I really hate to say this, but Fear is big business. Ever since 9/11, 3/11 and then 7/7, fear in the U.S., and the U.K. and Europe, is cranking up to a whole new level and a whole new industry. Maybe it’s time micro-ISVs cash in too.
[backstory] As I was working this morning on a post for http://ToDoOrElse.com, I went searching for a reliable online service that would do just one thing well: alert me via email if and only if there was another 9/11-type attack. I want to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, stop spending so much time on “News Alerts” that are unimportant or don’t affect me directly.
I was disappointed with what I found. Outside of this one unimpressive site, I found not a thing that would watch for the one thing that matters more than all the rest, and in the meantime let me go on about my life. Not Homeland Security or Ready.gov (such much for my tax dollars at work), Google Alerts, Google Gadgets, Windows Gadgets, the AP, Reuters, the Washington Post or CNN.
You can read about what I came up with in Outlook here.
Where there’s a need, there’s opportunity. Since I have enough on my plate, I thought I’d toss a few ideas out here in the hopes they (ahem) spark a micro-ISV vision that can become a reality that I’d pay good money for.[/backstory]
Take these ideas, please!

  • The Emergency Alert system. Give me one web site online where I can enter my email, my geographic location, my level of desired fear and 100% reliably send me a high importance email telling me of a tsunami warning or a terrorist attack in my country. For an extra fee, I want what residents of Fairfax County, VA (adjoining Washington, D.C.) have.
  • Life Reboot. Online secure storage is getting big time. But have you seen an app that will tell me which documents I should scan in (Driver’s license, insurance papers, will), my email/telephone contacts, track when they should be rescanned, is absolutely, positively hackproof and secure, yet accessible from any browser. Me neither. Yet Amazon Web Service S3 puts this kind of service within reach of micro-ISVs.
  • While you Sleep.
    This thread at Business of Software got me thinking about a few potentially positive applications of WiFi and cheap web cams besides making Big Brother a reality. Besides being able to monitor babies, what about elder care? How about “premium” parking spaces in garages where there’s someone watching your new toy 24/7, even if that person is in another country? What about intensive care units? How about recreational boats moored at a community harbor like this one?

Sum it up

Fear of the unknown is always harder to live with and cope with than knowing what is happening, and frankly, it’s an easier sell. One of the big trends shaping the world today – from my tiny corner of it to the whole show – is the multitude of ways technology might, just might, reduce that fear.
Thousands of companies are getting into the Fear business big time: maybe If you’re thinking of starting a micro-ISV, it’s time you got into the fear business too. And maybe there will be less to fear in this world.

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