Saturday, May 5, 2012

Open Letter to Tom Scott at Klouchebag

It's been four years since our last economic bubble and eleven since our last technology bubble, so it's possible that another one is coming soon. Or not. Your guess is as good as mine. I suppose I could pontificate about why one is coming (hint: see Instagram @ $1B), but that doesn't help anybody. Instead, I've decided to create an open plan to take advantage of the existing hype in the market, across multiple vectors. So I've decided to write an open letter to Tom Scott, creator of Klouchebag.

Dear Tom,

Big fan of Klouchebag. Built in just a few hours. Hosted in the Cloud. Leveraging APIs to access realtime data. All the checkboxes for success in today's web. And it came at just the right time, since Klout has obviously jumped the shark with this article in Wired magazine. Not only does Klouchebag boldly claim dominion as "The Standard of Asshattery", but it plays the yang to the ying that has become social media. But this is not a fan letter, it's a blueprint for potential riches as we potentially near the next bubble.

"Social" and "Big Data" are two of the hot buttons in technology these days. Klouchebag is clearly at the intersection of those tsunami trends. It has potential, but it needs the right type of guidance. Here are my suggestions to properly take advantage of the buzz you've created.

  1. Several years ago I wrote several suggestions for how Facebook could monetize their services. With a potential $85-100B valuation at IPO, they are going to look for new ways to monetize the platform. Klouchebag has a play here. So many new friend requests on Facebook are from old friends. Maybe they were a friend before, but what have they become? Klouchebag could enhance my ability to decide if that guy from 11th grade English class should grace my timeline going forward. It could also provide users with real-time feedback on their level of asshattery as they post drunken photos, lunch photos, or requests to help grow organic cabbage on Farmville. Advertisers could tap into this knowledge to offer counseling services, resume updating services, or designated driver services. (Value: $250M)
  2. Google Glasses have geek potential to deliver augmented reality to everyday experiences (Yelp scores, directions, etc.), but where the real potential lies is the ability to eliminate awkward small-talk or introductions. By embedding Klouchebag scores into the glasses, combined with facial recognition, anybody could easily avoid hearing about your recent breakup, your uncomfortable perspiration issues or how bad your latest airline experience was.  (Value: $100M)
  3. With the 2012 election coming up this fall, and both parties leveraging social media more, the ability to capture demographic data becomes critical. Which cities or states are the klouchest? Which issues bring out greater klouchey emotions? Is there a correlation between asshattery and campaign contributions or proclivity to vote? (Value: $200-500M from each party, plus licensing fees to major TV networks)
  4. Many Apple fanboys enjoy the Siri personal assistance capabilities of the iPhone 4S, but it's a 1:1 service. But too many of us spend way too many hours on conference calls and in meetings. Where is the service to stop a meeting at the 23 minute mark and proclaim the level of asshattery is reaching epic proportions? Enter Klouchebag-for-Meetings, an add-on service for WebEx, LiveMeeting or GoToMeeting. It could signal the host, notify all participants, or just shut down the meeting to avoid grave horrors and debacles of Biblical proportions. (Value: $150M)
  5. As more and more of our buying habits move online, with impulse services like Amazon Prime or One-Click, the chances of letting things get out of control continue to grow. Do you need help? Should your friends and family be able to step in when you buy that rare Marvel comics lithograph or your 12th Ed Hardy t-shirt? Klouchebag could be like an online BatSignal for yourself, or the ones that care enough to not let you wear skinny jeans in public. (Value: License revenue from Square, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, etc. - $1B year.)
I could obviously go on and on about the possibilities. But the potential is there. The technology is there. And the bubble might just be right around the corner. Let's get together and create the next unjustifiable buy and parlay that into Mark Cuban level riches.

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