Digital Epiphanies Feed

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Digital Epiphanies are all those great ideas that pop into my head and for which I can't stop thinking about until I stop thinking about them.

This blog is an outlet so that ideas can be shared, advanced, criticized and exchanged. So please add your comments and free your trapped parcels of genius by sharing your business ideas. Don’t worry, if somebody actually steals it, starts a business and hits it rich, I’ll buy you a beer.

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Skype: brianlitvack


Live Video Blogging

Video blogging is the hot new thing these days…if you’re a geek. There are silly ninjas, fake real people (lonelygirl 15), tech geeks, and repurposed television shows. As cool as it is, I haven't seen it really catch on. None of my friends consume a video blog on a regular basis.

What I’ve yet to see, and what I think could sustain a more mainstream audience, is live video blogging. Have a blogger upload their analysis as an event unfolds. Send an email immediately after they upload their video and have users view it right away.

I think live video blogging could work well in sports. First, I’ll use the example of “gurus” or experts who pick the outcome of games for bettors. The fact of the matter is that people bet on sports and they are always looking for an edge. I’ve heard or seen thousands of advertisements for hotlines where customers pay to receive picks through a corny voice recording. It would be much more compelling if a consumer could watch video each day of experts picking games. New video posts can even be uploaded throughout the day, at halftime of games, etc.

Before you think I’m a degenerate bookie realize I think that live video blogging goes way beyond betting on football games. I would love to see ESPN’s “Sports Guy” video blog an event instead of waiting till the next day to post his blog. How about seeing Jim Kramer videoblog live throughout the day BOOYAH! Finally, why not have newspapers break stories through video blog by the writer who has the lead. This could give newspapers back the edge that seems to have become so very dull.

Of course live video blogs have a very short life. Unlike a decent blog entry that can easily reach "evergreen" status a live blog is probably useless after 20 minutes. Therefore, the notification aspect is essential. Fortunately, once you setup your computer to video blog it might be even easier than it is to type out a post.

So, find an interesting topic that has late-breaking news and start video blogging it live!

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College Hoopspedia

Of all the recent mind-boggling social phenomenons on the web I might be most amazed by Wikipedia. It is the first place I look when I don’t know something. Every article is constantly evolving and improving and it seems to always have the exact piece of information that I am looking to find. Furthermore, the fact that anybody can edit and modify an entry and order reigns and chaos doesn’t ensue makes me think of it as some kind of crazy validation of Lockian philosophic principles that mankind is virtuous.

This kind of communal, user-generated information gathering would be fascinating if applied to sports. I’ll use college basketball as an example since it’s my passion. I probably have 20-30 amazing and unique college basketball stories. Most have to do with St. John’s – Ron Artest getting tendonitis in his thumb and missing a game after playing street fighter II for 12 hours straight, Fran Fraschilla whipping out his testicles and telling Felipe Lopez he is lacking a pair of nuts, and the many many amazing moments provide by Marcus Hatten.

I am positive everybody has their favorite stories about players, coaches and games. Most of these stories get lost with time. It would be next to impossible for me to get information on Billy Singleton (Malik’s frontcourt partner), or why Charles Minland punched Donnie Marshall (Marshall smacked him first).

I once wrote a nostalgic article about Serge Zwikker, a former UNC center/ogre that played in the early 90’s before the proliferation of foreign players. It was almost impossible to find information on Zwikker. I’m sure a Serge Zwikker wiki would be amazing for college basketball fans.

One problem I have with Wiki’s is that, along with collaboration, their purpose is to allow people to easily work on page output without having to know how to program. So why are Wiki’s so nerdy and scary to update? Why not make Wiki’s as easy to edit as it is to create a MySpace page. Have an interface that is graphical and user friendly – more like a powerpoint tool than the mystical secret language that it is right now.

Wiki’s will go niche. They already have – there is Wookieepidia, a Star Wars wiki, and a group I belong to called NextNY is starting a start-up wiki. But right now my imagination is captured by Sports Wikis. Here are a few more sports Wikis I would love to read

Side-Arm Relievers

College Football Quarterbacks


Sports Announcers


Baseball Cards

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Social Networking - Tatoos

There are probably already too many companies that are trying to do social networking on the web – check out this list. I don’t think the problem is with social networking though but rather with the websites that are attempting to do it. Most of them are pretty lame and are just some rip-off of MySpace (the most poorly designed site in the world) centered on some whack topic. I think social networking is the 2.0 extension of chat rooms, message boards and e-mail groups – and I never heard anybody complain that there was too much communication going on.

I’m a believer that niche communities will continue to grow on the internet. The more focused a community the more useful it becomes to users as well as advertisers. It also makes it easier to better understand the narrow space and hopefully this makes it easier to communicate directly with the community. A good example of this is It plays to the passions of dog-owners who thoroughly enjoy themselves as they frolic on the website.

In order for a social networking website to have sustainable growth and success it must

1) Focus on a topic that users are passionate about
2) provide a real life solutions
3) gain a significant portion of the community

The last few days I’ve been playing around in my head with an idea that I believe is perfect for am online niche community. Tatoos. Yup, good old ink.

People are passionate about their tattoos. I’ve heard it described as an obsession and an addiction. Furthermore, the stories behind the tattoos are often unique and special as well. Many people want to share these stories as well as hear other people’s stories.

Those with tattoos often can’t wait for their next tattoo and the only thing holding them back is that they don’t know what to get. This forum will allow users to share ideas, designs, review artists and share experiences with each other.The tatoo community would be passionate, would have a purpose for people to use the site (find designs, artists, self-expression) and the community itself is easily defined (you either have one or you don’t).

The business model would be advertising by offering access to the online community to marketers, both endemic (tattoo stores and artists) and those looking to get the attention of these so-called punks. I thin a niche community such as this can easily be defined and therefore is extremely valuable to those marketers looking to find this crowd – music labels, clothing, motorcycles, etc.

At the moment, I’m real high on this idea. Going to do some research and interview those people I know who are tatted up.



I know very little about photo journalism and even less about the rights surrounding published photos. What I do know is that it’s very difficult to find pictures on the web pre 1990. Oh sure, it’s possible to find pictures of famous photos such as the one of Einstein above. But, what about the hundreds of thousands of photos that were printed in newspapers and magazines throughout the decade. Are these photos archived anywhere and if so can they be digitalized?

Apparently the answer is yes and yes. Corbis, a creation by Bill Gates is the “industry's richest array of digital image licensing, rights services, artist representation and media management”. Basically, they have the largest stock of licensed photos. Their is also AP, Getty Images and other photo archives. Included in Corbis'catalog is the 11 million photos in the Bettmann Archive. Unfortunately, less than 10% of these photos have been digitized and the rest sit in an underground chamber.

The idea here is to create a marketplace for historic photos for personal use. Give bloggers access to buy or borrow photos. There are thousands of photos of political leaders, world event, places, architecture, nature and sports that are nowhere to be found on the web.

As I write this I realize that there are a few major issues. One is licensing and ownership. Two is that the manual process of digitizing photos is a tremendous undertaking that will take thousands of years. Perhaps the first step would to be to aggregate existing photo archives of digital photos and creating a commerce platform and marketplace.



Online media buying agencies usually interact with sales and marketing companies through a specific paradigm. After working with their client to create the parameters of a campaign the agency will send out a mass RFP. Advertising sales teams usually create a proposal (almost always as a PowerPoint presentation) and submit the proposal to an agency by a certain deadline. If there is interest from the agency or the client they then will engage in more detailed conversation and negotiation with the media company.

There is opportunity to create a web service that will make this initial interaction more efficient and reach a wider audience. A media buying agency would post their RFP on this B2B website with specifics regarding the campaigns. Any marketer/sales team that has been approved (by agency) can view the RFP and respond by submitting a proposal.

The website would provide value:

1)Allow RFP’s to easily reach a wider audience of media companies.
2)Cut down on bulky emails by handling all uploading and downloading of presentations and PDF’s.
3)Allow sales teams and marketers to easily manage all their proposals and quickly view all RFP’s.

The website would not change the manner of which media buying agencies and corporate sales interact. Instead it would just add efficiency and organization to an existing process. The site would also enable more companies to view RFP’s and create more proposals. This should make the market more competitive and lead to better proposals. Let me know what you think, especially if you work in online advertising sales or in media buying.



VHS to DVD to Online

Building upon Cuban’s idea #3….

Start a business digitally converting home videos and VHS tapes. Different services/products could include creating DVD's, uploading videos to the internet, create video website with streaming files and also to encode tapes in different formats and quality.

Customers with VHS tapes would want to do this because digital copies can easily be preserved, copied and shared and having digital copies is a better alternative than VHS tapes.

The cost to do this is shockingly cheap. Set up is easy, margins are high and there is upsell potential for many of the services. There are also ways to utilize youtube, photobucket and the other file sharing sites. Bring in somebody who can use mac video ending software to give the videos a finishing touch.

The key would be how effectively you are able to market the service. Go online and reach as big an audience as possible including leveraging Craig’s list, newsapaper classifieds, message boards and online community sites. Go to local camera stores and electronic stores and let them offer the service and then do a revenue share with them. The target is mom’s, older couples, people with video’s from the 90’s. Customer service and word of mouth are crucial because this idea is not really defensibly and there are going to be competitions. Luckily, there is a big enough market, and definitely localized enough that a bunch of companies providing this service can co-exist.


Mark Cuban's Ideas

Straight from his blog. Here are three ideas that Cuban threw out for others.

ey, im busy. You may or may not be.

here are 3 ideas that if i werent so … busy, I might take a flier on.

1. Txt messaging for 911 and Hospital Emergency rooms.

Most phones have text messaging. Soon, all will. Every city should have an emergy room SMS number that anyone can text with info saying, who they are, what happened, and that they are coming.

It could easily be extended so that anyone could go online and register their phone number and insurance info, so that when a txt was received from your phone number, it automatically pulled up any insurance information and/or patient history so that the entire process can be shortened in the hospital.

it obviously wouldnt work for everyone, but if the process is sped up for some, its sped up for everyone.

And for 911, of course, straight from any horror flick, the 911 for the time you cant or dont want to make a sound, or when a whisper isnt loud enough. TXT 911 with the problem and information. They can text you back.

2. Many high end cars are coming with navigation systems. Put in an address and find it. At least in my car, its connected to a DVD in the back of the car. Someone who is smart, could open up the specs for the DVD and create custom DVDs with the basics like information on the closest 7-11, but also customized information as well.

And if car makers are smart, they add a USB port and a rack so that hard drives can be used and then they publish the specs so that all sorts of cool apps could be created. Or better yet, they could make it IPOD compatible, and chop out 10gbs of the IPOD for this application and the rest could be piped in for music or back seat video.

3. if i had no money, i would start a business going door to door with a laptop and a scanner and scanning peoples pictures for a buck a pic for up to 10, then discount from there. Beats the hell out of mowing lawns or shoveling snow and any kid or adult could do it. If you want to think big time, set up a service with the local drugstore and have people drop off their pics and you go by every day and return them the next day.

Easy money