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


Social Networking - Tatoos

There are probably already too many companies that are trying to do social networking on the web – check out this list. I don’t think the problem is with social networking though but rather with the websites that are attempting to do it. Most of them are pretty lame and are just some rip-off of MySpace (the most poorly designed site in the world) centered on some whack topic. I think social networking is the 2.0 extension of chat rooms, message boards and e-mail groups – and I never heard anybody complain that there was too much communication going on.

I’m a believer that niche communities will continue to grow on the internet. The more focused a community the more useful it becomes to users as well as advertisers. It also makes it easier to better understand the narrow space and hopefully this makes it easier to communicate directly with the community. A good example of this is It plays to the passions of dog-owners who thoroughly enjoy themselves as they frolic on the website.

In order for a social networking website to have sustainable growth and success it must

1) Focus on a topic that users are passionate about
2) provide a real life solutions
3) gain a significant portion of the community

The last few days I’ve been playing around in my head with an idea that I believe is perfect for am online niche community. Tatoos. Yup, good old ink.

People are passionate about their tattoos. I’ve heard it described as an obsession and an addiction. Furthermore, the stories behind the tattoos are often unique and special as well. Many people want to share these stories as well as hear other people’s stories.

Those with tattoos often can’t wait for their next tattoo and the only thing holding them back is that they don’t know what to get. This forum will allow users to share ideas, designs, review artists and share experiences with each other.The tatoo community would be passionate, would have a purpose for people to use the site (find designs, artists, self-expression) and the community itself is easily defined (you either have one or you don’t).

The business model would be advertising by offering access to the online community to marketers, both endemic (tattoo stores and artists) and those looking to get the attention of these so-called punks. I thin a niche community such as this can easily be defined and therefore is extremely valuable to those marketers looking to find this crowd – music labels, clothing, motorcycles, etc.

At the moment, I’m real high on this idea. Going to do some research and interview those people I know who are tatted up.



I know very little about photo journalism and even less about the rights surrounding published photos. What I do know is that it’s very difficult to find pictures on the web pre 1990. Oh sure, it’s possible to find pictures of famous photos such as the one of Einstein above. But, what about the hundreds of thousands of photos that were printed in newspapers and magazines throughout the decade. Are these photos archived anywhere and if so can they be digitalized?

Apparently the answer is yes and yes. Corbis, a creation by Bill Gates is the “industry's richest array of digital image licensing, rights services, artist representation and media management”. Basically, they have the largest stock of licensed photos. Their is also AP, Getty Images and other photo archives. Included in Corbis'catalog is the 11 million photos in the Bettmann Archive. Unfortunately, less than 10% of these photos have been digitized and the rest sit in an underground chamber.

The idea here is to create a marketplace for historic photos for personal use. Give bloggers access to buy or borrow photos. There are thousands of photos of political leaders, world event, places, architecture, nature and sports that are nowhere to be found on the web.

As I write this I realize that there are a few major issues. One is licensing and ownership. Two is that the manual process of digitizing photos is a tremendous undertaking that will take thousands of years. Perhaps the first step would to be to aggregate existing photo archives of digital photos and creating a commerce platform and marketplace.