During conversations with friends, I regularly have ideas for websites, services, or other technologies. These conversations happen in person, over email, on instant messenger, via text message.
Ideas, I have found, are relatively commonplace; the real work is in their execution. Sometimes people guard their ideas, keeping them secret out of fear that they will be taken and implemented by someone else first. None of that here. Please, take these ideas, and please, bring them to life. I have more of them than I’ll ever have time for, and even if I were to eventually have time for all of them, they would have long-since lost their relevance. If you find yourself with sufficient knowledge, time, and interest to start work on one of these, I would love to talk about it and hear what you are thinking about what I was thinking.
I’ve continued to have these ideas, and I scrawled some of them in my notebook, left some of them in instant messenger conversation logs for later searching, and saved many of them in Things. I’ve been dissatisfied with how private all of these storage media are, and have been inspired by Alex Payne’s posts on http://ideas.al3x.net/. I’ve considered doing something similar, but I’ve worried that the formality of the text boxes on a proper blog of any sort (whether it’s here or on Posterous or Tumblr) would discourage me from regular and casual posting.
UserVoice to the rescue! Built as a robust user-feedback tool for websites, I realized that I could re-purpose it as a tool for organizing these ideas in a public and collaborative way. Anyone can post ideas, anyone can comment on them, and anyone can allocate one of their limited number of votes to indicate that they like an idea. I hope that this will provide a mechanism for bringing the best/most-desired ideas to the top of the list and act as a useful metric for prioritizing projects.
(Note that there are several other sites that do this sort of thing, but the others are either not free to use or do not have the same collaborative vibe. Full disclosure: betaworks has invested in UserVoice as well as in bit.ly, the startup for which I work.)
There isn’t much on http://webideas.uservoice.com yet, but I’ll be adding more as I migrate over my old ideas and come up with new ones. Feel free to contribute, and please take one and build something!