Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How My Idea Got Started

Who knew that it would be so difficult to pick an idea and stick with it. Last semester, I started with an idea for a business that involved selling truly healthy items from vending machines. The idea fit most of the criteria needed for a successful business to grow; there was a gap in the market, there was a growing trend towards healthier eating, and there was a legitimate demand for healthy foods. After much research though, I found out that the vending machine industry was highly labor intensive, the market overall was shrinking in size and it had a relatively low profit margin. Ultimately I decided to forgo my endeavors in the pursuit of an idea that had a potential to grow along with technological growth. The idea involves a mobile app that can be used to plan events with friends, as well as meet new people who shared similar interests. 

 My idea for this app came about a couple years back. I had a 2 hour break in between classes which I reserved for lunch. Since I didn't know anyone at school well enough to invite them to join me for lunch, I often ate alone. I would post on Facebook, "Who wants to join me for lunch in Fullerton in at 2pm?" I would get comments from friends farther away telling me they would love to eat with me, but they were too far. So I ended up eating alone. 

 Then something else happened. 

I'm an avid user of Yelp, a restaurant review website. When I go to places, I can "check-in" via my smartphone and it will post a status update on my Facebook telling my friends I was at a particular place. So after checking in, and eating alone, I would get comments on Facebook like "tfti" (thanks for the invite) or other forms of saying, "Why didn't you invite me? I was just down the street." Well obviously I didn't know you were right down the street! 

 The app idea formed from my two observations. One, posting on Facebook to invite people out to eat (or anywhere for that matter) was not a great way of reaching everybody. Two, There has got to be a better way to organize last minute meetups. 

 My solution was a mobile app that uses GPS locations that lets you see where your friends are at any given moment, in real time. Then, if you're looking for a pal to go grab lunch with, at the last minute, you can see who is nearby.

(A cool article about why I think my app would work in today's world.)