Business ideas are everywhere. They're like water. If you're a smart person who understands business and pays attention to the world, you will see opportunities constantly. Most of the time there will be dozens of people all having the same brilliant ideas. What actually counts is execution. To prove it, I'm throwing out a totally viable idea each week.
The Crowdsourced Bookstore
Look. I love books. I like the experience of a good book, its weight, its ability to dig more deeply into a subject or story than I could ever sit still for online. But I don't like bookstores. I live in Portland, home to the world's largest bookstore, Powell's City of Books. Here I am, wandering through a giant city-block multi-story monstrosity, where I can find virtually any book ever written, and all I can think about is how overwhelmed I am by the sheer range of options I have. I know that most of the books I can choose from are going to suck, and I have no way to know which I'm likely to enjoy, much less want to tell everyone I know about. I can hardly even make up my mind which subject to browse. And the big box stores are even worse, with their slavish devotion to the new and popular, throwing out on display every book I am most likely to revile, with that rare gem of a book among them. The book in the store I'm most likely to enjoy is in the stacks, and yet I have no way to find it amid the tens of thousands of books that just don't appeal to me, because they were chosen for their appeal to the mass consumer market. Or if I go to a Wal-Mart or an airport kiosk, all I have is worthless popular crap, 2010 edition, aimed at an audience with an IQ of exactly 100.
So what we need is a vastly smaller bookstore, where every title is selected as a standout winner, a book that's likely to blow your mind, as only a great book can. The best on every topic that matters, the smartest, the best-written. Curated stores, not warehouses. Trader Joe's, not Safeway. A place with just a couple thousand titles. Something oriented to the increasing demographic of intelligent young creatives who probably spend too much time on the internet. Now, how do you select which titles? Crowdsource it!
See, one thing that the crowd is good at is sifting through vast amounts of information, and pulling out the most interesting stuff. Assign the categories, limit your available slots, and let the obsessive-compulsive book-loving internet people of the world figure out what exactly you should sell. It'll work.
Here's the benefits: