a gleam in Joe Sunga’s eye, before the inevitable fame and fortune followed. 🙂

    There are no original ideas (for all intents/purposes), so quickly get over the preciousness of your concept and get down to building it in the ~54 hours you’re given.

  3. Nice list, and I agree about sharing ideas.

    A “mobile push button activity tracker” has been on my mind as well. I’ve got a few cute execution ideas for such an app (easier just to tell you in person).

    For the auto-profile-builder, it seems like connecting your profile with Facebook Connect or Twitter are likely to solve the 80% of that problem, since connecting those profiles gets you a small head start. What would this service add?

    EarlyBirds sounds like something I would play with. I’m curious to hear the premise.

  4. I’m also intrigued by the “mobile push button activity tracker”. You could use it not just for running multiple activity timers simultaneously but you could also map the buttons to other functions (e.g. send an SMS, check-in on 4sq, query OneBusAway, etc.)

  5. I’m really interested in the 2 ideas revolving around video, especially the online video interviews. Have you heard of It’s run by Andrew Warner and he literally just does online interviews with entrepreneurs. I know he’s been encouraging people to do online interviews in things they love — and I’ve been wanting to do something with interviewing people in the MMA business (i.e. reporters, writers, photographer, fighters, promoters, etc.)

    What were you thinking in regards to a “online interview workflow”? It would be nice to have a flow that will help generate these interviews (i.e. prep questions, actually creating the video, and then post promotion). Just my $.02. 🙂

    • Joeseph – yes, that’s exactly what I’m going for. I love mixergy. Last year, I did a bunch of interviews for Twibes, and it was tedios to edit, upload, and transcribe them. I’ll investigate a technical way to record a video conversation.

  6. That would be great if video conversation can be recorded technically, then no need to worry about writing on what he/she said,how he/she reacts, we can always replay the recorded videos. Share it to us please when you have it. Thanks.

  7. I vote for the game that teaches newbies how to tweet. That sounds like it could be helpful for millions of people. My other favorite is the social alarm clock. I’d use EarlyBirds. (Can I start using it tomorrow? 🙂

    Perfect ending to the article. Share your ideas. Well-said.