Small Ideas, Big Companies

    January 28, 2006

Turns out in the past hour I’ve met strategists from eBay, Yahoo, Amazon. They are here to see the small ideas. Some of them are pretty cool.

Here’s my favorites of what I saw at the Entrepreneur 27 event that just concluded at Stanford University.

Flagr. Take a cell phone. With a camera preferably. Walk into a sushi restaurant. Take a picture of the front, of the menu. Of the food. Write a little review. Send it to Flagr. It puts it on top of a Google map. Very cool. Limited window to make money, though. This is too big an idea to be ignored by Google/Yahoo/Microsoft for long. In the meantime Flagr is it. Here’s a photo of the Flagr team with TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.

Skobee. No, this isn’t named after me. Heh. But, let’s say you want to find something to do tonight. So you email your five friends asking what’s up. That all causes a flurry of email. But, while that flurry of email is going on Skobee is listening in and is keeping track of what you’re talking about and builds a site for you automatically (and, if you’re clueless, it helps you find something fun to do).

Billmonk. When Buzz and Doc and I shared a room Buzz picked up the hotel room and he said “you owe me some money when you get your expenses back.” Turns out Doc owes him money too. How do you keep track of situations like that? Billmonk. And you can do it from your cell phone. Text 603 to Billmonk and it’ll automatically create an entry that says your friends owe you $20 each.

LicketyShip. When Robert Pazornik, co-founder of LicketyShip was hanging out with his buddies in Yale they wondered why they couldn’t apply small-idea thinking to the shipping business. FedEx and UPS had done the big idea (moving boxes around by shipping through a hub). But they were at their local computer store one day wondering why they couldn’t move a box of toner down the street in a few hours. LicketyShip is their answer. They found that in certain areas they can use existing courier networks and a smart database of their locations to ship packages across town in less than two hours. The eBay and Amazon strategians were first to visit their table, they have an impressive small idea. Ever want to email a 200MB video file to someone? I have. Yeah, I’m an edge case but there are other reasons you’ll need online storage. Backup. Moving servers. And such. is the answer. They have a cool gadget for the Google online page (I’m trying to get them to build one for too so you can play with your server-based files while you check the weather.

I met Michael Arrington of TechCrunch there too. He says he’ll have a review up shortly of the event (update, it’s up). I said “I’ll stay here and beat you.”

Robert Scoble is the founder of the Scobleizer blog. He works as’s Vice President of Media Development.

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