I’m an ideas person. From time to time my brain decides to work on things and decide what would be a good money making idea in the area of computers. Frequently I look at where things are with computers and can see ways where it could go if someone put in the work to develop software to solve problems you never knew you had. That’s why I’m writing this post. With the time I’ve had and the experiences with living in a new city a couple of what I think are multi-million dollar ideas have been whipped up by me. They need some fine tuning, but mostly they need some implementers. If I don’t find a job by Wednesday, it might become my job to develop one of these.
Firstly there’s the financial industry, and personal banking. What I would like to see is a programming interface into my own finances. Much like the way that there is software packages out to manage portfolios automatically based on some programs. In the stock market example I could easily write a program to sell all my programs with a certain percentage of stop-loss automatically, or base a buy/sell order on the performance of key indicators without me having to pay attention to what’s happening. That way if my money is being managed by a good piece of software (that I write myself or get from somewhere else) I don’t have to worry as much about a stock crash taking all my money with it, or loosing out on a soaring stock. In the personal banking scene the organization abilities have always been limited. I’d like to be able to file my money into folders, by myself, without having to go into the bank to open new savings accounts or new GICs or such. If I had a programming environment from which I could automate much of my banking requirements I could possibly have something that I could specify my goals to and have it determine the best course of action. My money could automatically disperse income/deposits across all my different savings plans, or determine whether to use a GIC, buy bonds, stocks, or a savings account in order to save for a vacation or home. It could be setup to recognize when a paycheck was deposited and distribute that differently from irregular deposits.
Further, with time there would be some serious money management programs out there hopefully available for purchase. I might be able to someday install a program that manages my money in a style similar to Warren Buffett, or get the Royal Banks children software aimed at providing an allowance and saving the rest of the money in the account.
I would love to see that system in place. The trouble is having an API into the banking world to make transactions, and queries. Then developing a language, and a way for everyone to install and use the programs developed for their own finances.
A Real-time program that could do speech-to-text and then post or stream directly to the internet. The uses here are for immediate access to information as it happens. Say there’s a hockey game on and you don’t have a TV to watch it but you want to know what’s happening. Have a computer connected to the internet with a TV tuner somewhere listening to the channel, to a conversion of the talking and have it post it immediately to a website. Or at a Steve Jobs keynote speech, some one in the audience has speech recognition running on their laptop with a microphone and a wireless connection. It’s not as nice as audio or video streaming but much easier on bandwidth. With the same software you could talk a blog posting.
This wouldn’t be too hard to put together. It’s more a matter of hooking together the appropriate things to pipeline voice to text to web.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about automation. It’s something that I focused a lot on in my last job, and now I’m keenly sensitive to what and where things could be automated. With the purchase of a new cell phone I’m curious to know what could be done with it that today is either difficult or unthought of. With a cell phone there is basically a small computer in everyone’s pocket. When you step back and think about what exactly it is… you have a computer a microphone and speaker possibly with a color screen, java, and internet access, memory card reader, camera and video capabilities. That’s a lot of options for IO with the user, and a high level programming language for the developers.
The cell phone market is open for business and very few people are taking advantage of it. There’s room here for someone to write the first really big cell phone/online game, or a VoIP conversion to route calls away from the telco network and over the internet through a skype account. Someone could create a service to backup cellphone address books online as they change on the phone. Write text editors, email programs, graphing calculators, games, toys, financial tools, media players/viewers, or a whole host of online services that could be aimed at what is a communication device. Dating services, SMS notifications of anything and everything.
Ideally first the phones would have more power and a better operating system. But these things a possible today, and should be attempted before the task of writing this stuff becomes to easy and everyone enters the market. If it isn’t already, the cell phone software market will someday soon surpass the billion dollars/year mark