All these ideas are already out there…. nothing new. But sometimes it’s fun just to reflect on some of the opportunities. Here’s my list:
1) Combine my inbox and calendar.
Most of my emails that sit in my inbox are there because there is an action item – a deadline or event I don’t want to forget, or I want to followup later but not immediately. Find a way to integrate that into my calendar/tasks so that my inbox can be clean and I don’t forget about things happening in the future.
2) Personalize Digg, Hacker News, etc.
Instead of just sorting by votes, keep track of when I was last logged in and show me the items that I may have missed that got a lot of votes. Make the experience truly social by weighting my friends’ votes more highly, but do it in a transparent way so that I know what’s going on as a user. Make these sites one-stop-shops to getting caught up on important news.
3) Help me better characterize my relationships.
Facebook doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but many of my Facebook friends are out of date – they are high school and college friends, people I no longer know, complete randos. Use mutual friends and other profile information to create smarter “lists” automatically – Facebook does a poor job with this – so I can better manage who I share with and so I don’t have to join a bunch of niche social networks.
4) Build a government portal.
All my tax information, parking tickets, licenses, voting guides, and endless mounds of paperwork should be in one place where I can easily manage them. Build it to handle multiple layers of government (city, state, and federal) and then sell it to underfunded, overworked governments who need it even more than citizens do.
5) Create a bucket list engine.
Let me put in places I want to go or things I want to do. Restaurants, National Parks, Cities, Museums, whatever. Tell me if my friends want to do the same so that we can make plans. Let me know if there are deals or discounts coming up at those places. Kind of like pre-checking-in. Recommend some cool ideas every now and then. But don’t let it get annoying, please.
6) Built Mint.com for fitness.
Link to the Nike thing in shoes, or to a pedometer. Synch up with a scale or other devices. Let me track my vitals as I embark on workout routines to see if I’m making an impact. Create beautiful graphs with my data to keep me motivated. Don’t make me enter information myself.
7) Help my Grandmother connect.
She has arthritis, can’t see well, and can barely operate a VCR. She doesn’t have a computer. Find me a way to send her Instagram photos of the Golden Gate Bridge and make her a bigger part of my life.
8) Build an advocacy platform that goes beyond Change.org.
Let me subscribe to causes instead of just filling out a petition. Let me know when my elected representative votes for or against my cause. Keep me in the loop on changes. Tell me when I need to step up (but be careful not to do it too much). Enable the internet to mobilize SOPA-style for other issues – like the environment (my biggest concern).
9) Help me disconnect.
Build apps that reduce buzzing and vibrating; services that reduce emails sent and received; programs that unsubscribe me from things. Help me identify files to delete or archive, friends to drop, subscriptions to cancel. Only computers can tame the chaos that computers have created.
10) Make online dating less creepy and time consuming.
Oh wait, I’m already working on that one. Maybe stick to one of the others…. I had to get my shoutout in here somewhere.