U-Borg: An Open Source Business Idea

Back in the first stages of the “global financial crisis”, an idea came to me that I presented as a 22 page “open source business plan” under a slightly different name. That was in 2008, and now I would like to submit the core points of that plan to mobile app developers.  The idea can be defined in different ways – “Information Crowdsourcing”, “Social Networking Management”, or any number of others.   Take from it and apply to it as you like.

Core Issues – The Problems

Social networking requires time searching for relevant people and data. Social networking is also substantially segmented by hundreds of social networks of scale (Facebook, etc.) and thousands of other smaller ones. It does not help to search on LinkedIn if the people you are searching for are not there. More time is spent searching than making decisions or acting upon the data found.

The Internet is a means of connecting people with people and information. Where there is an extreme supply and demand for information, there is a relative lack of tools to reduce saturation and increase relevancy.

Social Networking is a very personal function. Heads of state have ambassadors. Even ambassadors have vice-ambassadors.

Per Wikipedia –  Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.

The Internet and Networking ultimately has the potential to reduce this to being 1-2 degrees of separation. That is saturation and it hinders relevancy. The decline in relevancy can be cited as basis for the declining effectiveness in television, radio, and newspapers.  People are wanting increasingly specific vs. very general information.


U-Borg – Help Customers Connect with the Right People and Information in a Timely, Efficient and Actionable basis.

John sells Specific Stuff.  He wants to connect with other people who buy and sell the Same Specific Stuff – regardless of their language or location; or maybe he wants a specific location but where everyone speaks a different language. 

He could spend a lot of time searching for this or he could sit back and let people feed it to him.  This is a very basic situation and there are all kinds of ways John could go about it, now.   But how actionable is the information he finds going to be?  How efficient is it for him to be doing that research?  How efficient is it?

The aim is not simple “lead generation” – but something more like Help A Reporter Out, except even more specific in focus and detail.  HARO makes it easy for journalists to find sources for information – spanning any topic.   On a business basis, it enables all contributors to the network the potential to monetize “what they know” and/or “who they know.”

The simple point is that information is a commodity, it exists in abundance but is relatively difficult to monetize unless you are able to achieve very good matching.   Whether sourcing information, making industry specific introductions, the business concept is readily given to be extremely niche specific while not confined to the likes of “one network.”

Numerous possibilities for monetization exist, both for the business itself and for participants on a crowdsourcing basis.  These consider everything from personal introductions, information sharing, personal assistant services, or bundles on a pay per use, package or monthly subscription basis.

[Note:  Reading through this, I realize a few things – a) that it differs significantly from the business plan fleshed out in 2008; b) that the overall idea may be somewhat nebulous, but c) the core principles are the same and even more pronounced now then they were then.   The need for “ultra specific information” is only increasing; so is the ability to provide it – but it is the “matching of supply with demand” that is still a long ways from being optimal.]



Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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