April 19, 2012

Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas

http://paulgraham.com/ambitious.html

I especially enjoy the take on the need for a new search engine and a replacement for email (points 1 and 2, respectively).

I have been giving this a lot of thought recently and I want a search engine that can take multiple types of media; if I see a country flag, I want to be able to take a picture and find out more about the country. If I hear a song, I want to be able to record a snippet and find out who it is by and why they wrote it. I understand that there are services that do these things, but I want it to be in one location and easy to use (with media type detection, etc). But the rub has always been how to get users over. From Graham:

The way to win here is to build the search engine all the hackers use. A search engine whose users consisted of the top 10,000 hackers and no one else would be in a very powerful position despite its small size, just as Google was when it was that search engine. And for the first time in over a decade the idea of switching seems thinkable to me.

Email is the bane of my existence. I don’t want it anymore and I want something better to replace it (or at least faster), but it is so engrained in how people use the Internet, this will be a big job.

Email was not designed to be used the way we use it now. Email is not a messaging protocol. It’s a todo list. Or rather, my inbox is a todo list, and email is the way things get onto it. But it is a disastrously bad todo list.

Agreed!

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