Thursday, December 09, 2004

Morally Bankrupt Business Plans, Part I

For a while now, I have been coming up with morally bankrupt business plans. Some of them are posted on my old web site, but since the life span of that site is unclear, I thought I would move them over to here. And post a few that I've come up with since then.

The plan for the day is: Free Cell Phones for The Masses.

Very simple. You give out cell phones. No cost for the phone. No cost for calling during certain hours. (say limited nights and weekends, or something like that.) Cell phones aren't too fancy, but who cares. They are free.

How do we make money? Same way we always make money in morally bankrupt business plans. Marketing! In exchange for these free cell phones, everything is on the table. We can listen in on your conversations, we can track where you are, we can call you with advertisements, we can sell your calling patterns to the FBI, and so forth. With location-enabled cell phones, we can roughly tell where people are. We can easily sell lists of people who walked into a "Hot Topic" three times in the last week. (Or, as a community service, we can also turn those lists over to either the local duly constituted fashion police and/or suicide hotline.)

The data aggregation is the really big thing here, I think. We'll get SMS -- that's easy text mining. Voice recognition is a little harder. Speech recogition is pretty bad right now, but I don't think that really matters. When you have thousands of hours of conversations, accuracy isn't the most critical thing. What we want is the high points. We'll have a data set that will rival the NSA's. (and possibly technology as well.)

Most Likely to Adopt: Google.

(large amounts written after the publication "date," one of the more troubling features of blogger.)


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