Brian Ma's Blog (@zealoustiger)

Weekly insights from an Entreprenuer: To spend one year as a tiger is better than to live forever as sheep

Category Archives: Startup Ideas and Inspirations

The Power of Faces

The web has always been social, from the days of its first invention to relay information to today, but what’s really powered the social web isn’t quicker and more convenient tools like IM, Facebook, and Tweets, but faces.  Faces, seemingly trivial, are the fuel to explosive user engagement – why?  Because you only get faces (users only upload their pics) when they genuinely trust your site and when other people see that they’re on a site that other people trust, they also put up their pictures.  It’s a network effect at it’s best.

Take a really simple example.  Look at my news feed on facebook:

Picture 10

Now compare that to my feed on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn Feed

Dramatic difference isn’t it?

Face to face communication has always been the bread and butter of human interactions and with online social media becoming what it is today, it’s coming one step closer to imitating the ‘real world’.  Will technology ever replace f2f communication?  Most likely yes.  Who knows what kind of magic we can invent a decade from now… holograms anyone?  :)

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Can you print me a car please?

Ever since I was six, I’ve watched cartoon after cartoon where the characters takes out some small pill-like device, presses a button, and it becomes a car… or food… or a jacket… or a house…  It seems those cartoonists were psychic.  It’s real stuff.

Intel research is showing off new technology where they can “print” objects.  (Programmable matter – that’s what they call it.)  They also say they’re developing technology to trasmit power wirelessly.  (aka your cell phone can always be charging when you’re on the go)

Crazy stuff.  Read about it all here:  http://news.zdnet.com/2424-9595_22-217501.html

You know what’s crazier?  That guy in the blue shirt with the light bulb is one of my buddies from college.  Great way to catch someone’s eye to blog about it huh?  Small world.

Cyber contact lenses

University of Washington EE researches are putting circuits into contacts:

Freaky, but could have a bazillion cool uses if it was actually safe and low cost.  I’m thinking something like Iron Man’s suit.

  • Portable telescope – zoom in and out
  • LED displays of warnings – hazard areas, detour routes, etc
  • Visual aids for the blind
  • Gaming – definitely gaming.  How cool would that be??
  • Traffic maps, restaurant locators, news reports
  • Heck, lets just stick the entire internet here and let me google anything on the fly and see it literally right in front of me.

Very cool.  Let me know when it works.  I want to write software for it.  :)

Downtown parking: $$$$ Business

(This post is dedicated to my #1 blog fan – or at least the most vocal/annoying one who keeps bothering me on IM if I don’t post for just ONE day.) :)

Today I went to downtown to have lunch with a Managing Partner/CEO/super-experienced entrepreneur who’s been through it all before and walked away with a head full of lessons. I’ll blog about these in future posts, but today, I want to talk (read: complain) about the lesson I learned BEFORE I even walked into the restaurant.

Don’t park in downtown. You’ll lose your life savings. I mean seriously, $14 for an hour of parking?!? Ridiculous. There are so many things I can do with $14: the parking companies must be making bank. I think it’s time I change my business plans – screw online startups, lets start a web 2.0 parking garage.

Oh, and for my #1 fan. We REALLY need to get our ‘other’ business idea going. For the other readers that have no clue what I’m talking about: How much would you pay for a condo building/skyscraper that can hover in place on top of Seattle, move around to all the major cities from time to time and tour the best vacation destinations around the world?

Flying/hovering technology + Real Estate = High priced parking business killer. Lets do it.

Startup Studio: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

Unemployment for me so far has meant – working out alot + fooling around with IPhone + startup stuff. In the interest of multitasking and making my time more efficient, I’ve managed to combine all those things into one.

Check out Startup Studio. As they put it, they’re about “Interviews with extraordinary entrepreneurs. Hear how they did it. Learn how you can too” Not bad huh? Now I can run while tuning in with my IPhone listening to startup stuff.

If anyone has any other great startup podcast/audio sites, let me know. I can’t believe there’s no good comprehensive site for these audio resources. Maybe I should do another startup in this space after I finish with my current endeavors.

Gates’s tech predictions

This article caught my eye today when I was running through my startup ideas. I reposted Gates’ actual predictions here:

1) Television will be married with the Internet, allowing for personalized news and commercials. People will watch more of their home movies on their TV screens, and TV sets and computers will be increasingly connected. Television will be an “utterly different thing,” he said.

2) Telephone sets will increasingly be able to handle video, e-mail, and other digital media. Speech recognition will allow telephone users to ask for information such as nearby restaurants.

3) More and more software will be delivered as a service over the Internet, instead of residing on individual computers.

4) Computer users will have more options for inputting information beyond the mouse and keyboard. Speech and handwriting recognition software will gain in popularity. Computers will move off the desktop, with speech recognition and motion-sensing cameras allowing users to control screens embedded into desktops or whiteboards.

5) More schools will ditch textbooks for tablet PCs that hold dozens of books. New types of textbooks will increasingly contain video and other media.

6) Companies and government agencies will embrace three-dimensional computing, giving users new ways of interacting with virtual worlds. Students will increasingly use software to simulate experiments.

I was actually kind of disappointed. #1, #3 are just obvious. #2, #4 I don’t really care about and #6 is just weird… but who knows, maybe someday I’ll be 3D shopping on Amazon…