Digital Epiphanies Feed

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Digital Epiphanies are all those great ideas that pop into my head and for which I can't stop thinking about until I stop thinking about them.

This blog is an outlet so that ideas can be shared, advanced, criticized and exchanged. So please add your comments and free your trapped parcels of genius by sharing your business ideas. Don’t worry, if somebody actually steals it, starts a business and hits it rich, I’ll buy you a beer.

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Skype: brianlitvack


Bracket World

As a college basketball fanatic, the apex of my sports consumption is March Madness. The best part of March Madness is filling out your tournament brackets. The FBI estimates that over $2.5 billion is gambled on the NCAA each March.

I’ve been thinking. Why are brackets so fun? What is the obsession? How can they be used to organize and predict other information?

Brackets are great because it is an easy and fun way to compete against others. There are almost limitless combinations of results, and following your unique brackets allows for a rooting interest for certain outcomes. Yes, there is a lottery element of a big payday but choosing teams and then watching the games make the lottery method of picking numbers seem incredibly boring.

So why not take the bracket and turn it into a marketing tool? Use brackets on websites for contests, promotions and build user participation and community. There are obviously tremendous opportunities in sports (playoffs, statistics, and tournaments). Looking beyond sports, entertainment (movie ticket sales, awards shows, tv ratings), gaming (tournaments), advertising, investing and many other industries can present and sort there information in a bracket contest form.

A company could provide software and services in creating bracket solutions. It can have a bracket widget to allow any company or individual to set up a simple online bracket. It can make customizable solutions that integrate new kids of brackets, user-feedback, and the ability to vote on outcomes that need to be decided by the community.

As this expands there should be advertising and sponsorship opportunities as brackets target an audience of active participants. Brackets can also organize information and work as a tool for understanding markets. If a company is trying to figure out the right product mix, or understand a certain market it can create a bracket and analyze the results.

I guess this is an idea where you have to have a total fascination with the bracket and an open mind. Would love to hear what you think.

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Online Profile Control Room

I have a MySpace page, a Friendster account, a LinkedIn network, a Facebook profile, accounts on flickr, youTube and Revver, three different fantasy sports leagues, and a bunch more accounts that I can’t even remember. Even more disturbing, social networking sites are becoming more nice oriented leading to more accounts (there are now two communities competing for dogs)

There needs to be a way to aggregate and streamline some of this “social networking” information. It would be great to upload a photo only once and have it automatically added to every account. Account information, friend information, email notifications, and new feature emails should all be condensed and viewed in one place.

Yes, my tech friends, I understand this would be an API nightmare and perhaps even impossible. But there definitely are better ways to more efficiently organize social networking information. Keeping track of login and passwords, allowing users the ability to track URL’s from photobucket or flickr and then track which photos they have on each site. Matching friend’s emails with their accounts to help create connections across different communities. Also, it would be great to forward all those annoying notification emails to be read and reviewed together.

Hopefully, it is possible to interface with some of the communities making the experience even more efficient.

The Web 2.0 has created an explosion of new content, features and websites. It seems natural that there will be a shake-down and organization of all this new information before it becomes overwhelming. Email, instant messenger, job search websites, and RSS feeds are all products that can be advanced and made more efficient with a better user experience if there is ability aggregate and streamline information.


Kegs In The City

I recently tried to get a keg delivered to my buddy’s apartment in Manhattan. Figured it would be something a little different and lead to a bunch of drunken “remember in college” conversations. Apparently, this is an impossible task. Have you ever seen a keg at a apartment party in the city? There needs to be a company that delivers kegs to the door and then picks up the empty keg the next day. The kegs would probably be bought in one of the outer boroughs, delivered by truck and priced with a ridiculous mark up. Heck, might as well create a Costco delivery service. It would be interesting to compare pricing between the corner bodega and Costco for necessities such as toilet paper, soap, and buckets of starbursts.

WorkSpace -- Corporate Community

Organizations are becoming more global and virtual. Often, this is at the expense of the relationships and face time between co-workers. Many organizations have teams where their members have never met in person. Corporations may also be divided along departmental lines with little interaction between business units.

An application could be built that takes the great features of social networking and turns it into corporate networking within an orginization's intranet. This will allow employees to network within their company and to learn about each other’s background, past experiences, expertise within the company and interests and hobbies outside of work.

This online community would facilitate teamwork and help break down internal boundaries by allowing people to informally interact. Employees can contact each other for project help, advice, and can even be introduced to other workers. New hires can get up to speed more quickly and members of a project team can more quickly get acclimated with each other.

My guess is to sell a package version of the software with licenses depending on the size of the organization. The software could also be customized to the specific needs of a company.

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Mobile Cell-ebrities

For those who have spent nights out on the town in LA or New York, celebrity sightings are nothing new. I’ve lived in both cities and have had my fair share of friendly encounters. Instead of retelling the story of how I rubbed shouldered with the rich and famous, I have begun to take video on my cell phone of celebrities in action. I have a few videos that I’ve uploaded and shared with my friends.

Set up a website where people can upload their random encounters with the stars which they will record on their mobile devices. Basically allow a large group of people to share their hob-knobbing stories. The most popular videos will win cash prizes and users can view videos on the site or subscribe to receive the most popular video of the week on their phone. If the video is recorded on the phone it should be able to be viewed on a phone. Special events such as concerts, professional sporting events, Celebrity after-parties could all have their own categories as well and expand.

Now I do realize that this idea probably has an inherent sleazy component that is too strong for my liking. Also, it might be classified as just another YouTube copycat. The underlying theory is that a powerful and overlooked feature of mobile devices is its ability to record and capture anything at anytime. As people become more comfortable with using their phones for more than just phone calls they will begin to whip out their media-capturing device every chance they get. The “oh man you should have been there” story will change to the “watch this” story.

Would love to hear some ideas. Is there a better way than celebrity spying to embrace the idea of capturing your magic moments forever?

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MySpace Grassroots Marketing Agency

According to Hitwise, MySpace is the most popular place on the net. For people under 30, myspace has replaced classic procrastination pasttimes such as daydreaming, water cooler chat, and prank calls. If you happen to be in a band or make a living by spam and porn sites than MySpace is in contention for being the “best thing that ever happened in my life”.

Like almost all social networking sites, MySpace also happens to be free. It seems like there should be tremendous opportunities for outsiders to monetize the MySpace community and create/unlock all kinds of value.

This is happening as programmers create features faster than MySpace does. A few applications have recently been reviewed on including (break up your friends into different groups), DatingAnyone and (expedites the online flirtation process). There is also a proliferation of websites that offer different MySpace templates and widgets.

The money-making idea that is most intriguing to me is to start a MySpace grassroots marketing agency. Use a combination of expertise, programming, best practices and good old BS to convince companies, restaurants, bands, aspiring wannabe’s, and politicians that they need to create and actively manage a MySpace profile.

Now you may be asking yourself, isn’t the point of MySpace that everybody creates their own profile for free?” I agree that most bands can figure out on their own the best way to market their shtick. But corporations and old people (for lack of a better term) usually don’t move quickly enough. My guess is that there is a whole lot of advertising dollars on the table at companies and media buying agencies that are dying to be spent on MySpace but have yet to be shown the perfect advertising package from the good folks at Fox Interactive. Using the pitch that the best, and most authentic way to create a presence on MySpace is to do what everybody else is doing, and guess what – it’s free, might just work.

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