Category concept

Advanced Straw Technology

This one is an idea from the past, but it still hasn’t come to life yet. I’m sure a start-up named Sip(R) is right around the corner and will bring this into reality. Maybe with adverts or something, but alas, here’s the raw idea.

Ever been to a movie? Ever seen how large the soda glasses are coming? Ever joked about how big are they going to make them next? Ever then found yourself wondering how come you finish the super tanker of soda before the movie is even half-way done and you still are thirsty?

Well, your solution is the new advanced straw technology. One where your drink will never run out, never get cold, and you can switch flavors at any moment. How is this possible you ask? Well, with our new advanced straw technology, when you’re checking out with your tub of “buttered” popcorn, instead of a cup, they will sell you a straw. It will be an advanced straw. Not just a plastic (or now corn-based) plastic tube. Not just with a bendy part towards the top. But an advanced straw featuring a safety backflow preventing valve, and a proprietary locking joint at the bottom end.

Great, but where’s my cup?

No need. You walk to your seat and make yourself comfortable. Then you dock your straw in the matching proprietary locking joint in the armrest of your chair (you know, where the stone-age cupholder used to be). Once docked, the little led screen will appear letting you choose which flavor you would like, then just suck. Yes, just suck on it. And out will come your drink, plenty cold. And it will just keep on coming. No need to worry how much you drink. An unlimited amount of of your favorite flavors is at your elbow-tip. The credit card you have on file will be charged the amount of drink you have sucked by the end of the show. So if you just want a sip, you pay one price. If you want to drown your sorrows in syrupy goodness, you can another. And with special super-drinker club promotions, you can even buy an unlimited drink plan where each month you can drink a small portion of your overall allotment. Perhaps you bought the “drain the Amazon” size plan. Or “California is sinking” plan. Either way, you can just keep on drinking.

With all the advanced safety features built into the straw, you don’t need to worry about backwash, contamination or any of those needling worries you might have sucking nectar from an armrest.

But that’s not all. Given that we live in the world of smart phones and smart watches, instead of relying on a dinky 2 line LED readout under the arm of your Triple Goose sleeve, download our new app and you can mash up your flavors from our nifty app. Ever wanted Sprite Beer or Dr. Hi-C? You can now and it’ll all be served up in your nifty new advanced technology collectible souvenir straws. There’s the Straw Wars Episode VII straw featuring the return of Jar Jar Drinks. And don’t forget the new Alien Reunion themed straw featuring Sigourney Weaver’s scream that rings out every time you take a sip.

Aren’t you thirsty? What are you waiting for?

Video Billboards in Concert

Don’t know if it’s in any advertiser’s future plans yet, but it was in the dream I just awoke from – someone spent a lot of money to make a city-wide spectacle using those video billboards.

Don’t ask me which ad agency snuck into my cerebral cortex last night or what the pitch was, but ultimately what I saw in my dreams was a gigantically staged set piece that was only possible because the tv has been writ large and elevated to the roof top.

I was somehow having a rooftop party, and so were lots of my neighbors. Out on the roof and at one end of a major boulevard in town, I looked down the street and suddenly noticed all of the video billboards showing a coordinated piece. It looked like dancing. I don’t think there was any audio, I think it was the perspective and the sudden realization that they were using the entire boulevard and its inventory of video billboards to make a big event. 

As I looked across the town, which had its usually light fog creating a complimentary glow to the big monitors, rather than blocking any of the view. In addition to the boulevard I lived on, there was another parallel boulevard in the distance that was also part of the display.

It was at that moment, just as I was remarking to myself and the people at the rooftop party that this had to have been the most elaborate and expensive ad I’d ever seen – skydivers started appearing in the sky. Seemingly, the actors from the giant screens were now dancing and dropping from the sky. Many landed on my roof and were roundly congratulated by my guests. As we showed them how to get down off the roof, we all basked in this amazing experience.

Weird. An amazing dream time spectacle indeed.

Speed(ing) Dating

I was sitting in downtown SF watching the comings and goings of a much younger crowd. I was near a gym and there was this constant stream of people in and out. And in front, I saw this weird dance taking place. People would stand at the curb with their phones out and cars would come and go. There was the “traditional” car sharing transactions, but also some of the new mobile valet services which I’d never witnessed yet. But while I am familiar with Ubers and the like at a high level, I wasn’t quite prepared to see multiple, separate groups being picked up. I saw a dance of strangers trying to make sense of what the appropriate way to interact with another stranger in the backseat (or front seat) of their Uber.

Which made me think… You’ve got just a few minutes in the backseat with a stranger… Speed dating!

Why not have Uber know a bit about your dating preferences and then squash two potential mates in the backseat of an Uber and let them have a short commute to figure out whether they want another ride together?

You could rate your companion just as you do the driver.

The driver could have a series of ice breaker topics/questions – if needed.

Swipe left if you like, turn right if you need a little more time with that special someone.

A Camera Reflection

As I think about the progression of things towards “free”, I keep running into instances where “if only they added another” becomes ever more likely/practical.

I was trying to take a good photo of my baby girl as she sat in my lap today. I was using my iPhone and everyone knows how hard that can be to take a good shot with. An earlier piece pointed out how eventually, which the ever cheaper price of displays, that they’d have displays on both sides of the phone and in this instance, I would have been able to see what I had in the viewfinder. But I couldn’t.

The photo didn’t come out all that great, but as I emailed it to my wife back at home, I thought for a moment that not only did the photo show little of my daughter and I, but it didn’t show much of what was around us. So my wife had no way of knowing where we were.

So I almost took a picture of what we had been looking towards at the time of the photo, which happened to be Treasure Island here on San Francisco Bay. But when I stopped myself from doing that, I realized that with the decreasing price of camera lenses, why doesn’t the phone just do it by itself?

The new iPhones have cameras on both sides, so that should be trivial, right? Just a software thing. But what about other cameras? SLRs? Doesn’t have to be the same high-end lense/photo, but why not just add a bunch of smartphone cameras to all sides of the camera? That way you could get context for your photos. The camera could somehow store them in a way that software on my computer could connect the two. Just as they have GPS coordinates embedded in photos, why not photos of what was on either side or behind me?

Never know what you’ll see as things move closer to free.

A Better Use of Your (Reading) Time

How about a website that lays an interface over the avalanche of books that allows people to create playlists of books and articles for people looking for exposure to a particular topic.

While that alone would be useful (to me), how about taking it a step further. Why not expose Pandora-like functionality where I enter a book I read/liked/was told to read and it would show me similar books. This list might be used for additional readings or perhaps readings which would be more appropriate.

How would that work? Well, say you’ve just read a Malcom Gladwell book and you want to read more on the subject, it might recommend you read Gut Feelings by Gerd Gigerenzer whom Gladwell drew from.

Or vice versa, suppose someone recommends you read about motivation and drive – they just read Drive by Daniel H. Pink, but it seems a little too difficult for reading on the beach (or bus), wouldn’t it be nice to know that reading Linchpin by Seth Godin might give you some of the same takeaways?

Or I guess in my case, when I have a stack of unread books on my nightstand and a megabyte (what’s the equivalent new term?) of ebooks on my Kindle, how do I know which to read next? I might not want to read two books that are very similar back to back, or I might want to read something lighter after plowing through a scientific treatise.

Who’s going to build it?