My Mantra

Helping brands and leaders be more influential
by embracing their humanity and personality.

Hall of Crap Archive

The Selfie Silencer And Other Silly Startup Ideas That You’ll Wish Were Real

The greatest word The Simpsons ever offered to the English language was “craptacular.” When Bart Simpson used it to describe Homer’s Christmas decorations, he introduced a much needed concept for us all: something that was so bad it might actually be good.

Today we are in the age of instant startups, where launching an idea from a garage suddenly seems needlessly spacious. Yet with that ease of creation also comes the occasional silliness.  Or perhaps not so occasional. According to Bill Gates, as much as half of all Silicon Valley startups may be silly, and two thirds of them may be going bankrupt.  So in my own attempt to celebrate a day filled with jokes about “Gmail Shelfies” and plenty of other April Fools gags, I thought it would be fun to create my own list of a few craptacular startup ideas. You know … ideas so bad they might actually be good.  Here they are:

1. Escapr – Take A Vacation Without Taking Time Off.

Need a quick escape from your daily life?  Escapr can help. Just choose your departing airport to see ALL flight options (because when you’re escaping it doesn’t really matter where you go). After you book the best flight and hotel, the site will automatically create fake doctor’s notes to get you out of work, create an Out-Of-Office email reply (with the appropriate apologetic tone), send a car to pick you up and drive you to the airport and partner with a mail order clothing retailer to send a bunch of clothes in your size to your final destination.  There is no annoying time researching your trip, and no evidence for anyone to find after your escape is over that you ever took the trip.

2. SelfieSilencer – The Social Ego Muffler

Sick of duck face photos?  Too many friends sharing those annoying “look at me after I worked out” selfies?  That’s not a problem anymore with SelfieSilencer. This is a mobile phone app and browser tool that automatically filters out images of selfies on all social media platforms. And the best part is you don’t have to worry about accidentally missing out on important celebrity selfies (like Ellen at the Oscars) because our built in Selfie Influence Meter algorithm will identify those critical selfies and make sure they still make it through.

 3. Cloakr – Disappear Socially. Be The Real You In Real Life.

Do you feel like you can be the “real you” on social media? Probably not. But we don’t care about solving that problem for you. Instead, we want you to be yourself in the real world interacting with real people!  We invented Cloakr to be a single kill button for all social media sharing.  When you enable Cloakr on your phone, we plug into every social media profile and turn every type of sharing or update off.  So when you’re “Cloakd” – you’re completely invisible to all your social media connections.  Sound nice?  Check out our site and get Cloakd today!

4. KarmaAlert – Karma Happens. Don’t Miss It.

You don’t have to be Indian to believe in karma. When you meet someone who is rude, angry, selfish – often you know it will lead them towards bad fortune … but sadly you probably won’t be around to see it.  We want to change that.  With KarmaAlert, you can sign up for a text message that will automatically be sent to you whenever that obnoxious person you met experiences their “karma moment” of misfortune.  You can spend a moment to delight in that misfortune they so richly deserve, the universe returns to its regular order, and you can go merrily on your way.

What’s Next?

Clearly the next step in “embiggening” (another Simpsons word!) these concepts is to hold a Hackathon event to challenge teams of developers and entrepreneurs to build and launch them.  But I need your help.

Which of these startup concepts would you like to see built in real life? Or maybe you have a better suggestion?  Please comment below on your choice for the most promising idea and maybe together we can get enough people interested to build it.  After all, any entrepreneur can ask why.  More of us should choose to ask, why not — because you don’t create something craptacular without first making a commitment to try.

Domino’s Proves You Can Simultaneously Have Great Advertising And Bad Marketing

IMG_DominosLeadership

Great advertising appeals to emotions. In the world of marketing pizza, this usually leads to some new “innovation” in pizza making that might induce cravings and cause people at home to pick up the phone and place an order for delivery. The formula is so time tested, that the latest series of ads from Pizza Hut follows the cliche perfectly…Read More >>

5 Reasons All The Hype About .anything Domain Names Is Like Y2K

5 Reasons All The Hype About .anything Domain Names Is Like Y2K

The land grab is officially starting. For the first time since the popularization of the Internet, the big news today is that ICANN is opening up the ability for the creation of new suffixes that come after the dot, such as .com or .org. The open application process lets any organization apply to be the manager of a new top…Read More >>

The Best & Worst Marketing From BlackFriday + CyberMonday

The Best & Worst Marketing From BlackFriday + CyberMonday

The fact that most retailers use the term "doorbuster" to describe their best deals from this weekend should tell you everything you need to know about the frenzied few days of retail activity that traditionally follows Thanksgiving day in America. Despite futile protests from lots of unfortunate retail workers who had to give up parts of their holiday, stores opened…Read More >>

Influential Marketing Blog Featured in Wall Street Journal

Influential Marketing Blog Featured in Wall Street Journal

Many of you may have already caught this yesterday, but this blog was cited in the Recommended Reading  section of the Wall Street Journal yesterday in an article by Keith Huang.  As Jay Berkowitz from Ten Golden Rules shares on his team blog, my blog was one of 60 resources that they recommended to the journalist as part of their…Read More >>

Can Anyone Solve This Ticketmaster Riddle?

Can Anyone Solve This Ticketmaster Riddle?

I am a passionate hater of Ticketmaster.com.  Paying a surcharge to a site whose main purpose it is to make it difficult for me to complete an online transaction seems wrong on every level.  Imagine you were forced to make every travel booking for any hotel you ever wanted to stay at through Expedia.com.  That’s the equivalent of the monopoly…Read More >>

Shell Has Eureka Moment, But Sends Wrong Message

Shell Has Eureka Moment, But Sends Wrong Message

Good advertising is based on insights … a singular idea or truth that gets to the heart of a product or brand.  The trouble with insight, though, is that it comes in two forms.  There is insight that can help you to create a great communications message – and there is insight that can help you do your business better. …Read More >>

Newsflash for Ask.com: The Algorithm is Dying

Newsflash for Ask.com: The Algorithm is Dying

In case you hadn’t heard – Ask.com has a new advertising campaign through their new partnership with Crispin, Porter & Bogusky (CP+B) focused on making a hero out of the algorithm.  The idea behind the marketing strategy is described on their blog: If you get great search results, you don’t care why or how you got them.  But for more…Read More >>

Learning from Blackberry's Social Media Marketing Mistakes

Learning from Blackberry's Social Media Marketing Mistakes

Blackberry’s recent "Share Your Stories" campaign was inspiring for me, though probably not in the way they intended.  I actually love my Blackberry, but their entire "Share your Story" campaign just struck me as lacking in any of the lessons many other marketers have learned about Web 2.0 marketing and what works in social media.  The mistakes were so basic,…Read More >>

Airport Security Bins and 10 Other Spots We Need Advertising

Airport Security Bins and 10 Other Spots We Need Advertising

Apparently, the latest "innovation" in advertising is offering up ad space on the bottom of those security bins used in every airport.  Despite fears that it might confuse people during an already confusing moment of separating liquids and laptops into quart-sized bags, it seems that airport authorities are ready to go ahead with the plan (according to a piece earlier…Read More >>