Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Big Tea Idea

A commenter mentioned an old idea I had about tea, so I figure I'll lay it out.

Starbucks is massive. People have totally gotten used to paying $2-$6 for a beverage. However, coffee is bad for you. And hot on the heels of the coffee trend is something diamtrically opposed to it: The all-natural-home-grown-organically-farmed-over-priced-but-we'll-still-buy-it-
because-it's-supposed-to-be-good-for-you trend.

Also hot right now is anything Asian. Japanese to be exact. So what's my point?

Mix Starbucks, health food, and asia, and what do you get?


"Wait just a minute," you say, "Starubucks already has tea". My answer? No they don't. If they treated coffee like they treat tea they wouldn't be in business. All they do now is give you a cup of microwaved water and a crusty old tea bag.

Think of this. You go into a starbucks-like cafe. On the board are several choices that are there all the time. Call them "neccesiTEAS". Basic white tea, black tea, oolong tea, green tea, and such.

Move on to more exotic leaves. Call them "varieTEAS".

Move on to the most expensive teas you can find. Those, of course, are the "RariTEAS".

Then, there are the special mixed tea drinks. "DiversiTEAS"

But this idea is not about cute names. When you pick your tea, the employee opens a vacuum sealed tin with fresh loose leaves in it. He lets you smell the leaves. Makes you feel like a connoisseur sampling the fragrance of a wine cork. He then places the right amount of leaves in an individual infuser, sets the timer (built into the infuser) and sets it on the "tea bar" next to all the other teas that are steeping.

You then wait two minutes, and when it beeps (or pulsates, of course), you set the infuser on the cup next to it, it strains your tea into the cup, and you go on your merry way.

Just think of it. A completely organic store. No microwaves or other machinery. Just a very natural looking bar that is about chest high with several different teas beautifully infusing with the leaves blossoming and falling inside, the soothing music and lights, the hip chatter from like-minded customers watching the magic.

In England, tea is just too huge to imagine. It's actually quite amazing that America hasn't caught on yet. But we can't do it the English way with milk and crumpets. It must be my way. The American way. The Starbucks way.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's not my idea.

Reading through the comments on my first post, someone other than me had a really good idea. I know, it really shocked me, too.

Joining forces.

A few people said, "Hey, I did this same thing". So this got me thinking. What if we did join forces? What if everyone who is hounded by good ideas became a contributor to this site?
You wouldn't have just one voice to hear from, but many, all on the same subject. Kind of like, well, a magazine. Seems like a few other people have thought of this brilliant thing before, after all.

However, I'm not aware of any blogs that joined forces to become one blog. So, what the heck, let's do it. If anyone is interested in contributing to this site purely as a creative outlet for pent up ideas, comment on THIS POST ONLY with your email address, and I'll send you an invite to be a member. Then you'll be able to post just like me. I guess at this point I should lay down some ground rules.

1. I'm a Christian, so no bad language or questionable subjects. If you're not sure, just don't post it. Just make sure this whole blog is something you would be happy to let your 8 year old niece read.

2. Keep it on subject. Only post ideas, mainly for business, mostly for new businesses, and maybe some ideas for businesses already established. If you feel the need to post about your weekend in Disneyworld, do that on your own blog.

3. I reserve the right to censor you or kill your membership at any time and for no good reason. Just think of me as the editor. Hey, somebody's gotta do it.

4. I can add or remove or change rules whenever I want.

5. Anything else I forgot.

This should be fun. Collaboration is the new black. We should all benefit from each other's writing. None of us is as smart as all of us, and all that.

So, welcome to the new and improved blog. Or should I say, blob.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Future of .Mac - Free?

.Mac is the online services suite from Apple Computer.

It began as a free web services suite called iTools and then Steve Jobs changed the name to .Mac and started charging 99 bucks a year for it. But hey, it had email and web storage and syncing between Macs and virus software, as well as some other interesting things, so, fair enough.

However, since they started charging for it a few years ago, it hasn't really improved noticeably. To make matters worse, a whole host of free services from great companies like google and 37signals and flickr have popped up. This left many people wondering why they should pay for a bunch of services that they could sort of get for free elsewhere.

Well, Apple has quietly added a service to .Mac called "Groups". It's a place where you can share all of your info with people in your "group" and they can share it with you. Not too big a deal, though, since the people in your group really need a Mac and the .Mac service in order make the most of it. Without that, they can basically just read you info. Big Deal.

However, Apple is not finished. What would .Mac be if everyone that owned a Mac had .Mac for free, included with iLife? Well, I'll tell you what it would be. It would be the myspace of Macs and a whole lot more. Groups would be huge. All of your friends would be in your group, and when they had a calendar change, everyone would know about it. When you had new photos to share, every one of your friends would get them automatically via photocasting. All of your friends would have access to each others public files automatically. Your group of friends would have their own private message board. Sync all your contacts and bookmarks, not just between macs you own, but with friends of your choice as well.

You see, the smallest change can make a huge difference in something like this. Group sharing of stuff is all but useless unless everyone you cared about was in the group. Really, think about it. Who cares about sharing your calendar if only one or two out of 10 friends gets the update? Who cares about easy photocasting to two people if you still have to email the other 8. How will things change whenever you never have to email another photo, call around to change plans, or when you're online and you notice that 3 of your friends are chatting in a private room together.

Yes, I know we all have IM, but one friend has AOL, another has iChat, another uses MSN, another uses Yahoo! or whatever, so you can never get together unless you plan it and jump through a bunch of hoops. Example: Have you ever called someone to tell them to turn their IM on? What a joke.

Free .Mac for everyone. It's the loss leader that will have people buying Macs like never before.

Why Hello!

I'm not a writer. I'm cursed. I have ideas for things. I have lots and lots of ideas, all the time. Most of them for new business, some for things that current business need to do.

I'm 25 years old and I've started a couple successful businesses of my own.
The first business I started was a great idea, but since I was only 19 at the time, I failed to understand that every good idea eventually degenerates into work, and, well, I really don't like to work. So after the first failure I worked at my second idea and now it works for me. The third as well.

The problem is, I really do have more ideas than time. It drives my wife crazy. And I'm not talking about the idiotic, pie-in-the-sky ideas. These things will work if you work them. Well, most of them. I had one idea to start a company that gives people ideas for businesses. That was a dumb idea. Plenty of people have ideas and no money, but very little have money and no ideas.

So I decided to start this website as a creative outlet for my non-stop ideas. As far as I know, everything I post will be original (although there really is nothing that is truly original). Sometimes it is not original, but there will be room in the market for competition with a fresh angle. There's plenty of money to be made there. Also, I may have gotten a good idea off of someone else's not-as-good one. But that leads me to the next point.

Pay close attention. If you want to use my ideas, just ask, and I probably won't mind (but please do ask). However, if you use one of my ideas, pay close attention to the details. Many times the only thing separating a profitable business and a flop is a small detail that you otherwise wouldn't think is important.

Anyway, have fun, excuse the bad grammar and spelling errors and maybe you'll make a million bucks.