Dumb Startup Ideas

I’m The Uber of Crap You Don’t Need Often

The latest startup wave is to claim I’m the “Uber of This” or the “Uber of That.” Every idiot with a pen and a napkin is touting their new, Uber of Crap You Might Need Once in Your Life. How about an Uber for Private Investigators (Trustify – A company that 4 years later is out of business and founders Jen Mellon and Danny Boice are being sued for fraud and embezzlement)?  I’ve seen dumber ideas but usually they’re parodies on TV shows like Silicon Valley.

Here’s the thing…. every one of you reading this… raise your hand if you needed or used a private investigator in the last 5 years (Damn, for those of you who raised your hand that was stupid. You know I can’t see you right?  Leave a comment instead). Well maybe in the next five years you will need a PI so why don’t you download one more app you might need like never to your bloated, over-apped phone just in case you want to find a dopey private investigator who wasn’t smart enough to know no one will  use an app to find a PI.

Orrrrrrrrr, on the over-friggin-hand, you could just go to the old Google-machine and type in “who are the best private investigators” and bim bam boom you’re there.  Hey, let me google that for you. Or you could use an Angie’s List that you might use 20 times a year because they list PIs, and Plumbers, and Carpenters, and Electricians, and dog watchers and on and on and on.

That’s the thing… just because Uber Works doesn’t mean that every job that’s ever been done can be Ubered-out.

People who use Uber use it anywhere from 5 times a week to 5 times a year. That’s worth an app. Sit on a street corner, when time is of the essence when you can’t get a taxi and then open up your laptop and try and find a black car to pick you up and take you somewhere…that just ain’t going to work. That’s why there’s an app for that.

But a PI? Do you need a PI in the next 15 minutes? Must it be an App? Do you need a PI to get you out of the rain when you can’t get a Taxi?

Not every business model lends itself to every task and just because Uber is sexy and highly valued doesn’t mean you should try and be the Uber of  Clowns Pretending to go to Harvard or Pretending to be a real startup guy instead of a FlimFlam man.

Here’s a framework to judge the worthiness of an app idea.