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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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.



Mark Cuban's Ideas

Straight from his blog. Here are three ideas that Cuban threw out for others.

ey, im busy. You may or may not be.

here are 3 ideas that if i werent so … busy, I might take a flier on.

1. Txt messaging for 911 and Hospital Emergency rooms.

Most phones have text messaging. Soon, all will. Every city should have an emergy room SMS number that anyone can text with info saying, who they are, what happened, and that they are coming.

It could easily be extended so that anyone could go online and register their phone number and insurance info, so that when a txt was received from your phone number, it automatically pulled up any insurance information and/or patient history so that the entire process can be shortened in the hospital.

it obviously wouldnt work for everyone, but if the process is sped up for some, its sped up for everyone.

And for 911, of course, straight from any horror flick, the 911 for the time you cant or dont want to make a sound, or when a whisper isnt loud enough. TXT 911 with the problem and information. They can text you back.

2. Many high end cars are coming with navigation systems. Put in an address and find it. At least in my car, its connected to a DVD in the back of the car. Someone who is smart, could open up the specs for the DVD and create custom DVDs with the basics like information on the closest 7-11, but also customized information as well.

And if car makers are smart, they add a USB port and a rack so that hard drives can be used and then they publish the specs so that all sorts of cool apps could be created. Or better yet, they could make it IPOD compatible, and chop out 10gbs of the IPOD for this application and the rest could be piped in for music or back seat video.

3. if i had no money, i would start a business going door to door with a laptop and a scanner and scanning peoples pictures for a buck a pic for up to 10, then discount from there. Beats the hell out of mowing lawns or shoveling snow and any kid or adult could do it. If you want to think big time, set up a service with the local drugstore and have people drop off their pics and you go by every day and return them the next day.

Easy money



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.


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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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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