Sunday, May 17, 2015

Start Me Up

The world has more articles about start-ups than it needs. The main news in any article is usually the recently secured funding and the rest of the article comprises of -
  • the name of the start-up, which must have an ‘x’ instead of an ‘ex’, a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s'. A ‘kart’ or a ‘cloud’ thrown in there makes you fit better with the rest of the crowd,
  • a picture of the young 20-something founders, usually all men, which might be causation and not just correlation,
  • the eminent colleges they graduated from, usually engineering colleges, which might be a deeper level of causation to the previous proposed causation,
  • the lucrative job offers some of them turned down or left
Willfully ignoring the insipidness of the start-up’s idea, and ignoring the inner voice, which is hopefully still there, that keeps telling them to write about something more interesting or relevant, the journalists often opt to add some human interest to this story and squeeze in a few quotes from the founders. When that age group is given a platform to sell something unambitious, it makes for very Brendan-Rogers-press conference-after-every-defeat sort of talk.

So while the smartest people in the world continue to spend their hours figuring how to get more people to click on ads, and we continue to get 140 characters instead of flying cars, and the start-up bubble hasn’t burst, and outsourced jobs keep funding our new found disposable income, and VC funding keeps issuing subsidies in a strange show of communism disguised as capitalism, I want to get my foot in the door too with some ventures of my own. Ventures, plural. I'm starting a conglomerate.

Product: Clothes

Idea 1: Plus Size Accessories

There already are companies selling plus size clothes, as if you could be any other size, but I have never seen any company sell accessories. Depending on your gender and which stage of being fat you are in, you might find our company’s products so nice that you become regular customers –
  • Chocolate flavoured belt buckles that don't poke you when your tummy spills out over your jeans
  • Shoulder bag straps, with strategically placed pouches to ensure the straps don’t tuck in between your chest and belly, or any other crevice that you don’t want accentuated. The pouches are designed to carry peanuts, candy, etc..
  • Cookie dough scented t-shirts that spread the sweat in the sort of patterns body builders sweaty t—shirts have, instead of just a patch over your stomach and two tiny pools just below your chest.

Our brand ambassador will also be provided a
personalised marshmallow casing to protect
against scratches and injuries from the ground

Idea 2: Clothes that fit

While a close relative was in hospital, waiting for a bone marrow transplant match to be found, I realised it’s exactly the same problem at a clothes store - apart from the pyjamas, nothing fits. The inherent variation in bodies is something that one can’t do much about within the bounds of law, but with the right marketing strategy and celebrity endorsement we could convince people that the signature of our brand is ill-fitting garments and that all their friends think it fashionable to wear such clothes. There is only one right size for every person but there are so many wrong sizes that everyone should be able to find a wrong size that they think they look trendy in.

Sagging jeans? Buy a pair of large shorts instead.

Services: Renewable Energy

We already encourage donating the organs after someone dies, but we cremate and bury whatever is left. The ones cremated, as seems to be typical of their generation, just lie there adding to global warming. Whoever (or whatever? At point does whoever change to whatever? Remember to clarify before printing brochure) is buried will take a million years and specific weather conditions to turn into fossil fuel. This also leads to the problem of not having enough burying space or crematoriums. Our company could instead purchase the remains and feed them to a biogas plant. For an additional fee, the survivors could watch from a viewing gallery and listen to In My Time of Dying as we load the raw material. People probably don’t understand the technology so we could even try and convince them that the light in the bulbs, and the air currents from their fans, would contain a bit of their loved ones.

The logistics challenge would be of consolidating the raw material from all over the place to a few central locations but
we could generate revenue on the side by making it a Pirates of the Caribbean themed ride about ferrying the dead

Mobile / Computer Apps:
Our launch plan includes these three apps -

Idea 1: Intelligent Video Scrolling

VLC scrolls either 1 minute or 3 seconds a time. Shows with credit sequences which are not a multiple of 3 seconds require you to waste an additional 1 or 2 seconds every time you watch an episode. This is on top of the time you've already wasted to get to the nearest point. Similar problems exist in other media players too. Our app tracks the audio and video and your scrolling behaviour to identify the credit roll start and ending point and lets you skip it with just one click. People have different scrolling preferences for almost all videos that we watch, if you know what I mean, and the premium version will let you use the app on non-TV show videos too.

Idea 2: Joining Teleconferences and Staying on Mute

We all have pointless work meetings which we join and go on mute, or forget to join altogether, while playing video games or visiting the toilet. Our app synchronises with your calendar to identify your meetings. It automatically dials into the teleconference, automatically puts you in mute, automatically puts them on speaker, and automatically mentions, in your voice, that you are on mute because you’re driving or something. You may continue yelling expletives at the FIFA screen or taking a very noisy poo without having to pause. The premium version automatically texts your mother at a configurable frequency.

Idea 3: Play Contextual Background Music

Remember that time when you almost ran 2 kms at the gym? Wouldn’t it have been much cooler with Eye of the Tiger playing in the background? On the day after the spell of constipation gets over, would you prefer the eerie silence and rumbling or When the Levee Breaks? What about the time you were manning the pet store and a foreigner walks in looking for insects? Who wouldn’t shell out a tiny amount of money to have Pretty Fly for a White Guy blaring into your ears as you rift through your stock? Our app listens to your conversation and monitors your body functions to identify appropriate songs for anyone, anywhere, anytime. The premium version does not play any pop.

Your data is safe

Software: Machine Learning and Big Data

There are so many start-ups, that venture capitalists themselves are now a large attractive customer group needing data mining services. A question frequently posed during the early stages of scouting is what the breakeven point will be. Our team of experts will use mathematical models to give you an idea of when a scouted enterprise might break even. We can prove our accuracy to our first client by predicting our own breakeven point as the day after the meeting and charging them the amount of money we need to get there. Thereafter news will spread fast and business will boom. We shall secure a lot of funding and since our costs are only running computers and labour, we will set aside whatever is left over. This will be used to make last minute purchases from start-ups which we predicted will break even on that day but don’t look like they will make it. Once we’ve bought enough things, we start an eCommerce division.

Show them a breakeven diagram and get one of them to publicly mention that they learnt this in college. They will all
nod in agreement because no self-respecting Ivy Leaguer would ask classroom doubts in front of other Ivy Leaguers.

eCommerce: Refer Software

At this early stage, I only have openings for marketing and salespeople. Pay will primarily be in equity. Leave a comment, if interested, with a 100 word summary of yourself, your motivation, and why you're the best for the job. If you're interested in investing or buying me out, you may use as many or few words as you please.

Note: Not 100 words each. 100 words total.


  1. Renewable Energy !! loved it !! ha ha ha .. good one buddy !!

    1. Thanks, dude.

      I assume this is not an application to the vacancies I've listed.

  2. Man, you deserve a lot more credit for your blog posts. :)

    Maybe one of your start ups should be one that encourages clickbaiting and then you might get more hits

    1. Thank you, random citizen. (like this -