Random idea: instead

Today’s random idea is actually pretty simple and straight forward…but I think, if done right, it could actually be brilliant.

It’s a mobile app called ‘instead’.

The basic concept is for my 'always aware’ phone to detect when I’m likely about to make a poor decision, and ping me with a message or alternative that I should consider (before I’ve gone down the wrong path).

Here’s what I’m envisioning for a simple version one:

1. Allow me to specify certain stores or locations (ie. Sixteen Handles).

2. Allow me to specify or select a given message (ie. 'you are currently 230 pounds. Do you really want more frozen yogurt?’).

3. Now what the app actually does is detect when I’m 'near’ a Sixteen Handles and simply sends me a push notification (or text) with my message (thereby forcing me to 'think’ before I give in).

…there are of course a lot of little details to get right in this experience, and the app has to be able to constantly be aware of my location (without me having to check-in…it has to be prior to a check-in)…so it’s actually pretty hard to pull off in today’s technology (but not impossible).

If someone does get it right, there’s all sorts of great things that could be accomplished with this sort of application (it could help our inner voice to make 'better’, 'healthier’ decisions in all sort of self-control struggles).

There’s even great revenue potential in offering up the 'better’ decisions at the point of weakness (and if you prefer, you could tie-in a charity component so that the app. reminds you that instead of the 16oz. frozen yogurt, you could be feeding 100 people for 3 days in Africa for the same price [with a link to donate now included of course]).

Anyway…I think it’s a fun idea that would see A LOT of use if done properly. It might be a little too early on the software/bandwidth availability front, but we aren’t too far off from it being possible on a mainstream level (so I think *now* is the time to be working towards this idea).

If nothing else, if someone builds it, I know I would be a user…for now though, I’ve got to go finish my frozen yogurt! ;-)

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

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