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


Live Video Blogging

Video blogging is the hot new thing these days…if you’re a geek. There are silly ninjas, fake real people (lonelygirl 15), tech geeks, and repurposed television shows. As cool as it is, I haven't seen it really catch on. None of my friends consume a video blog on a regular basis.

What I’ve yet to see, and what I think could sustain a more mainstream audience, is live video blogging. Have a blogger upload their analysis as an event unfolds. Send an email immediately after they upload their video and have users view it right away.

I think live video blogging could work well in sports. First, I’ll use the example of “gurus” or experts who pick the outcome of games for bettors. The fact of the matter is that people bet on sports and they are always looking for an edge. I’ve heard or seen thousands of advertisements for hotlines where customers pay to receive picks through a corny voice recording. It would be much more compelling if a consumer could watch video each day of experts picking games. New video posts can even be uploaded throughout the day, at halftime of games, etc.

Before you think I’m a degenerate bookie realize I think that live video blogging goes way beyond betting on football games. I would love to see ESPN’s “Sports Guy” video blog an event instead of waiting till the next day to post his blog. How about seeing Jim Kramer videoblog live throughout the day BOOYAH! Finally, why not have newspapers break stories through video blog by the writer who has the lead. This could give newspapers back the edge that seems to have become so very dull.

Of course live video blogs have a very short life. Unlike a decent blog entry that can easily reach "evergreen" status a live blog is probably useless after 20 minutes. Therefore, the notification aspect is essential. Fortunately, once you setup your computer to video blog it might be even easier than it is to type out a post.

So, find an interesting topic that has late-breaking news and start video blogging it live!

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College Hoopspedia

Of all the recent mind-boggling social phenomenons on the web I might be most amazed by Wikipedia. It is the first place I look when I don’t know something. Every article is constantly evolving and improving and it seems to always have the exact piece of information that I am looking to find. Furthermore, the fact that anybody can edit and modify an entry and order reigns and chaos doesn’t ensue makes me think of it as some kind of crazy validation of Lockian philosophic principles that mankind is virtuous.

This kind of communal, user-generated information gathering would be fascinating if applied to sports. I’ll use college basketball as an example since it’s my passion. I probably have 20-30 amazing and unique college basketball stories. Most have to do with St. John’s – Ron Artest getting tendonitis in his thumb and missing a game after playing street fighter II for 12 hours straight, Fran Fraschilla whipping out his testicles and telling Felipe Lopez he is lacking a pair of nuts, and the many many amazing moments provide by Marcus Hatten.

I am positive everybody has their favorite stories about players, coaches and games. Most of these stories get lost with time. It would be next to impossible for me to get information on Billy Singleton (Malik’s frontcourt partner), or why Charles Minland punched Donnie Marshall (Marshall smacked him first).

I once wrote a nostalgic article about Serge Zwikker, a former UNC center/ogre that played in the early 90’s before the proliferation of foreign players. It was almost impossible to find information on Zwikker. I’m sure a Serge Zwikker wiki would be amazing for college basketball fans.

One problem I have with Wiki’s is that, along with collaboration, their purpose is to allow people to easily work on page output without having to know how to program. So why are Wiki’s so nerdy and scary to update? Why not make Wiki’s as easy to edit as it is to create a MySpace page. Have an interface that is graphical and user friendly – more like a powerpoint tool than the mystical secret language that it is right now.

Wiki’s will go niche. They already have – there is Wookieepidia, a Star Wars wiki, and a group I belong to called NextNY is starting a start-up wiki. But right now my imagination is captured by Sports Wikis. Here are a few more sports Wikis I would love to read

Side-Arm Relievers

College Football Quarterbacks


Sports Announcers


Baseball Cards

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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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Nothing brings strangers together like sports. A big game, a few beers, a good atmosphere and strangers can quickly transform into blood brothers. This idea is to create a location-based online sports viewer community based upon sports bars. Every sports bar within a city will be profiled, featured, and indexed by location, menu, programming and promotions, and if it has allegiances to fans of certain teams (a Red Sox bar in NY). Community features will help facilitate fan interaction, allow users to meet at bars and also comment on their sports bar experiences. Think meets myspace.

The next step of social networking is to create relationships and value once a user turns off their computer. This concept will turn online social networking sites from a fad into a practical service that enhances people’s social life. Sports is a natural space for this trend to grow. Tons of sports bars have been featured (online and in print) in the last month as soccer fans (many with national loyalties) have searched out where to watch the World Cup. Fans that have moved away from their hometown, alumni looking to reunite, and fans of smaller sports such as boxing, lacrosse, and hockey will all be able to benefit.

This idea can be monetized on different levels. A database of sports fans will be valuable to local sports bars looking to market and advertise in their area. This could include email blasts, setting up viewing parties, and special events at bars. A bar should be able to send a text message during the night announcing on-the-fly drink special to attract people in the area. Once a critical mass of users has registered, beer and alcohol companies are natural, high-budget sponsors that will be attracted to the audience.

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