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.

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Startup Idea #111: SMS based platform for delivering life saving content to the poor

This is a powerful article that covers a lot what Umair Haque has been saying. It offers a more down to earth (and easier to understand!) perspective of the great changes that we are going to see.

One of his paragraphs gives a great idea for startup:
Solar water disinfection (SODIS): put water which is contaminated with disease organisms into a plastic soda pop bottle and leave it in the sun all day. You can use a tinfoil reflector, or put it on a black sheet metal heat collector if you want to be fancy. The UV light and the heat kill most of what would make you sick.

This is a technique you can teach by well-phrased SMS messages. 5 million people a year die of dirty water, many of them children. SODIS won’t get all of them, and it’s not a perfect technique, but it’s easier to get people started on and odds-are many people who only have bad water to drink live in places with abundant sun and available discarded plastic soda bottles…

What if we can aggregate all these useful life-saving information, and organise them into easy to understand instructions which can be sent through SMS? This, I think, is another form of organisation that Umair Haque talks about in his manifesto for next industrial economy.

It is about organising information in a way that the people who needs them the most can assess and understand it.

If you have ideas on how to get this going, do drop a comment.

Idea generation #46: Predictive analysis for injuries, p2p as our future, reminding us to be happy and more

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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Idea generation #57: Measuring social capital

There has been a couple of interesting posts recently around social capital and I want to take this post to see how they are connected.

Following from Loic Le Meur blog post on "Twitter: We Need Search By Authority", Matt Ghuniem had a great insight: popularity is not authority. This then brings out the question of what is authority? It turns out that authority, as defined by the ability to drive responses, traffic and attention, is very much related to social capital.

If we loop the argument, then it is clear that social capital is beyond a theoritical concept. It has powerful business applications, with search being one of the examples. It also has the potential to change how people are valued in terms of job applications, fund raising, business networking, dating et al. It will change how marketing can be done (Imagine a person with high capital visits your online store, will you change your offerings to beter catch his attention in the hope that he will let others know?)

All these however, requires a new way to measure and capture social capital. This ties in nicely with a great post entitled: 'future of measurement' that talks about the need to capture things that are important and not well accounted for. I wanted to share the 4 key predictions that I think has absolutely nailed what will be important in the upcoming age of capturing non-financial capital i.e social, human et al:

  • We will substantially advance our understanding of individuals and the meaningful connections they have.

  • We will identify methods to tap what people are *really* thinking, feeling, and paying attention to, meanwhile gaining insight on what a measurement is truly capturing.

  • We will determine how to measure the value of social interactions and attach financial value, whether we’re monetizing attention or a new medium.

  • We will build better tools to manage-- analyze and visualize-- massive volumes of data, primarily tapping the evolving social graph.

If you are a startup and wants a rich area to build products/services on, this is one of the things you should think about. If you want examples of how a measurement startup can look like, learn from Amee.

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Monday, 29 December 2008

How to you build better equity?

This question has been bugging me for the past weeks ever since Umair Haque wrote about it in his post on the Great Rebalancing and Four Ways to Build a Better Economy. I thought I would throw it out for those who want to engage in deeper discussions on how do you exactly go about building better equity.

Firstly, how does better equity look like? Is it going to in a form that invests in human capital and creativity? If so, will it look like Ycombinator or Sellaband or both. Are they indications of what are things to come? Will this will evolve into markets for human equity contracts?

Secondly, how do we evolve better ways to manage equity? The current tools don't cut it but what are their potential replacements? Will it be in the form of real time communications, powered by the likes of Twiiter? Will it be a new form people-powered rating agencies? Will it be zero intelligence where the management decisions are made by the community i.e. Threadless?

Lastly, how can we scale these systems up so that any next generation innovator can build on top of it? How do we reduce friction of employing such new management techniques?

A lot of questions with no answers. Any takers?

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Sunday, 28 December 2008

Startup Idea #110: Services to build up social capital

When I was blogging about the idea of using a Zemanta-like service to help independent creators (i.e. musican, authors et al), that idea came out from extending what Zemanta can do. However, given the recent thinking about the importance of social capital (thanks, Ethan!), I think the potential of this idea needs to be re-articulated.

Ethan said it best when he posts that:

Getting back to my point: it’s likely that, relative to financial capital, connections to nodes on the relevant [human] business networks will become comparatively much more valuable. Startups can create a lot of value with little financial capital, but they need to quickly and easily access social capital at partners, suppliers, complementors, competitors, and of course customers to win.

Hence, in this hyper connected new economy, making solid connections is going to be a strong competitive advantage. So, there is a need for better tools or software to help people, especially individual entrepreneurs or creatives, to create more social capital. This is where I think Zemanta can be very useful. For example, they know whose articles I have posted here. How then do they make it easy for to connect to these people. How can they alert the writer of the articles that their articles have been used? This simple form of notification is a start to building up relationships, and why I find service such as Disqus very useful.

I am beginning to see such servics emergencing. Mr Tweet is one cool example started by a friend. I think there are opportunities for many other such services:

  • Who is going to make it easier for me to connect to the RIGHT people? The current recommendation systems of Facebook, LinkedIn et al tells me to add people whom I have ALREADY known. I need systems to tell me who I SHOULD know. That does not mean I should immediately add that person to my contacts. It means I should start to check out his blog, his twitter, his tumblr, the event he is going to et al. Who is going to make it easier for me to do that?

  • Who is going to make it easier to enhance existing relationships? Once I am aware of a useful contact, how do I enhance my relationships with them. A simple scenario: why can't I have a dashboard that tracks all the person's writing and allows me to respond to that directly. Disqus currently aggregates what I have commented and what others have comments on my blog. I need something to tell what conversations I SHOULD have participated in to increase my social capital. I need a combination of a feeds reader + comment system.

  • Who is going to make it easier for me to make a physical connection? I think dopplr is a right direction but it has limited users. Is there something that taps the status updates from services like Facebook and alerts me when I have the opportunity to physically meet someone I should know?

I think these are just the beginnings of what can be done. Applying them to verticals such as independent musicians, book authors et al is going to be another rich area for providing real value. Anybody doing this already?

Startup Idea #93: Contextual recommendation for self publishers

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Saturday, 27 December 2008

Idea generation #56: The importance of switch boards

As the social web evolves, the ability to move data around is going to gain in importance. Recently, I have noticed the emergence of such services. I called them switch-board services. They essentially act as switch boards to move your data around different web services. More importantly, they are not aggreators or destination sites. They focused on distribution.

TwiiterBoard focuses on integrating your Tweets to other services. Its first application is saving links in your tweets to your Del.icio.us account. I don't use Twitter so I cannot comment on its usefulness.

Switchabit is another such switch board service. I am currently using it to take my blog content and post it to Facebook and Tumblr. The service is still young. There are features i wish it has such as for my facebook friends being able to click directly to my blog. The tumblr integration also needs some work.

I think these services will be important but we need to create test cases that take them beyond the domain of 'geeks'. We need to imagine how this will impact other industries before we can harzard a guess of the degree of importance of allowing data to flow.

A simple case is to integrate your data with ecommerce services. For example, I can route my travel pictures in Facebook to a travel site, which then intelligently (through tags or image recognition) know what places I have been and recommend other travel locations. Another example, I can route my blog content to Amazon, which then recommends the relevant books for me.

Another application is in marketing. Tubemogul help video makers post their content to various video sharing sites. Switch board services take this idea further by letting you post your content from any location to other locations. If you are a photographer, owner of blog shops, video maker, musician, designer, tutor, financial advisor et al, this means you can distribute your products, services or content widely through the switchboard services, all without having to upload to another site (like what tubemogul is doing).

I am excited by switchbaord services because they are going to shape how we distribute things online. This is an area that that can bring big financial opportunities to whoever can get it right.

Startup Idea #90: Feeds based advertising
Startup idea #46: News feed opportunities
Startup idea #87: Feeds as the next search

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Startup Idea #109: 6 Twitter ideas

Happy thanks giving and here are some ideas for a lazy post-Christmas morning. They are all based on the concept that Twitter has become a growing platform. We need context to make sense of all the talking that is going on. This, I believe, will spawn many niche opportunities that a startup can pursue.

Some of these are trivial and some may seem totally unrealistic, but hey, it is post Christmas right?
  • Sports Talk: A stock twits equivalent for sports. Let users tag their tweets with the club name. MANU for manchester united, LIV for liverpool et al. Create a chart to show the level of support from the strength of the conversations. You might even allow users to place small wagers via tipjoy....

  • A Weebly for creating Twitter-based community sites: This idea came from a Techcrunch post mentioning why Twitter needs a group function. The example used was Twitter mums. What if you made it easy for non-technical people to create their own Twitter mums equivalent? A site/group builder that integrates into Twitter and offers all the community features such as blogging, forum et al.

  • Twitter for education: Edmodo is leading the charge here. How other things can we do? How do we turn the phone into a mobile learning tool via Twitter?

  • Twitter as an invitation tool: Most the invite systems are too time consuming. Twitter can be a light weight invite tool for simple events like lunches, small gathering et al. Just type in the place, time and a brief description of the event, and send. People can used rsvp via the reply function and the software will keep track of who is going.

  • Platform for mobile novels: I post about the emergence of Twiller a while ago (see post here). Coupled this with the successful model of Japan's cellphone novel and it is not hard to see Twitter becoming a platform for a new wave of book writers. What we need is a few simple functions added to Twitter's API such as payment, search and fiter (to find these books) et al to make Twitter into a publishing platform for cellphone novels.

  • A Twitter version of Flirtomatic: Flirtomatic is a successful mobile dating site that focuses on light weight virtual gifts that make flirting a fun activity. Can we add the virtual gift component to Twitter, plus some dating mechansims, to make Twiter into a dating service with virtual gifts as the revenue model?

That is from me. Have a great thanks giving!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Startup Idea #108: An open source ebook reader for the BOP

I think there is an opportunity to build a cheap ebook reader that comes with a marketplace like Apple's App store for users to sell and buy ebooks and articles. The current price of ebook readers are too high and lacks a marketplace. It also doesn't enhance the experience even though it is digital.

I hope the first market that a cheap ebook reader can reach is the bottom of the pyramid crowd. The kids of the poor have very poor access to information. A cheap ebook reader, with thousands dollars of free content, can be a viable way for them to overcome this.

Furthermore, if we can leverage on mobile kiosks in these countries to allow users to buy additional content through digital means, then we have also created a simple way for the poor to participate in the latest knowledge the developed world has to offer.

Of course, a cheap ebook reader will not only benefit the developing countries. The market for a cheap gateway into the world of written knowledge is going to be huge. Moreover, the market in developed countries might have a bigger appetite for slight higher price reader that enhances the reading experiences. Things like writng notes on your reader and sharing them with your friends who have the same digital ebook. Or taking one paragraph of an article and emailing or bookmarking that straight from the reader.

Some links for you to read and ponder.

A $20 ebook reader:

How to enhance the reading experience

How a startup, with $20,000, build a business on digital photoframe
. This shows that we can do a hardware business with low cost.

This is really powerful. Reinventing how books are created and distributed. Similar to how ipod changes how music is created and distributed. It will not be easy but that means less competition as well.

Startup Idea #107: Using games to improve financial literacy

I pointed out some time ago about this article from the Economist that highlights the need for people to be financially literate. I think this important, given the current crisis and financial education should start from young. The key challenge is to devise innovative ways to get kids interested.

One possible way to do this is through video games. This article from Wired pointed to an interesting direction: turning your piggy banks into arcade machines that help kids to save money.

I think this is just scratching the surface of what can be done.

  • What if we link these gadgets to a web service that allows the kids to track, compare, do mashup, share et al their results (like fitbit)?

  • What if achieving some saving targets unlock new content on their piggy banks?

  • What if they can have some form of virtual currency that ties in with their physical savings, and kids can learn to place these virtual currencies into virtual savings account to earn more credits to unlock content?

  • What if tournamnts can be set up to compare kids' game results from these piggy banks? Will all these encourage more savings?

As I mentioned in my post on Product 2.0:

a truly 2.0 product has to reflect, enhance and even transform the social experiences of users (either cooperative or competitive). It is to understand that such Experiences are the driving forces behind massive adoption, not merely being able to connect to the Web.

This idea clearly falls into that category. If anybody wants to build something like this, drop me a note!

Idea generation #38: Tim O'Reily on 'be good' and other 'be good' ideas
Startup Idea #73: Product 2.0

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

We need to empower the parents

Here is a question that I would love an answer to.

Is there a site, template, program that I can use to help my son learn to program in? I have some skills but less time to sit with him, and having a 3rd party between a son and father during learning time keeps the testosterone down for both of us. I can be the adjunct but not the primary instructor with him.

He is 12 also and interested in computers. I love the angle of him developing a computer game on his own.

Originally posted as a comment by Tom Royce on A VC using Disqus.

HI Fred. Long time listener, first time caller, er, commenter.

Can you publicly or privately give any more details on how you are helping your son and the tools started with?

My son just turned 11 and he and I are just starting with Microsoft's new Small Basic environment but it's pretty rudimentary. His current passion is the Spore video game so there's a potential spark there that I'd like to help him with. Twenty years ago when I had Basic on my Atari 400 just doing readln and writeln to get text in and out seemed amazing but with the web and games these days, doing just for loops and console write makes it hard to keep their interest.

I know this isn't a typical topic for your blog but would love any more details on what you and your son are doing...

Originally posted as a comment by jeffbaker on A VC using Disqus.

I was reading Fred Wilson's post on disrupting education when I noticed comments likes the ones I posted above. This is not unique. Across the web, I noticed similar comments from parents across different sites, blogs and social networks.

This enforced my earlier blog post on the need for parents to share the way they teach their kids on a common platform. Each child is unique. However, with enough data points, we can aggregate successful teaching methods from different parents, and filter them by the child's age, learning styles, areas of interests et al. Organising information in this way helps parents to explore and use the appropriate teaching methods.

I think the discussion on education as always been on classrooms and students. It is time to empower the parents.

: Startup Idea #98: Parents sharing teaching experiences

Monday, 22 December 2008

Micromedia vs Mass Media

I want to share a personal experience today on the massive value of micromedia vs mass media.

I spent $15 buying Wired magazine to read on the trains today. At the end of the ride (about 40 minutes), I found nothing new. No new ideas, no inspirations, no new ways to think about the world. While the articles are well written, there is nothing is that I have not read before in a blog.

Compare the above experience with another article that I read on the train. It is a blog post by Fred Wilson that talks about disrupting education, with lots of insightful comments made by the community. It definitely gave me more room for thought than Wired. The best part of this: I printed that out and pay zero cents for it (not counting printing and paper costs).

This is pure economics at work. I read a lot of stuff on the web about technology and the new economic landscape. Niche blogs gave more targeted information than a mass market magazine ever could.

So, if you are into content, how do you compete with that?

Answer: You need to be the best filter there is.

Despite all the innovations we have seen in RSS readers, personal homepages, blog aggreations et al, I still spend a lot of time finding the right articles to read. Maybe the answer is not in alogorithms.

I believe the future of news discovery will be community powered. Twitter is becoming an important source links for me. How do you build on top on that to create a better filter for news discovery?

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Models for next generation financial businesses

How does next generation value chain for finance actually look like?

Umair Haque gave a glimpse of that in one of his remarkable posts:
The App Store is radical, ultimately, because it atomizes the value chain: where once a handful of scale-driven players could produce and distribute mobile apps, today, any number of players can enter. What was once monolithic is shattered into a million pieces. If the market can coordinate those millions of pieces effectively, the new value chain is hyperefficient.

Today, we are seeing startups that are 'breaking up' the functions of banks and distributing them to anyone who has a desire to enter into the market. Who are these players?

Prosper, Zopa, Kiva: Peer to peer lending models shatter the lending functions of banks. Anyone can be a lender in these networks. However, they are still not mainstream. What are the hurdles that preventing these models to scale? Is the Ripple model the answer?

Receivables Exchange: They shatter the bridging loan functions of banks. By selling outstanding receivables, much needed financing is available without resorting to vulture financing. If you are a startup, how do you add value to these new forms of markets? What kind of feeder businesses can be built on top of them?

Sellaband, Slice the Pie : New kinds of equity that invests directly in the creative capital of people. I think this is a massive innvovation. Will this will evolve into markets for human equity contracts?

Covestor: Breaks up the asset management business and allows anyone to participate in the trading business.

StockTwits: Allows anyone to be an real time research analyst.

I am not sure how successful these players will be in 5 years time although they are definitely interesting cases to watch. What I am sure of is that the finance sector will go through the same disruption we have seen in media. If you have more examples of next gen finance play, do leave them in the comments.

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Saturday, 20 December 2008

Idea generation #50 (Part II): Markets for electricity

Energy is really just another form of 'content' or data that travels across a network. We saw how businesses in media content have been revolutionized by the Internet. Will the energy sector be revolutionized as well, by the coming of smart grids and smart meters that are plugged into the Internet? If every home and building will have one and it too will be connected to the Net, this will provide energy efficiency and numerous revenue opportunities.

Some thoughts:
  • Who is going to be the Dell of the smart meters? Better yet, who is going to be the BugLabs
  • Who is going to provide software and applications to connect the Web to the Energy Net?
  • Who is going to manage the data, to filter and provide context to empower users to make decisions? To be the Amazon for providing useful recommendations for energy consumption?
  • Who is going to put all these information into mobiles and enable real time energy control?
Part 1: Idea generation #50: Markets for energy

Related: Wifi thermostat puts power (and cooling) at your finger tips

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Social recommendations done right

My wife was browsing through her facebook when she noticed the following comments from one of her friends:

She immediately got excited and click through to the photo to find the below. Next thing, she is looking for ways to buy the clothes.

I find this entire process enlightening. Now that it is easy to post content, the next step is to find context for which the content is relevant.

How do you make it easy for independent designers to find the right context to sell their stuff?

Is there a room for a TopSpinMedia for Fashion, and is this one of the building blocks?

Can we create A Zynga equivalent for independent designers i.e. to build a context for social shopping?

What else can we do to help independent designers?

Post your thoughts below.

Idea generation #54: Sharing as an edge competency.


A simple concept that is taking on new importance in this new economy.

I first seriously think about it when Fred Wilson, in one of his comments, mention that sharing is a big part of what social media is. Sharing enables interaction, which is the key value in social media.
  • fredwilson 6 months ago

    But the goal of social media should be two fold

    1) Make it easier to share
    2) Deliver value for sharing

    Then we'll get more sharing


But, today I learned that sharing is beyond social media and digital. Umair Haque has very elegantly showed us how sharing can be a key driver of value across real industries such as automobile. Sharing is in fact one of the next gen strategies that breaks the practice of encouraging consumption.(Investing vs consuming is also another way).

What else can be shared? What industries are there where sharing will reduce the incentive to consume and hopefully, free up resources to do more investment?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Startup Idea #106: Third part comment system for videos

Taylor Davidson has a useful post on the revenue strategy of Nico Nico Douga, which involves giving its community the ability to interact with each other via embedded comments and links with a video.

What is interesting about Nico Nico Douga is not the technology. Video annotation has been around (see veeple). Rather, it is the understanding that in social media, conversations are key. They have also show that it is possible to build a business if you give people the ability to converse, to personalise their conversations and to integrate the conversations around social objects.

What we are seeing now for sites such as Youtube is that the comments are not fully integrated into the media. It does not match the velocity that the video medium is capable of. Is it then possible to build a third party comment system for videos, similar to what companies such Disqus have done for blogs? An open system where any video can be embedded into and start enjoying the type of commenting system Nico Nico Douga has.

I wonder if the commenting system will be more useful if we throw in some Zemanta-like recommendation service that recommends the right kind of product image (that has an affiliate fees attached) for embedding into the videos. For example, a fashion video site will have fashionn product images, a car video site will have car parts, a anime video site will have figurines, CDs et al.

What I have outline above is a very rough attempt in exploring business models around the concept of conversations and new forms of referrals. This is such an exciting area to be innovating it and I look forward to any examples, feedback et al you might have.

Startup Idea #105: Virtual items for profile photos

giantrobotlasers:  This is really relevant to tipjoy. I could give someone $0.99 - but it would be really cool if I could give $0.99 to make 100 new people discover a friend’s tumblog. AVC logo

This is certainly a hint at a monetization strategy. Seriously! Thousands of people would pay for virtual goods like this - especially behavioral/functional virtual goods that influence how many people see my tumblog.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Startup Idea #104: Powering viral distribution

The power of consumer voices on the Net is growing as sites like Tripadvisors are becoming important lead generators. A study conducted last October by comScore and The Kelsey Group of 2,078 respondents, including 508 who used online consumer reviews, found that online, consumer-created reviews have a big impact on prospective buyers. The study showed consumers were so trusting of online reviews, they were even willing to pay at least 20 percent, and up to 99 percent, more if a company was rated excellent or five-star than if a business received a good, or four-star, rating.

If consumer are becoming important viral channels, it make sense that companies will need new tools to help them engage with their customers. Hence, there is an opportunity for a platform play that decentralised companies' commission or referral fees and pass them to customers so that they can help market the services they love.

In the hotel industry, for example,
hotels tend to pay out anywhere from 10-25% commissions on retail rates to 3rd parties and travel agents. A web based application can take these commissions and reward guests who have referred customers to them. This not only results in lower distribution costs, it also help companies to retain the customer relationship and also gain a lot more guests they want to attract, referred by trusted sources who’ve experienced the product and service.

How would this platform look like? I have a few possible scenarios:

The first scenario is for the more conservative companies. The platform can offer an online review form similar to reviewscale. Customers can fill the review form while the platform does the heavy lifting for embeddeding the referral fees mechanism into the reviews and distributing it to different sites.

A more decentralised approach is to have a plug-in extension where users can embedded the referral links within any reviews they have written anywhere, from review sites to their individual blogs and/or social networks. Skimlink has a nice example of how it could look like:

If such a referral platform is in place, we can then see the blossoming of viral distribution. Just like how RSS liberates content from their destinations, we should also liberate referral fees and allow them to flow to consumers who are passionate about the products/services they love and will want to promote.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Startup Idea #103: Spot.US for blogs

Spot.Us is a non-profit project that pioneers 'community funded reporting'. It is a really good idea that plays on the concept of intention market, where users indicate what they want and vendors respond accordingly. I believe this concept can be applied to blogging as well.

Many times, I have wished there was someway I can express my desire to read some topics from a particular blogger. For instance, I wish Fred Wilson can write a series of posts about hacking finance, hacking healthcare et al, and I don't mind putting a monetary value.

The idea, hence is create a distributed Spot.Us platform where blog readers can suggest the topics they want to read by the particular blogger and contribute a monetary amount if the topic was written.
Other blog readers should be able contribute to the topics that was suggested in a threaded format. Of course, the blogger will have the ability to delete any topic he/she doesn't want to write about.

The platform will be more useful is all the different topics that were suggested across different blogs can be aggregated, Disqus style. This can then create intention markets where bloggers can see what are the topics readers want to read about and how much they are willing to pay for it. It is also a good way to see trends in readers' interests.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Startup Idea #96 (Part II): Topspinmedia for the mobile

The concept of a mobile publishing platform for independent musicians becomes more and more sensible as I look around how the music industry is shaping up. Let's look at some numbers:
Mobile music was worth 9.1 Billion dollars in 2007 (source Netsize Guide 2008). Contrast that with the 30 billion dollar global music industry, and we find that 31% of the total worldwide consumer spend on music, is already consumed on mobile. The biggest part is ringing tones, obviously, but there are other billion-dollar markets already in full-track MP3 files and ringback tones sold to mobile. Karaoke, music video, welcoming tones, background tones and music streaming services round up the numbers. (from the communities dominated brands blog).

As the music market moves to mobile, musicians will need an easy to use publishing platform where they can connect with fans. This platform can and should be built on top of Twitter APIs, to both take advantage of network effects as well as to focus on the extra stuff that Twitter does not provide but is needed for a music publishing platform. For example, a mobile commerce engine is clearly needed as part of the platform to allow the selling of music.The Twitter platform allows for easy community building and is ideal for building a musician's fan base.

This platform will allow musicians to post updates on their daily activities as well as to post their music in the form of ringtone, mp3, live recording, sample music et al. These different forms of tweets should be marked by different icons as well as different dynamic action buttons. When user scroll down the tweets, different actions will appear on the mobile button. For example, when user scoll to the mp3 tweet, the button changes to 'play', 'purchase' et al.

This is my tentative product idea. I am sure more can be done. If you have any feedback, I will love to hear them.

See part one here:
Startup Idea #96: Topspinmedia for the mobile
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Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Startup Idea #102: Democratizing games

The Internet has the ability to push the power from organisations to individuals. MetaPlace is providing such a platform for game developers and is threatening to do to the game industry what blogging did to publishing industry.

If we think about blogging and the changes it bought, it goes beyond replacing the publishing industry. Rather, it brought about an entire new ecosystem of products and services such as publishing platforms (wordpress, blogger), comment aggregation (Disqus, IntenseDebate), recommendation services (Zemanta), community services (MyBloglog), blog advertisements (Federated Media), delivery services (Feedburner), aggregation (techmeme), search (Google, Technorati), verticals (seeking alpha) et al.

Is it possible then to think that platforms such as MetaPlace will bring about a new gaming ecosystem as well? If so, what are the products and services that this new ecosystem will need?

Techmeme equivalent: if tens of thousands of games are being made, how do you know which game is the most interesting to play?

Zemanta equivalent: if we are to encourage a non technical person to develop a game, we need to make it easier to give him the right set of codes, images, models et al. This is where a recommendation service will be the most useful.

Last.fm equivalent: games are social in nature and there is a need for a social layer to be added onto the games people play. This means an opportunity to build a community service such as Last.fm where users can see who are similar to them in gaming tastes, what games are their friends playing, the top ten games of their social network according to the different genres et al.

TargetSpot equivalent: for the ecosystem to thrive, we need monetisation mechanisms. They can be in-game ads or virtual items or merchandising. Whatever the revenue models, we need someone to provide an easy way for a non-technical person to profit from the games he made through simple APIs.

Disqus equivalent: Rather than comments, users might need a score aggregation services to keep track of the scores from the different games he played. Based on the scores, a tournament service can then be developed where players of similar scores can compete.

Aggregating Verticals: serious games, advergames, educational games. All these can be aggregated and filtered to give players an easy way to navigate to what they want.

For the new gaming ecosystem to be developed, we will need lots of parts to be built by lots of gaming fans. If you have ideas or feedback, do leave a comment below.

Slides on future of mobile

These are useful slides for me as I researched on the potential of mobile. If you are keen to explore this area, these slides can be quite a valuable resource

Future Of Mobile
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: countries developing)
Mobile Invisible Revolution
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: 2.5g 2g)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Visiting Japan and seeing the potential of mobile social networks

Apologies for the lack of posts recently as I am currently on vacation in Japan. I want to drop a quick note here to say that mobile social netwroks will indeed become bigger than online social networks. This was already reflected in a slide presentation (see slide 19) by vinod khosla a couple of years back. However, seeing how the Japanese used it for their everyday communication purposes makes you believe that this will indeed be true.

What I see promising is to take the generic social networks concept and apply it around social objects that are suited to the mobile. This is make it easier to come up with mobile viral apps. For example, one big thing I notice in Japan is girls buying all sorts of accessories and makeup. It make sense to have a mobile network that focuses on this target group. We can then design viral apps that are relevant for the group. For example, one that enable friends to share their new accessories, nail polish, make up et al via images that they can capture on their phone.

I will share more about mobile social networks on I get home to do more research. If you have any feedback or comments, do free feel to drop me a note.