Big ideas (rough draft)

December 2017

Problem/solution pairs are listed in the order in which I thought of them as I wrote this post. This is meant to be a listing of all the ideas I want to implement, but it doesn’t contain full descriptions.

Problem: For people who want to create startups, it’s hard to meet and network with potential cofounders.

Solution hypothesis: A networking website where people can talk about ideas for projects they want to do/are already working on. Websites like focus explicitly on finding cofounders, but this website would just focus on facilitating discussion about interesting projects. Finding cofounders would just be a side effect. We’d especially try to facilitate discussion between people who are geographically close together and who don’t know each other, but it’d also be useful for people who already know each other to keep up to date on each others ideas/projects. Market it especially towards university students.

Problem: The education system sucks.

Solution hypothesis: See my post on education.

Problem: Specifically, CS education could use a lot of improvement.

Solution hypothesis: For BYU specifically: allow students to get more credit for working on their own projects. Facilitate students working together on these projects. Outcomes: 1) students network with each other, 2) students learn to work on teams, 3) students get a better learning experience instead of having to learn everything through coursework. Coming soon: An in-depth post on my recommendations to improve BYU’s CS program.

Problem: Also specifically, it’s hard for people to learn programming.

Solution hypothesis: An online resource that provides an overview/roadmap of the software field. It would describe different things you can do with programming and what things you need to learn to get there. It would contain links to other resources that you could use to actually learn the material described in the roadmap. As needed, we could create our own online courses that are tailored to beginners. See roadmap. Short term strategy: market to parents of homeschooled middle/high school aged kids as a multi-year computer science curriculum. Mid-term strategy: Extend into the university level computer science space. Market the product as a better alternative to getting a bachelor’s degree in CS. Long-term strategy: Use this project as a foot in the door to implementing the education scheme. Displace university education in general, in addition to probably high school and middle school.

Problem: Listening to music you like/finding new music/managing music collections still takes too much time and effort.

Solution hypothesis: A music app with a better recommendation algorithm. Only input is skip track or keep listening. The app learns what songs to play based on your history. Also the app integrates multiple streaming/cloud services with your local music collection. All your music in one place, and it knows exactly which song to play without you having to choose a station or anything.

Problem: It’s hard to create production quality music without selling your soul to a record label. Corollary: music consumption is heavily restricted by copyright.

Solution hypothesis: Open-source the music making process. Create some sort of “Github for musicians.” Make it so musicians can succeed just fine without record labels. Especially focus on amateur musicians. Hopefully we can create a system where musicians can thrive but digital music can also be free.

Problem: It takes too much time/effort to be politically active.

Solution hypothesis: A politician recommendation system. You tell the system what issues are important to you and what your stances are. The system helps you to use your vote wisely. It knows what politicians you’re eligible to vote for. It uses the politician’s voting record to show how well they represent your political preferences. This creates accountability for the politicians.

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