Friday, March 25, 2011


Take a trip with me. A trip back in time....where are we headed?

To the year 2003.

(For those of you who can't think back that far, here's a refresher: Justin Timberlake had just released his 1st album, skinny jeans weren't in fashion, and everyone was sure Bush was months away from being kicked out of office.)

Most importantly, I was a senior in high school, and there was exactly one thing on my mind: COLLEGE.

I won't bore you with the details of my obsessive-compulsive college search habits (I mean, hasn't everyone had their guidance counselor file a restraining order against them once or twice?)

The important thing to note is how well-prepared I was to navigate the maddening world of college applications, scholarship deadlines, school visits and alumni interviews. I credit a lot of my preparation to my older sister. Having been through it before (and done well enough to go to Princeton, no less), she had a really strong grasp on what it would take to turn me into the essay-writing, SAT-killing, future-billionaire I was destined to be. What a lot of people don't know is, I wouldn't have even *applied* to Harvard if it hadn't been for Lauren. And look at me now! I'm practically swimming in Alumni-of-the-Year Awards.

I was going to put a pic of Harvard here, but they frown upon non-approved uses of their image. Even from their most esteemed alumni, which I clearly am.

The fact that one suggestion from my sister changed the course of my life considerably got me thinking: what do the people without an amazing big sister (or mother/father/mentor) do? I suspect most of them end up applying based on things like proximity, tuition requirements, and their friends. And while all of these are perfectly fine considerations, they're certainly not the only considerations. I would argue that they're not even the most important ones.

What if someone had stepped in at the beginning of senior year, and told one of those 17 year olds "Hey, you've got great grades and you're interested in computer science. Have you ever considered the University of Texas? Their CS program is ranked top ten, and they give out thousands of dollars in scholarships to budding programmers."

Well this idea aims to fill in that gap: a website for college seniors that provides school recommendations based on the student's GPA, interests, test scores and extracurriculars.

Let's call it: would act as a mentor to all of the college seniors out there in need of a little extra guidance. Students would give us their stats, and we'd give them a top-ten list, separated into "safety, fit, and aspirational" schools.

The list would contain a link to each school's website, so the students could browse their options easily. There'd also be a "compare schools" tab, that would allow them to do side-by-side comparisons of their top choices.

Make the right choice. (PS Harvard please don't sue me)

Once the students made their decisions about which schools to apply to, they'd plug in their choices and be given instant access to a "Deadline Calendar," which would clearly mark application deadlines, scholarship deadlines, FAFSA requirements, Prospective Student events, and so on.

How would it make money:
....Well...I'm still working on that part. My first thought was to have Universities pay a small fee when students apply via my site. I see that being problematic, however, because I imagine top-tier colleges may feel that paying for applicants is beneath them. I could also charge students to access the site, but I don't really see that being feasible either. So basically...I'm still working on it.

If you have comments or suggestions (especially concerning potential revenue streams...), holler back.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friend me...No seriously though

Last week was for the lovers, this week is for the friends.

Or actually, those in need of a friend.

The problem:
You move to a new city because you get an amazing job offer. You're making more money, you live in a bigger apartment, and you've got a 401k. You are, to quote Jim Jones, "Ballin".


There's only one problem: you're absolutely miserable. You have no friends, and no idea how to make them.  Sound familiar?

It should. Statistics show that the average worker will change jobs ten times between the ages of 18-38. And according to the New York Times , "One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year." While some of these people are simply moving from their uptown loft to a downtown closet (living the American Dream, obvi), for many of us these moves take us to new cities altogether.

Despite the fact that your facebook page says you have "friends" in 38 states, the reality is, moving to a new city often means starting all over in the friend department.

You, more accurately depicted.

A website dedicated to connecting people based on their personalities, interests, and beliefs.

I know what you're thinking: that website already exists - it's called

And you're right - there's an endless list of sites that bring people together to date. But almost none of these sites exist for the sole purpose of helping people make friends. is the only site that comes to mind with a similar mission, but Meetup connects people based on their interests.  That's great if you want a group of people to go skiiing with, but there's nothing to guarantee that you won't be skiing with a group of douchebags.
We love skiing.
One thing I learned the minute I left college was that making friends is hard. In college, you see the same people day in and day out, many of whom are at least somewhat similar to you, and all of whom share your goal of making damned sure college is the best time of your lives.

Post-college, the avenues for making friends shrink considerably. For one thing, going out on a Tuesday night is a lot harder when you have to wake up at 6:30 the next morning, so people spend a lot less time socializing. For another thing, striking up conversations with strangers is...awkward, to put it mildly.

 That's where the website steps in. We'll call it ""

Here's how it would work:

  • You log in and create a member profile
  • You take a "personality survey" - similar to eHarmony's, but shorter and less annoying
  • Once the survey is completed, people whose interests, beliefs, and personality traits are compatible with yours are marked as your "matches"
  • You meet, become best friends, and your humorous-yet-touching tale becomes the story of a mid-90's sitcom. spokespeople
 The site would be free, of course, because nobody wants to pay for friends.** So the main revenue for the site would come from advertising, and perhaps, eventually, I'd partner with other companies to offer deals for our subscribers, and take a percentage of the deals revenue. For an idea like this, though, the main focus would be building the user base. It's like Google says, "Focus on the user and all else will follow."

And by "all else", I mean "billions of dollars". Awesome.

So that's the gist of the idea. Holler back with your thoughts.

We love paying for friends.
Shoutout to how-to-be, fotolia, puro pedo, rites of patches, janheller,   

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meet me at the alter

This idea is for all the lovers out there.

More specifically, the lovers getting married.

Anyone who's ever tried to plan a wedding, or watched a friend planning a wedding, or had the pleasure (used loosely) of viewing the movie 'Bride Wars', knows how stressful planning a wedding can be. This idea seeks to eliminate some of that stress.

The problem:
Despite the fact that weddings are supposed to be glorious, fun-filled occasions where two people declare their love for all to see, the stress of actually putting a wedding together can turn even the sweetest couple into sworn enemies.

Why? First of all, weddings are expensive as BALLS. According to the people who know these sorts of things, on average, US couples spend $24,000 on their wedding. That's right, people are spending TWENTY FOUR G'S on a 30 minute ceremony, a plate of dry chicken, and the opportunity to watch grandma do the electric slide.

Second, planning a wedding means purchasing and coordinating a lot of different services, including:
  • Florists
  • Cake makers
  • Caterers
  • Gown retailers
  • Tuxedo rental providers
  • Wine suppliers
  • Reception designers
  • Ceremony officiators 
...the list goes on and on.  Sometimes brides will hire a wedding planner to help them coordinate all of the moving parts, but in doing so they a) add on additional costs and b) still spend a good deal of time going from place to place with their planner, trying to find the best buttercream-frosted spongecake money can buy.

You just spent $2400 on cake. CAKE.

The solution:
Consolidate all of the moving parts of planning a wedding into one central hub. Let's call it "KJ's Mega-fly Wedding Superstore Extravaganza". Or we can work on the name later.

Anyway, here's how I'm envisioning this Wedding Superstore would work. We would house all of the essential wedding services in one building (we'd need several floors, obviously). The first floor would be gowns, 2nd floor would be the caterers, wine suppliers, and cake-making companies, 3rd floor would be the florists and reception designers, etcetera etcetera.

Brides who buy a gown with us get the services of an in-house wedding planner for free, if they agree to use at least 3 of our in-house services - which...wait for it... they get at a discount. SAY WHAT!?

I envision this scenario being a win-win-win.

The bride wins because she

a) saves money with the free wedding planner and the discounted services and
b) saves time running around, because everything she needs is in one spot

My partner companies win because they

a) have a guaranteed customer base and
b) don't have to worry about marketing costs, since marketing will be provided

And I win because

a) I get to spend all day thinking about weddings (every girl's dream) and
b) I get rich. Filthy, filthy rich.

What are the cons, you ask? HOW COULD THERE POSSIBLY BE ANY CONS?!?

No seriously, this plan has plenty of potential flaws. For one thing, since I have no intention of actually starting all of these business from scratch, I'd have to work with a LOT of different business, somehow incentivizing all of them to set up shop with me.  The legal implications of that make my head hurt.

For another thing, I have no expertise in any of these industries...could make finding investors a bit difficult.

But why focus on the negative? The question is - is it a good idea? If it is, I can work on the particulars later.  Holler back.

Shout out to: Slaton bakery, terrellvanity, bvonlove,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

If I hear one more techno song I'm going to stab myself in the eye.

Picture this:

It's Saturday night, and you're getting all dolled up to hit the town with your friends. You've got on your requisite freakum dress, sky high heels, false eyelashes and teeny tiny handbag (that can barely hold your cellphone). Or if you're a've put on some cologne.

Your feet hate you.

You get to the club/bar you've been told is THE place to be, only to spend 20 minutes standing on line in the freezing cold. Once you finally make it in, you find that a) the music is LAME, b) nobody's dancing and c) you can't hear anything, which makes talking to your friends a no-go.

Sound familiar?

You see, I have this theory.  Even though we all *think* we like going out and partying in strange places with strange people, the reality is that most of us would prefer to party with the people we know, in settings we dictate

Which brings me to IDEA NUMBER ONE:

A bar made up entirely of customizable party rooms. Here's how it would work:

  1. People would pay by the hour to rent a room, similar to a karaoke bar with private rooms.
  2. Once in the room, customers can party the way they decide. They'd have access to things like beer pong, karaoke, board games, playing cards, a TV to watch the game (or if you're me, Real Housewives).
     3. They'd also have access to a sound system so they can play their own music, or pump in the HOT JAMS from my own personal playlist (no techno. ever.)
     4. Like a karaoke bar, customers would be able to order drinks and food while they party. They'd     also have the option to purchase an open bar package, making their night as boozingly awesome as can possibly be.
    There are lots of reasons why I think this is an awesome idea (and not just the fact that owning my own bar would give me unlimited access to all of the Pinot Grigio my little heart desires). But I'm not writing all of this to hear (see?) myself speak. I wanna know what YOU think. So if you think it's a good idea, a horrible idea, or something in between, leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

    Til next time,

    P.S. For all of you reading this and thinking "of COURSE kj's first idea would involve alcohol" know me too well.