I’ve gotten into the habit over the years of writing down pretty much any interesting thought that comes to my mind, especially if it’s something I think I can write about, or the seed of a new business idea. I’ve carried pens and little note pads around with me, used my iPad, my cell phone, journal apps, and many other mediums to jot down quick thoughts, and over time I’ve accumulated quite a pile of ideas. At this point I’ve realized that the sheer volume of ideas I have sitting around means I’ll likely never get to execute on all of them, so I’m sharing some today in hopes that some inspired entrepreneur can make a billion dollar business out of one of them.

For each idea, I’ve included my original notes and some commentary on the idea from the present. So, without any further ado, here are 3 businesses I wish I had time to build.

1. Tracking Specific Activities for Freelancing Purposes

Original notes (with additions in []):

Record the activity of certain, selected [browser] tabs. Time spent on these tabs is monitored, and various things will be recorded about the tab.

  • Data recorded
    • Google Chrome
      • focused tabs / selected tabs?
        • name & url of browser tabs
        • screenshot of tab when switched to
        • time (duration and chronologically) tab was open
    • File system and/or word processor
      • changes to code
      • timestamp
      • line #s (show each range, and total # of lines changed)
  • Data presented
    • how long spent away from [work] pages
    • only certain tabs count as work, they’re free to do whatever they want, but only get paid when they’re writing code
    • analysis of changes made (Github style)


The main point of this idea is providing a platform for freelancers (writers, programmers, designers, etc.) to track how much time they spend working on a given task, and to be able to set an hourly rate that the client feels comfortable with. This would be achieved partially through a Google Chrome extension tracking the user’s browser activity, and if they chose, a process on their system to track other relevant applications like word processors, text editors, version control software, etc. Integrating this all with a frictionless payment system would give you a significant edge on places like Freelancer where there is little accountability beyond user ratings, and also allows for more flexible work agreements based on the work actually required, rather than paying a lump sum.

2. Coerce/Pressure/Peer Pressure/Peer Poke

Original notes:

  • Give yourself something to do, and a projected timeframe to do it in
  • Select social networking or email accounts you want to connect, and users you want to ping
  • Upload an embarrassing photo, video, or post about yourself
  • You get 10 free tries to get your forecasting right, after that, if you exceed your projected time limit, you get 10 minutes until your info gets sent to your friends
  • You can also pay to subvert this in that 10 minutes (costs $3)


The idea here is to force people to do things that they might commit to in a moment of inspiration, but then fail to follow up on. You could also include a “fee” for failing your goals, like donating money to a charity you abhor or giving money to a friend. The friends you selected to send your embarrassing picture/etc. to could also report your failure with a picture or some other proof. You could go a lot of different directions with this one.


3. Political Balance

Original Notes:

  • List potential policy options (not [F******] opinions)
  • Start w/ curated issues, welcome submissions & moderator apps
  • Let people submit pros & cons
    • Text (paragraph at most)
    • Cite as many sources as you want, get tacked on as footnotes/links
    • Whitelist footnote sources, any other link request requires mod approval
    • Let any pro/con stand that isn’t spam, provably false, hateful in any way, or a duplicate
    • Have people rate these pros/cons in importance to them
      • Only 1% (at least 1) get 10’s, 9% get 8’s, 9’s, and 7’s, 90% get 1-6
        • This will seriously skew peoples’ votes toward a small subset (on purpose)
  • Verify peoples’ identities to a high degree
    • Social networking triumvirate (FB, Twitter, LI)?
    • Keep this information completely anonymous
    • Allow people to post comments anonymously (to others, but known by us), or as a moniker
  • Never mention parties ONE [F******] TIME
  • Come up with a “makes sense” score based on ratings


This one needs a little more explaining. The point is to create a politically neutral platform for people to list pros and cons for specific policy issues (not political talking points, but real policy decisions). Think things like raising the minimum wage, closing specific tax loopholes, or revoking certain government intelligence gathering capabilities. The purpose would be to put as much evidence on each side as possible, and see where the issue ends up based on user ratings. One of the most important aspects would be keeping it non-partisan and never discussing political parties as part of the discussion. You could make all kinds of cool graphs and charts showing peoples’ opinions on different aspects of the issue, the number of credible sources cited on each side, the amount of social media attention each side has gotten, and much more.

So there you have it: 3 business ideas that might be worth a billion dollars (or zero). Let me know what you think of them, or if you’re already working on something similar!