Posts byThe Starter

Reality Show: Seed My Startup

Hey, look, it’s been five months since my last post, and before that I posted about fifty times in two months. How can I go from hyperfocus to chasing butterflies that quickly? I have a lot of catching up to do here, but there’s not a lot of time for that now.

I realized the reason I started this site and poured out a couple months of ideas almost daily for awhile was because I was burnt out on the idea train. I come up with new ideas every single day, and jump head first into the best ones. After a few months of that, I have a burn out period where I can’t keep up, so I do nothing. Well, now I have this site for that.

I’m actually not feeling completely overwhelmed just yet, so I’ve only come back here to log some things for future posts so I don’t forget, and I thought I’d post a quickie while I was at it.

So, here goes…

Imagine if you took the Shark Tank TV show one step further and each week you watched a new company get awarded with some kind of seed money for starting a business. Maybe not exactly like the Shark Tank where the potential businesses try and have it all mapped out ahead of time. It would be nice to see people come in with ideas and get some pre-seed money to run with it.

Maybe most fizzle out or die because of a lack of business sense, but maybe there’s a couple of gems out there that actually turn into something. Maybe there’s a future Rockefeller out there who just needs a little starter cash to flip the world upside down. The other side of that coin is maybe all the future Rockefellers of the world find a way no matter what the odds.

Other than the main story of someone receiving this seed money, we could use the remaining time left can be dedicated to updates on other start ups and ongoing projects to see where they all are in the process. What do you think? All I want is a producer credit. Let’s talk! Just kidding. Please don’t call. I’ve grown accustomed to limited human interaction and I’ve convinced myself I can get plenty of Vitamin D from the warm glow of my LCD’s.

Internet Panhandling

Well, I missed posting in October. Too busy reigniting a passion for my real estate property website idea that apparently has yet to make it to the pages of this blog. Soon I say, soon.

Remember when internet panhandling was all the rage back in the early 2000’s? It was the SaveKaryn website that seemed to start it all. As soon as the media picked up on her site/story and wrote about it, there were copycats galore popping up everywhere. I visited a handful of them back then, but can’t remember any of the others now. I doubt they still exist anyway.

I remember being in disbelief that someone would have the gall to publicly beg for money for being financially irresponsible. Just as some people like to attach themselves to tragedy, others do the same for popularity, so people gave and gave and bailed Karyn out of her financial mess. Good for her for hitting on something that hadn’t yet been exploited yet. Still shady though.

I never wanted to be in the virtual begging realm, but I do remember thinking there’s better things to donate to, such as real hardships and not some careless spendthrift. I remember being inspired by this idea and thought it would be fun to have a gift giving website or amateur TV show where people could nominate others, tell their story and why they deserved a helping hand, and each week one person or family would be selected and surprised with a chunk of change (financed by sponsors of course).

Of course, this whole internet begging thing has evolved into two species like future humans in H.G Wells novella The Time Machine. It’s now called fundraising or crowdfunding, but the action is the same. You set up a page asking for donations for something or someone you deem needy, and the two species of neediness are defined by what each potential contributor considers worthy.

For me personally, the opportunistic ones that appear selfish in nature or resultant from poor life decisions are no better than internet begging. No thanks. But the ones I’d consider are unforeseen tragedies, paying for medical treatments, or doing nice in some way for a true giver. Everyone’s different, so your mileage may vary. That’s by no means an exhaustive list of what I’d give to, but rather a short list of the kinds of requests I find worthy of kindness.

Not that all personal donation requests are bad, but I’d be a lot more stringent in my decision making process to figure out if I thought the person really deserved a little extra coin for their endeavor. The good thing about GoFundMe and similar sites is that to some degree they legitimized asking for money in a non-sleazy way.

While Karyn may have benefited from something new, I don’t think her story would have resonated much sympathy from the masses today the way it did more than a decade ago. If her story ended up on GoFundMe in 2015, I suspect all it would generate is attention on the most ridiculous GoFundMe requests lists.

So, how could we take this idea and turn it into something? For some reason it seems disingenuous to talk about making money while saying you’re trying to help people. I really don’t know how you could do it better than GoFundMe, but maybe this idea should be something you start with your heart and nothing more.

How about this. Buy a domain, throw up a quick WordPress site, then give yourself a moniker about being an anonymous benefactor. Then pick a deserving campaign and donate. You can stay anonymous and still plug your website in the comment field.

If you notice you’re getting some website traffic/attention from your giving, give people the option to contribute anonymously through your site. Perhaps for every dollar the individual donates gives them one vote towards the pre-selected group of campaigns that are chosen for that week or month. This might be really fun.


Now, if any affluent individuals with a penchant for philanthropy would like to support a struggling blogger and wannabe entrepreneur in need of psychological treatments to help him focus on one (or a few) select ideas, please donate to my GoFundMe page.

Coin Collecting Starter Kits

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a bin of foreign coins from all over the world. The coins aren’t worth much, if anything at all, but I’ve still tried to come up with ideas to creatively raise their perceived value in various ways.

I tried the coin jewelry thing, but that only lightens the load one coin at a time. I thought if I got those coin pages that fit the 2 x 2 mylar coin flips, I could sell hundreds of coins in one shot. It would also be ideal as a beginner’s coin collecting kit for someone just starting out.

I purchased a nice new all black three ring binder with vinyl front and back pockets, then loaded it up with the coin pages I bought at BCW Supplies. I already had a number of the coins in those paper coin flips, so I started loading them into slots until I had an entire binder full of coins.

It immediately struck me that it was really heavy and shipping was going to be a problem. I wanted to keep this product fairly inexpensive, but when the shipping costs come in at close to half of the price of the product, that could pose be a problem.

I came up with an idea to lighten the load. There was a company I had purchased bulk foreign currency from years before, so I found a mixed country lot containing a few hundred pieces and ordered it. I also ordered some of the three pocket polypropylene currency pages.

I kept the coin pages to a maximum of three which totaled 60 coins and it still weighed plenty, but it wasn’t as bad as before. I used some magazine backer boards I had laying around to use as a divider, then added ten to twelve currency pages filled three bills to a page.

For the exterior front and back, I printed out color photos of foreign coins and currency and slid them under the protective vinyl that encompassed the binder. I even wrote a short thank you letter and tucked it into the inside sleeve of the binder.

I thought it actually looked pretty good, but I was also biased since it was my creation. I took a bunch of pictures and slapped the first one on eBay and it sold in the first day. Woot! I immediately put up another one and nothing happened for two weeks, and yes, if you’ve been paying attention you probably already know that…

…this is where our story ends for this product.

I still have two collections ready to go. Interested?

Talking Criminal Sock Monkeys

If you’ve read some of my stranger ideas or found yourself singing along to some of my lyrics, you might be starting to think I’m a different, offbeat type of guy. Yes. Yes I am.

Case in point. The title. Yes, you read that title correctly. I got the inspiration for talking criminal sock monkeys from Cabbage Patch Kids. I searched for the cheapest stuffed animal I could find and sock monkeys seemed to be it. There was also a lot of information on making your own, so naturally I jumped ahead to imagine a sweatshop of my very own filled with grandmothers churning out sock monkeys.

OK, sock monkeys are fine for kids, but what could we do to differentiate ourselves and also make them into something an adult would buy (either for themselves or for other adults as a gag)? Make them into criminals. Instead of a unique birth certificate being included with every one like Cabbage Patch Kids, the sock monkeys would come with a lengthy rap sheet.

I think that novelty would be enough, but I also thought it would be better to make them talk too. Stop for a minute and think about all the funny stuff you could come up with that a scumbag felon might say. All you have to do is squeeze the little monkeys stomach to hear his unique catch phrase.

You might think this was only a passing fancy, but no, I actually created a prototype.

I found an eBay lot of five sock monkey chew toys for dogs. They were about a foot tall and had one of those devices in them that made a squeak when it was pressed (or bitten). I found two small message recorder buttons for stuffed animal craft projects and recorded some hilarious (ok, funny to me) audio, then swapped out the squeaky toy with the message button.

Next I spent a good few hours searching for a criminal history template. This turned out to be the most consuming part, but I eventually found something I could use again and again for different monkey perps by easily customizing a few fields.

When all was said and done, I had a dog toy with bad audio. The biggest lesson I learned was to use the same products you plan to use for production in the prototype. I bought the sock monkey and message/recorder button based on a price point and profit I had in mind, but the quality of the audio was pretty bad and the stuffed animal was a dog toy. I could never use these products to create a finished product.

Creating the same product with higher quality materials would force me to charge way more than I wanted to, but not out of the realm of possibility for success. For an item like this, I figure a cheaper price is better, because seriously, there’s only so much (a good amount of) people will pay for a stuffed animal, regardless of how clever the novelty.

Not to worry! I lost interest before there could ever be a round two of the prototype. Anyone got a puppy that needs a new chew toy? I still have a few of them I never cut open. Oh, and speaking of cutting them open, there’s another lesson I learned during this process. I don’t know how to sew!

All Day Skipper Parody

Here’s the beginning of a new parody I started and lost interest in recently. The great thing about this version of the song is I can sing it as loud as I want in the car without worrying someone is going to hear me and think I’m a racist.

All Day Skipper

Uncharted island port of call, all day Skipper
How long were we out there in that squall, all day Skipper
Betcha we lost all the fish in our trawl, all day Skipper
Still got a radio if I recall, all day Skipper
How long Mrs. Howell gonna wear that shawl, all day Skipper
Voodoo doctor putting flame on a doll, all day Skipper
Banana cream pie with a Ginger hair ball, all day Skipper
We in this for the long haul, all day Skipper