Project ideas

Half-baked ideas for things that might be good, most likely neither new nor well thought through!


Browser tab groups

Problem: We work in tabs in groups. Booking a holiday, researching a topic, collecting insipration, solving a coding problem, shopping for products. But it’s hard to put down and pick up groups. Bookmarks treat pages as individuals. Apps like station suggest we want a quick way to boot up multiple apps we often use together.

So much time is spent in the browser. The Browser is the new homescreen/app-switcher of desktop.

Process

  • Look at different ways apps group things
  • Sketch many different options
    • Glue” tabs together
    • Zoom into a Session”
    • MacOS stacks
    • iOS folders
  • Prototypes

100-hour bootcamps

Intensive bootcamp in a specific skill, inspired by the 10-day vipassana retreat. Free or donation supported. Retreat to a place in the countryside with a group of people. Practice a skill intensely 10 hours a day for 10 days. Observe noble silence, no talking or interacting with others. A space for complete decication to the learning of a skill. Guidance given by a teacher or by pre-recorded material.

Hackable travel accessories

Travel accessories made from cheap, readily available and recycleable materials. Paper, Tyvek, Printing offcuts, fabric offcuts. Supply with glue / sewing kit. Encourage hacking.

First product — my take on the FedEx envelope. For around a year I travelled using fedex envelopes to store documents, sketches, and students’ work while teaching. They make great in-bag organisers as they’re sized for standard paper. Have capacity for a good amount of paper, and fit in the same footprint as a laptop. How about a weather-sealed tyvek version with a roll-top enclosure?

  • Available in a range of colors for quick identification
  • Include a discreet pouch to supply your own stiffener – an offcut of cardboard or plastic sheet.
  • Designed to be affordable, flexible, hackable, and unpretentious. <$20 for a pack of 3?
  • Let people buy the raw materials and make themselves too!

News aggregator digests

Check Hacker News too much? We pull only links with [x] upvotes. You decide the threshold for [x]. Updated weekly, or by email newsletter. Set your own filter level, and keep up with the good stuff without losing time to more transitory content.

Uber for informal shared transport systems

Take what Uber did for taxis, taking payments online, putting certainty into pricing, and reducing the danger and uncertainty. Do this from the tattoos many buses and informal transport all over developing countries. Probably use some kind of tracker inside each bus to locate buses establish roots calculate fees do search pricing etc.

Keep: Inclusivity, offline functionality, the no-need-to-plan aspect.

Slow updates from friends

Facebook is now mostly a filofax full of most of the people I’ve met. I barely use any of the other features, although it is nice to be able to get in touch with an old friend, and have some context around where they are / what they’re doing.

What if had a social network that worked much slower? A mix between facebook and email lists. Have all your friends on there, everybody reachable, but you’re only allowed to send an update once a month, or a similar long time? If you post updates in the interim, they sit on a queue waiting to go out together.

You’d be able to opt in and out of recieving newsletters from each friend, while still keeping them in your network. Only hear from who you want to hear from. Due to the slow nature of updates, each person gets maybe 2–4 peoples’ newsletters in their inbox every morning. They can choose to hear less’ from a given person at any time. Maybe also remove/anonymise reader statistics? Avoid the social approval trap of I must read this so they don’t think I’m a bad friend”?

Mac app that hides all windows when you wake up your computer in the morning

Currently, I open my laptop every morning to be faced with:

  • Half-finished design files I was hacking on the night before
  • A dozen tabs open on news, shopping, blogs, or whatever internet binge I was on last.
  • Inboxes with new mail, messages, and tasty morsels waiting to pull me in. What if instead, no matter where I left off, I’d wake up my computer each morning to a blank canvas? All the dross cleared away from the night before. Ready to begin the day anew. Could be done by:
  • Rebooting computer overnight
  • Hiding all windows
  • Quitting all apps Maybe have a button or option to restore certain windows? Small window with non-enticingly named list of what you had running. Click to restore, or click CLEAR to start anew?

Comparison shop for cities

Like nomad list, but more action-oriented. Pull average accomodation prices from Airbnb, Zillow, Hostelworld, etc. Allow booking. Earn through referral links.

Pricing digital goods for the 97%

Software is priced for high-earners in developed economies. The world’s top 3%. Meanwhile, the rest of the world runs on open source, outdated, or pirated software. Premium software is an order of magnitude too expensive, and prices don’t localize naturally like food or real-estate. Until such people can pay for software, they’ll be second class citizens to makers of digital goods. Could we give devs an API to offer different pricing based on a country’s economic development, users tax code, education status, or other variables? What if Dropbox, Github, Office, etc. were full-price for you and I, but $1/month for a developer in India, or free to a school child in Nigeria?

Startup calculator

A simple web app with easy to use calculator for startup related numbers you need know no.

  • What’s your average growth rate?
  • How much runway do you have?
  • How many WAUs do you have?
  • etc.

Continuity inputs for iPhone

For when you’re using your Mac, but you really need a quick signature or doodle that’s much easier done on a touchscreen.

Mac:click a button / keyboard shortcut iPhone:canvas pops up, user scribbles quick note, sketch, signature, annotation etc. Hits submit. Mac:drawing inserted inline into document, email or whatever


lists