Category Archives: Business Ideas

Philanthropy Ltd.

Another business idea:

Since the publishing of the Whitehall papers, and especially more recently since biologists have found chemical proof for why exactly this happens, we have known that as your social status worsens you take on more stress, your immunity worsens, and your lifespan lessens. But what we have not done is sufficiently clarify what defines your social status, or help people change it by redistributing wealth based not on financial but rather social status.

Philanthropy would do exactly this. It would be a website, onto which participants paid a set fee of about £10 a month. Minus a 5% fee to cover costs, this site would redistribute the money based on social status, rather than financial status. And what’s more social status would be defined by participants.

Thus when you signed up you would answer a series of questions like:
. On a scale of one to ten how much do you enjoy your work?
. Do you own a pet?
. Do you have a long term partner?
. How many times a month do you meet up with friends outside of a work environment?
etc.

From the answers to each question the participant would be given points, which rank them in a social status league table. Those at the bottom of that table would receive more money back than they put in, whereas those at the top of the table would not get anything back.

Obviously there is a problem of honesty. If you want money back you could purposefully answer in a way that makes you rank lowly. Now existing research leads me to say that this is not usually the case when people are asked about their social status. But of course there would have to be research done to see whether people really would be honest enough when financial incentives are involved.

However if every participant was allowed to help decide how certain factors affect social status there could emerge a much more complicated picture. You could for instance be asked how often you listen to music and not know what the optimal answer should be for how it affects your social wellbeing.

And this would also provide people with clear incentives as to how they can improve their social status in non-financial ways. It’s very frustrating for some people that big wig businessmen are seen to have the highest social status, when in actual fact they may be single, have no pets, no friends, no hobbies etc. Such a business could potentially, not only redistribute wealth, but also challenge our existing perceptions about what social status should really relate to.

And there may even be potential for governance implications and for business profits, though the latter would only be a side-effect as the main aim would be charitable. A lot of future business potential lies with data mining, and this initiative would create a data mine like no other. If enough people signed on it would allow governments to rank themselves internationally by Gross Social Wellbeing. And some of the data (there would be an opt-in clause for people willing to have their data shared, rather than the rather more dubious opt-out clause) could be sold to businesses looking to capitalise on desires to move up the social status ladder.

Thoughts?

Life University

Another business idea. Do you know fiver.com? It’s a website where anyone can sell and buy anything for $5. It’s a completely decentralised business model done on the cheap, which encourages innovation and also efficiency. How does this business model contrast with that used by universities? Universities use expert teachers, trained over many years, and recruited by a standard appointment process. For your standard degrees it is right that this is so. But doesn’t this leave a gap in the market? What about all the local knowledge that’s being lost, particularly in rapidly developing countries. And what about all the people with a passion for teaching their subject area who might have some time free, but not want to pursue a life long career in academia?

A Life University would merge the standard educational model, with the decentralised model used by fiver.com. Anyone who wanted to create their own profile as a teacher or consultant could do so on this site, specifying what they have to teach, how much time they have and what money they would be prepared to accept. And then whenever someone comes on looking for knowledge in a certain area, they would know longer simply have to search the internet for the relevant information. They could instead go to the Life University’s website and key in:

I want to learn……………

I’m prepared to pay……………….

I have this much time…………………

Further details e.g. preference for face to face, one on one, internet etc………..

After having keyed in these basic details the website would pull up a list of teachers and consultants who fit the search criteria, and the searcher could then pay one of these people to teach them. The administrators of the site would ensure that a good service is given. The Life University would hold the money until the course/class was delivered, and if the teacher/consultant doesn’t respond more than twice in a row they will be taken off the site.

What do you think? Have you heard of anything like this having already been set up?

The Culture House, an embryonic business idea

The idea is to have a place where people can meet to relax, share ideas, customs, values, traditions and culture. It would be a business run on the cheap, designed to give people opportunities to showcase their abilities as well as at the same time be a relaxed place for people to meet, have a drink and a bite to eat.

So imagine a circular hall. In the centre of that hall there is a small shop and a kitchen, and around them there are tables and chairs, with international displays in the windows containing facts of the day, artwork from schools and universities around the world etc. There’d be blackboards and corkboards dotted along the walls so that everyone and anyone could write/pin up interesting ideas and pieces of trivia about anything from around the world. And of course children could draw while their parents relax a bit. The shop houses unique local gifts and items from around the world, as well as the sort of things you’d find in a Tourist Info Centre like free leaflets about holidays etc. But the unique thing would be that there wouldn’t be any paid chefs, and thus it would only take one person to run, as well as some good advertising – it’s an idea that work better in a recession, and near students.

People would come in and cook themselves, which would mean that for example of group of students could come in with frozen pizzas they’ve bought from the supermarket next door and wack them in the oven while they sit and chat and enjoy the atmosphere of actually being in a proper venue. There would be a chart on the wall and if anyone wanted to really cook properly, taking up table space etc they would write their names next to a certain time, and come in to show off their skills, and hopefully international cuisine. That way student chefs could come in to practice, and invite donations from people who want to pay for their food. The owner/manager would collect the recipes of these dishes and have them on display around the central kitchen part, so that others could copy them and add their own.

And there would be a place sealed off at the back of the building where business meetings could be held in a unique, international and open-minded environment. Non-profit organisations and passionate individuals could also book the room for free when not in use by businesses, to spread their own ideas, and they could put leaflets about the event in the shop.

It’s more of a hobby kind of suggestion than anything else, as money would have to come from the meeting room, and donations – there’d be donation boxes in-built into the walls or at every table. Ideally you would situate it with the main window looking out onto the countryside, and perhaps down onto an arena used for horse riding or something like that. That way people could watch from the comfort of the Culture House. And of course there really are a million and one ideas to add to this or tailor it in some way. For example you could have a television at one section tuned into international channels, shows about the day of the week that it is at any one time e.g. today (March 6th) there would be something about Christian Feast Day for various saints, something about Ghana seen as it’s its Independence Day, or something about a famous event like the birth of Michelangelo; and on August 5th it’s International Beer Day so the tv would be tuned into something, perhaps recorded, about beer.

What do you think?