Welcome to aaron chua make money blog

Hi, welcome to my blog. In this part of my world, I talked about how to achieve financial freedom by learning how to make money online through creating sites and earning from them.

Below are some current and past make money projects that details my learning journey.

My current experiment in making 50 amazon site niches. If you have not been following this challenge, best place to start is this resource page for the amazon challenge, that lists all the articles that I have written so far.

My experiment in making 1000 a month through adsense in 9 months.

If you came here looking for low cost startup ideas, here are 140 startup ideas that you can browse through.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Idea generation #36: Forums as platforms and the Petabute age

Forums as platforms: I think this is cool. Forums are natural community sites. If we can pair forums with a microplatform for branding remixing, like Zazzle or Make, the resulting explosion in consumer 2.0 products will be mind-blowing.

This is definitely something I will be writing more in a future post because I think this is something BIG!

Petabute Age: This is what I have been saying about date driven businesses. With increasing ease of getting data and processing them to derive insights into basically anything, all job functions will become more and more analytics driven.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Idea generation #35: Markets for credit default swaps, reforming teacher salary and hacking the 'child care worker' industry

Markets for credit default swaps: The coming of the age of markets. We will see more markets developed in many many areas, including my favourite: personal carbon trading.

Reforming the salary structure of teachers: About bloody time. Has some good ideas in there as well. For example, "something like Glassdoor.com for school". Worth a glance.

Hacking the child care worker industry: Totally fascinating. Is this what BubbleGen means by thinking of industries that have not existed before? More importantly, hacking the system to better align the effort and rewards for child care workers seems like something worthwhile to do. (Original article about low salaries for child care workers)

Startup Idea #68: Personal carbon trading

This is a follow up to my idea generation post on personal carbon trading.

Every time a new market develops, there are opportunities to create value in the new value chains. Every market needs research, rating agencies, trading platforms, derivatives exchanges and the actual exchange itself. With the development of the carbon trading market, we are going to see startups as well as incumbents moving into these space. Let's take a look at the current landscape for the trading value chain in this new market.

Research: I have not seen much development in this area. In Wallstreet, we are seeing companies like Minitor110, Majestic Research, Instant Information using technologies to comb and deliver relevant results to the market. Where is the equivalent for carbon trading?

Updated (3 July 2008): Found a Bloomberg equivalent for carbon markets: Ecosystem Marketplace. The development of the carbon trading sector is faster than I anticipated. Soon, we will begin to see web 2.0 trading services entering this market.

Rating agencies: The likes of moody is necessary to verify the carbon offsets. I am happy that there is at least one such player now (IDEAcarbon). That being said, rating agencies are not the ideal structure. We need open plays here. How can 2.0 transform the rating agencies such that not all power rest in a few big companies? Definitely room to innovate here.

Trading platforms: We are now only seeing experiments in how carbon trading can be brought down into the personal level (
CarbonDAQ - A national experiment in personal carbon trading goes live). If trading do become plausible, we will start to see trading platforms like Betfair coming to the carbon market.

Derivatives: How about a WeatherBill equivalent? An online tool for users to customise and create their own carbon insurance. Is it even possible?

PS: Great resource here on personal carbon trading.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Startup Idea #67: Predictive analysis on new data

The availability of cheap data is transforming job functions. A NYT article highlights how predictive analysis based on location data can assist companies determine the best retail location. This really struck my mind. Even the location manager is being affected by a data driven world!

As data becomes more abundant, I believe more and more jobs across different functions will be required to understand data, interpret their meanings and deploy them in decision making. If this is true, then companies such as Sense Networks, Path Intelligence
et al will be the new Googles of this data driven world.

Currently, we are witnessing such a change for marketing. Due to the data analytics approach brought in by the likes of Google and Rich Media, we are seeing a traditionally creative -driven function being transformed to one where superior data analysis can produce competitive edge. The data that resulted in this transformation is the ad clicks.

What about other data sources and how will these affect job functions? I think there are possibilities:
  • Data on virtual worlds: Virtual world data produces rich information on users' preference. A product designer can release multiple versions of a design into a virtual world for users to customise, hack, remix et al. The resulting information produced can enhance the designer's works. Anything from interior to fashion to industrial design can be transformed by such data.
  • Social data on blogs, social networks and forums: These are rich gold mines about people. HR for example can use these aggregated information to monitor the morale of their employees. To protect the employee's privacy, only aggregated data will be presented and charted to give HR real time analysis of the morale for the entire company.
  • Data on markets: These include markets from Ebay to job boards. Take HR again. Predictive analysis can be used on aggregated information, mined from job boards, to predict industry turnover trends. This can allow HR to forecast the turnover rate of the company in the coming months. Alternativey, one can also mine the ebay information on listings to collect trends in tastes. Such information can be used to make purchasing more efficient. Purchasers will be able to know the cycle of a trend (ending or beginning), the correlation between trends (black shoes with red belt? Just kidding!), the distribution of trends across locations et al.
  • and more....
So, the opportunities then are to offer business intelligence tools which offer new insights for DIFFERENT job functions that will greatly enhance their productivity. With the right data, powerful predictive algorithms and intuitive charting functions, I think there will be markets for a Sense Network in every job function.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Idea generation #34: Patient as a platform, solar as a service,

Patient as a Platform: I agree that we need tools beyond Google health to help us manage our health data, to be able to plug them into any applications that suits our needs.

Solar as a Service: Even alternate energy is going for the service model. What else can we apply this model to?

Kindle's missed opportunities: Connected devices are just for distribution. They bring new social experiences to the market. Reminds me of similar missed opportunities for digital photo frames.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Idea generation #33: AVC tired of 2.0? Happiness as business model and social change

Real 2.0: What a great comment on using 2.0 beyond fun and entertainment

Web 3.0, Fred, is about finding ways to take that shared information and come up with solutions to the world's problems. Using social graph data to detect trends. Finding mental illness before teens suicide.

Btw, you should read the whole post and its comments. It is a killer.

Happiness as a Business Model: Another key edge competency, IMHO.

SlideShare | View | Upload your own

Social Media for Social Change: A dated post but still relevant

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Startup Idea #12 (Part II): Branding 2.0

A very nice post breaking down branding 2.0 into 5 different components:

Communispace now has hundreds of private communities that its client companies are using to learn about their customers (.....). The other class of listening companies are the brand monitoring companies, and the track record here is great. Research giant Nielsen bought BuzzMetrics (...)

Talking. Talking with the Groundswell is tricky, but there are plenty of agencies ready to help you with it. After building dozens of campaigns and sites, Blast Radius was bought by mega-agency Wunderman. Brains on Fire ignited the spectacular success of Fiskateers (...)

Energizing. Ratings and reviews are the easiest way to energize customers to sell others, and the companies that provide them are taking off. On behalf of its clients, Bazaarvoice's clients have generated over 10 billion customer reviews has served over 10 billion reviews to consumers. PowerReviews works with over 200 retailers (...)

Supporting. Support forums work -- they please customers and they reduce costs.(...) The community space is crowded, but other companies with growing client lists include Jive Software, Awareness, and Mzinga/Prospero.

Embracing. Startups that enable clients to source ideas from their customers have a bright future, because customer-generated innovation is hot right now. Salesforce.com bought Crispy News and turned it into Salesforce Ideas, which powers idea sites for Dell and Starbucks (...)


So, there will basically 2 ways for startups to get into the branding 2.0 game. First is to be a tool provider like these guys above. The list, however is getting crowded. The opportunity is in the aggregation area. Sort of like a Reuters equivalent to help marketing people track the conversations in all these different places in a single dashboard, using graphs and charts to highlight trends.

Another opportunity I can see in the tool space is in the virtual worlds. Many of the current startups in the virtual space are helping businesses build virtual representations of their real products. In other words, same old way of pushing marketing messages. What we need are tools to help companies 'listen' in the virtual space. I have stated the reasons why this can yield more benefits here.

The second area for startup to play is to use these tools and change the structure of the industry, rather than helping somebody else to do it. Build a new value, based on listening and enabling collaboration. Threadless has done it for t-shirts. Lego factory has done it for lego. What other industries need to listen more and is begging for startups to create new value chains?

See the first post here.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Idea generation 32: Widgets need to be changed, enabling conversations, link vs contenti

AVC on why widgets need to be overhauled: This is exactly the reason for my idea blogged here. Widgets slow pages down and can be distractions to your audience. We need to better integrate them into our content.

Why companies need to have conversations with users: Enabling platforms where companies can leverage on to converse and interact with their users are going to be very successful.

Link vs content economy: A great post. One that really understands the links are the currency for the web. One that Google understands perfectly. The question in my head is what are the other opportunities that a startup can build his business on.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Startup Idea #66 : Implicit web

The idea of using the data collected from user's actions, without their explicit input, and using them to improve the usefulness of applications and services is very attractive to me. Many have coined this the implicit web.

Tim O'Reilly has brilliantly extend the idea of implicit web to include using new extraction techniques on existing data to produce new information on consumers' preference. The example of Wesabe very clearly illustrates that our credit card information can also be part of the implicit web if they can be intelligently extracted.

One other source of implicit data that I think holds more potential but has not been actively discussed (beyond reBang) is the preferences of users when they customise their avatars, vehicles, rooms or even pets.

Clicks, playlists, search et al are simple interactions that already create lots of value when used to make better recommendations. However, there are limitations. A person that searches for shoes will allow Google to know he is looking for shoes but leave it clueless about his preferred model, the size, the design et al.

On the other hand, when a person customises his shoes in a virtual world, using real world products, he reveals richer information about his preferences. These preferences, when aggregated, are a source of powerful consumer research that can greatly enhance product design.

I think there is a business here of creating a platform that allow consumer brands to conduct consumer research more efficiently than focus groups or surveys through a marketplace. Consumer brands can upload models of their products to the marketplace where games or virtual worlds can incorporate into their avatar customisation engine as well as the amount they are willing to pay. Games or virtual worlds that willing to use these models will insert some codes that will allow the platform to collect the data. These will then be present to product designers of consumer brands in real time, using dashboard displays.

I believe that in the future, product design will be impacted by data analysis, similar to what marketing is going through today. Collecting rich implicit data and reflecting them back to designers will become a very valuable tool.

Startup Idea #65: Transreality product placement

Product placement is becoming a dominant theme for in-game advertising. Spending on in-game advertising and product placement, $56 million in 2005, will reach $730 million by 2010, predicts Yankee Group, a Boston research firm. As virtual and physical worlds begin to converge, I believe product placement will take on new meanings and offer plenty of opportunities for clever and forward looking startups.

reBang has casually suggested Transreality product placement as a label for such dual reality type of product placement. However, what exactly is transrealit product placement? They can be three types which are as follows:

Product placement: placing physical products into virtual environments. The most common type of produce placements

Future product placement: creating physical versions of virtual products. The focus here is only selling the physical products that have sufficient interests when they are in virtual forms.

Reverse product placement: using physical products to sell virtual content/services.


So, with these kinds of ideas in mind, I think the following applications, products and services that help realise these markets is going to be achieve some success.

Market exchanges for product placement: Product placement is currently a time consuming and highly inefficient process. Companies like NextMedium have created marketplaces like Google's Adsense to automate and streamline the value chain. I think such a approach can be applied to future & reverse product placement as well. Take the latter for example. The virtual content owners in this scenario act as 'advertisers' while retailers provide the 'advertising inventory' aka shelf space. It is not difficult to construct an exchange where retailers input their available shelf space and its relevant price for virtual content to bid. The exchange also connects the virtual content owners to 3D manufacturers for the physical production of the virtual content.

Metrics agencies: To be the Nielson equivalent. For future product placement, this means collecting statistics on the popularity of the virtual items including their usage, the most popular model, the users' demographics et al. For reverse product placement, this means numbers of the retailers' 'eyeballs' equivalent such as units sold or given away, the traffic of the retail, demographic information on the retailers' customers et al.

Item aggregation site: rebang has suggested a 3D shopping site to sell virtual items created across different virtual worlds. Users can enter a virtual world to browse virtual items they have seen in the physical worlds.

Community site: An etsy -like community where users can hand-made the items that the virtual content owners want to promote. A startup can groom such a community or develop white label solution for virtual content owners to do so.

In summary, I think this is an interesting area and I am certain I have not even touch on ideas that will surely surface in the future.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Idea generation 31: Open source wii, threadless of 3D, 3D printing and product liability et al

CamSpace: Play any PC game with any object as controller. This is cool! With open documentation, I think we will see a proliferation of new content and controllers, all without the need to go through the troublesome process of getting Nintendo's developer kit.

Shapeways: The Threadless of 3D objects, although the model is not identical. Worth keeping a watch.

3D printing and product liability: Only someone like reBang can come up with such thought provoking idea. Any chance a new form of insurance product will come up and address this new problem?

FriendFeed: The future of search? Is searching through your social graph the next big opportunity?

Monday, 16 June 2008

Idea generation #30 : Real data as gameplay

As I am re-reading through rebang's blog, I am still in awe of the kind of innovative ideas that seem to be lying everything.

For example, he rounds up cool ideas from virtual worlds. In this single post, there are at least 3-4 ideas that I think make cool startup projects. Some might not be world changing like Google but should be interesting enough to generate some nice $.

"Sharkrunners: Realtime Data Used for a Game - if this had been my article, I’d have used the phrase “Realtime, Real World Data” since I find that to be a key idea worth calling attention to. Of course Forrest’s comment in the piece was what really sticks: “As sensor networks increase, I think that we can expect more games like this to appear.” Had I taken the time to post something earlier, I might have used an example such as a game where players have to monitor an oil containment buoy’s sensors in order to effectively direct its proper placement thus ensuring maximum containment (reLink), or monitor tiny sensors on a bridge (Link) and determine the best way to improve the overall infrastructure given limited resources."

One idea that I particular fond of is the idea of taking real world data and use them as in game variables. I believe such data will greatly enhance what we call the serious games. I wonder if it is possible to develop a platform that allows users to create simple games, using real world data.

Part one of Co-Space ideas is here.

Lack of posts

First blog post I have done that is personal.

I have not been posting for a while as I was on holiday with my wife. During this period, I did reflect on the style of this blog and why it is not attracting comments. I came to realise, by comparing with the blogs I love, that I need to go deeper in my thinking. My current style is just touching lightly on the new ideas I found on the web. This has not do justice to the thinking I have done as well as to the readers, who i am sure are looking for more insightful posts.

So, from now on, my style will be a bit different. For highlighting of ideas, I will use the Marc Carter style of blogging (see examples here). For ideas which I have spent more time thinking about, I will like to write them in the style of the Foundry blog.

Let's see how all these will go.