Opportunity Monitoring Company

Often I think of ideas for companies that sound great. Upon further inspection, I find that there is some small economic detail that needs to be true before the idea can be a success. For example, my friend David Grayson and I thought up an idea for putting LED stickers on the bottom of glass beer bottles. We figured that we could sell them to beer distributors as a way to promote their glass bottle offerings. The trouble is, the cost of LEDs plus batteries plus stickers is currently too much to make the offer tenable. The price of the promotion needs to be some small fraction of the gross margin on the bottles for this to be attractive to the distributors.

We had this idea about a year ago and we haven't though much about it since. It would be great if there was a company that aggregated ideas like the one above and came up with the criteria for when the idea would actually be economically viable. The company would monitor the inputs: the prices of LEDs, stickers, and batteries. It would also monitor the constraints: the gross margin on glass beer bottles, the total consumption of these bottles. The company might even work with distributors to get them on board before the idea even becomes tenable. The company would then take these inputs and constraints and come up with a equation for when the idea would make economic sense.

By periodically reviewing a large pool of ideas with similar structure to the one above, the company would routinely find ideas that have recently become economically viable. Having a large pool of ideas to select from that have recently become economically viable would be a very valuable service. The company could distribute this value in the form of information, or in the form of implementing the idea using one of its subsidiaries.

This type of company would be extremely exciting to work for because they'd always be dealing with the newest possible ideas that could actually work. It would be exciting to run a report daily, and see that two of our 1 million stored ideas have become economically viable over night.

published 2008-12-10

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