Thursday, April 30, 2015

An Interesting New App That Can Tell You How Old You Look

I remember years ago, if you went to a carnival, there would be  guy standing by a scale who, for a dollar, would guess your age within two pounds or your weight within three pounds. If he missed, you would win a stuffed animal. He would almost always be right. But if he was wrong, he only had to give out the toy, which probably cost him less than a dollar in quantity.

Now, I haven't seen an app or web site that guesses your weight (hey, there's an idea for a startup), but there is a site that guesses your age. It is called HOW OLD DO I LOOK? and the web address is How-Old.net.

What you do is type in the name of a person who's picture you want to find on the Internet (like maybe yourself), and it comes up with a group of pictures. Click on the picture you want to check, click on the Use This Photo link, and a page appears showing the estimated person's age.

If you can't find the picture you want on the Internet, you can upload your own photo from your computer.

It seems to err on the side of younger for older people and older for younger people.

An interesting idea, which should trigger other similar startup ideas for you.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Beyond James Altucher: More Mega Trends for the 21st Century

If you haven't heard of James Altucher, you probably haven't been on the Internet for very long. He has published over a dozen books, been interviewed many times by the press and blogs, and has written numerous articles on widely varying topics including investing, personal growth, running a business, publishing books, interpersonal relationships, yoga, entrepreneurship, and many, many more.

In his latest book, The Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth, he talks about the seven mega trends for the 21st Century, and how the knowledge of these trends can make you money. For the entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and investors, being aware of these trends can help you determine what kind of company to start or invest in, or if you already have a business, what areas to expand into.

The seven mega trends that Altucher came up with are...

all spelled out in his book and are covered in great detail. I don't want to give them away, since the book does a great job of explaining them, plus I highly recommend the book anyway.

Also, what I would rather do is mention some additional mega trends that startupers and VCs should look into. My trends may not be as 'mega' as the ones that Altucher has come up with but even though they are more narrow, their impact is great. Here they are.

Asset Rental

Why did Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft come about? People needed money, they owned assets (houses, cars), and rented out those assets to generate income. I believe this need for income will be covered by other personal asset rentals.

For example, do you own a Porsche Driver's Select RX Bike, or a Callaway Big Bertha Iron Set or even a Stellar S14S Excel Surf Ski Kayak? If you don't use them every weekend, why not rent them out? Anyone who is considering buying an item like this might want to try it out first before making a major expenditure. Or someone who skis but doesn't own a pair, might just want to rent some nice ones for a weekend. A deposit would need to be collected of course.

Even better yet, why not create a website/app that would put the owners and renters together. The service could cover the payments and deposits.

Drought and Water

Maybe this is more of a California thing but the drought in California is a major issue and keeps getting worse. In addition to affecting individuals with their water consumption, it will affect the price of produce which will eventually affect the rest of the country. Any business connected with recycling water, desalinizing water, or just getting water from somewhere and providing it to consumers and businesses should be drowning in money.

In regards to some water startup ideas, how about an app to track your water usage? Devices for capturing rainwater and purifying it? A way to convert grey water to usable water, at least for plants? Fake but realistic looking lawns (this is starting to become a big business in California)? Transporting water from heavily rained on east coast and midwest states to the west? The ideas are almost limitless.


Maybe this is another California thing but I don't think so. I was driving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles, and as I reached the LA basin, I searched for a radio station that played classical music. After scanning the entire FM spectrum, I discovered that more than 50% of the stations were Spanish speaking stations. Spanish is very common in California and many other states.

If you are English/Spanish bilingual, you have a big advantage. The possibilities are unlimited. Providing Spanish versions of websites and apps has big potential (those automatic translators are not perfect), and can help businesses reach significant new markets. Translation services in both directions, tutoring services, teaching, subtitling, and so on. Bilingual TV programs will become more popular.


It is inevitable that marijuana will be legalized, it's just a matter of when. Initially for medical purposes and eventually for recreational purposes, as you can see more and more states moving in that direction.

I heard recently from a friend that the tax revenues from legalized pot in Colorado is so great that the state is considering either building brand new schools throughout the state and tearing down the old ones, or sending out a check to every resident of the state, similar to what the Alaska residents receive from the oil royalty fund.

I haven't had a chance to verity this or not but if it is even close to being true, it shows that legalization can be a big source of income for state governments, and even the Federal government, not to mention the jobs potential.

What amazes me is not the number of people that use marijuana (the number of senior citizens that use medical marijuana is enormous), but the number of people that don't use but support marijuana legalization.

The trend is there. It is just a matter of choosing the right business idea. In terms of ideas around the legal weed industry, they should be fairly obvious. Just make sure that whatever you do is currently legal.

Mega Trends

Hopefully, these mega-trends will give you some ideas about where to put your money and your energy, whether you just want to be an armchair investor, take an ownership and management position in an existing company, or startup your own company. May the trends be with you.