October 8, 2009

Digital Alchemy

You wait for ages for a good idea and then three come along at once.

A few years ago I heard someone pitch an idea on Radio 4 that was so good it hurt. It genuinely made me a wee bit pissed off. promised to do (and still does) what the internet does best: directly connecting individuals who need something with those who have it to offer, cutting out unnecessary middlemen, expenses and hassle.

But was all the more brilliant as its very ‘product’ was space that was being wasted. Effectively this is digital alchemy.

Ever since then I have racked my brain trying to think of other ‘genius’ ideas that can spin similar ignorance (i.e. what everyone else seemingly ignores) into gold. But nothing has quite caught my imagination in the same way. That is until today when not one but THREE ideas have come on my radar.

#1 (that’s presumably Builder Scrap not Builders Crap) connects builders who’ve got excess stuff at the end of a job that they’d normally chuck out with builders/ DIYers who need it. This could potentially save over 90 million tonnes of rubbish destined for landfill every year in England & Wales alone.

#2 ‘Intention shipping’ finds the cheapest means of getting A to B by finding transport that was going there anyway. You just hitch a ride and pay for the petrol.

#3 And finally as someone who regularly splits my time between London and Bristol this is another great idea. Fractional renting makes use of spare rooms during the working week and hands the homeowner their home back on the weekend – happy lodger and happy landlord.

All these ideas were there for the taking, which is mildly irritating but all the more motivating. So today’s lesson is don’t just ‘mind the gap – mine it!’