Loading ...

New blog, $8.99/pound

I was writing a letter to my Dad slowly over a few days, and it occurred to me, why not make this my first blog post? So here it is – first blog post, and more to come.

Hi Dad, no I have not developed a meth habit – this was written over a few days 😉 Genevieve and I were talking about household finances a few days ago, and it reminded me of the question, “if you won the lottery today, what would you do/buy?” It seems like a lot of people don’t have an answer for that (or say “put it in savings” or “fancy house/car” or whatever), and I didn’t really either for a long time. But for whatever reason I’ve been in the entrepreneurial spirit lately and thinking about what kind of businesses/products I would develop (given I had ~limitless capital and could afford to lose a ton of money with that new lottery wealth).

First, I’d like to have a fleet of drones with the latest imaging tech (infrared capabilities, etc.) available for the public to summon and send somewhere to surveil for ~30 minutes (or whatever). With the cost of the drones (I’m thinking in the $50k price range), plus maintenance, plus insurance (say each flight has a 1% chance of getting shot down, and we would inevitably get sued), I imagine we would need to charge at least ~$500 per flight to break even. That’s steep, but I feel like there are people out there who would pay that in certain circumstances to see what’s going on in a given area almost instantly. With the battery range on these, it would have to be limited to the major cities and immediate surroundings. I’ll start with ~5 drones per city, and slowly expand to equal the coverage of contemporary cell services. Not sure what I’d call the company … maybe PIOD for Privacy Invasion On-Demand.

Second, one of the problems with home alarms is that if burglars have been watching and know you’re on a trip, the loud noises and flashing lights won’t spook them. What might spook them is if there were a couple loud thumps accompanying the alarms, as long as the thumps were strong enough for the burglars to actually feel (vibration under their feet). I’m imagining a basic As Seen on TV product that links with your home security system and drops a heavy weight when the alarm is tripped. To make shipping feasible, the weights would be ~1-cubic-foot plastic boxes that the user would fill with water to make heavy. The “added value” here is the link with the alarm system (can’t be too difficult) and the fact that the weights (we recommend two) would slide into plastic shafts that suspend them until dropped (convenient no-mess apparatus).

Third, I want a fleet of autonomous underwater rovers that will search the ocean floor for treasure, wreckage, and new species. The general idea is to cover in time and numbers what experts cover with research. For example, I’m sure the most successful treasure hunters have known where to look (e.g. historic shipping lanes, stormy coasts, they heard a credible story of a wreck, etc.), and I fear at this point that everything in those high-probability areas has been found. The problem with looking everywhere else is that the open ocean is so vast that randomly sailing around on a ship and watching the sonar can’t work. So the idea here is to have several small rovers (say 100) going 24/7/365 filming the ocean floor and tracking interesting stuff with AI. To make it feasible (to possibly bring up the number of rovers to 200 or 300), the cameras could be only mediocre to cut cost. Two big issues are, 1) how do they get power?, and 2) how do we get their data if they’re deep underwater? To solve this, the rovers would periodically float to the surface with basic air decompression (inflate a balloon or whatever), deploy basic solar panels, and float in the sun for however long it takes to re-charge (minutes? months? not sure what’s feasible). All the while, the data would be transferring back to a “base” via satellite. It would be so, so awesome if these things could survive centuries just recharging and relaying data. Oh I guess another problem is that I have no idea how this could make money. Maybe I could convince people to pay a regular fee for the chance to win x% of the “finds” during that month (where “finds” would usually be nothing but might occasionally be very lucrative).

Finally, I want to start a TV show in the same vein as Robot Wars, involving remote control cars (or other vehicles) racing while being shot at (with actual lethal weapons) by people. It would be mostly indoors with a large track that the RC vehicles race around, using basic rules a la “first one to complete 50 laps wins” (or whatever). The difference is that each RC driver (controller) would have a teammate on an upper floor with a collection of weapons s/he could use to destroy the other drivers’ cars. There’s the obvious issue of safety, but I think that could be solved by making sure shooters don’t have line-of-sight on each other, having bulletproof glass protecting the drivers (controllers) on the lower floor, and having the shooters always shooting in one general direction away from the drivers (from the second floor, whereas the drivers are on the first floor). Another issue is how to limit weaponry, because eventually everyone would be bringing in 30mm auto-cannons. I think we could limit it simply by total foot-pounds of force allowed, so for example, someone could bring in a 30mm, but they’d be limited to 2 shots (or whatever). This compared to the person who came in with a 0.22, allowing infinite ammo. I can imagine people taking different strategies, some going for small and fast vehicles and others armoring them with the expectation of getting hit. Something like that. I would watch this for hours.

Welp, that’s about it for now. Things here are good – gardening with Gen a lot, and work is usually busy right now. Looking forward to our trip up there in a few weeks!