Another genius business idea: the “What Works in X” web page

Following up on yesterdays’ genius business idea for a book series of successful solved problems in many fields, today let’s look at a web page doing something similar. Instead of making it just like a book, let’s take advantage of the web’s interactivity and let users create content.
It’s based on the principles of the Art of What Works (the book I mentioned the other day)

The product

A web site of user-written anecdotes of successful things they did, categorized by field — eventually, the global repository of solved problems in every field, free for anyone to access or contribute to.
Once populated with content, the main use of the site would be for anyone with a problem to solve. They would log in, search for the relevant field (or similar problems in other fields), search the anecdotes for something that applies, then apply the solution and find their lives improved.
If the original contributor of the solved problem made their identity available, the user could contact them for more help.
People with success stories could upload their stories, gaining notoriety or just showing off. Or, like the writers I wrote about yesterday, someone could use writing an anecdote for the site as an excuse to contact successful people to interview them, helping themselves, the interviewee, and the site.
Users will be able to rate anecdotes to allow useful ones to rise to the top in searches. Users can earn karma for writing popular or highly rated anecdotes.

How to make the site

The site has the usual challenges of creating the categories or tagging system to make posting and searching easier. User experience is important, but functionality will dictate most of it.
EDIT: based on a reader’s comment (please read below), I created a mind map of the site structure as I envisioned it.

How to market the site

I’ll leave this part as an exercise to the reader beyond the usual search engine optimization.
My long-term vision is for the site to be the go-to site on the web for solved problems in all fields. And to decrease the amount of reinventing wheels.

Do you want to do it?

You probably know enough to run with the idea if you want, even without me. I’ve thought more about it, so you could contact me. You might want to talk to Bill, the author of The Art of What Works, unless you want to change the name to avoid conflict with his title.
But you might as well work with one or both of us in some way. We figured out this much. We’d probably help more than whatever cost of involving us.
If you know a web-site creator who might be interested, send them a link or put them in touch.
Also, look at the post on the book series.

About entrepreneurship

I want to reinforce that the main point of this series is to show how ideas are easy to create. I see this as an entrepreneurial opportunity. Maybe you’d end up working in a publishing house, but you could make it your project as much as you’d like.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Ab

    I think the idea is indeed good, but in fact it is so good that many websites exist that solve this problem. I think you just described and its bunch of similar sites to various topics.
    People tell what works or worked for them, earn reputation and can stay in contact.

    1. Joshua

      I figured some were out there, but I didn’t know about them. Stackoverflow looks useful, though different. There people ask questions and get answers, whereas I envision people at What Works in X sharing anecdotes of things they’ve done at a higher level, like how they got hired by doing something different or got into North Korea or things like that. And not being so specific to computers, but available in any area.
      Of course, I put the idea up for others to do with it what they want. I’m as happy to inspire someone else’s slightly different vision as for them to implement mine.
      Also, I think branding or look and feel is important. The book The Art of What Works not only has a nice, clean look and feel, the author has an excellent reputation at one of the world’s great business schools — Columbia. Attaching those brands to it could help a lot.
      Inspired by your interest, I created a mindmap of the site’s structure as I envision it. It should appear at on July 29. Please take a look.

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