My latest 4iP longshots..

Today is the last day for the latest tranche of 4iP proposals to be submitted and as the football is dull (boring, boring Chelsea) and there has been a bit of a lull in the cricket I have dusted off a couple of ideas and submitted them.

One of the ideas has been around for a long while now and I originally wrote about it on this site more than a year ago. The other is a relatively recent one that I’ve been thinking about for a while but haven’t really done much with it other than scribble notes and chat to Stef and Theo in my last days at Jiva about the feasibility of the concept.

So anyone to keep up with my tradition of being completely transparent about these things my proposals are below..not sure they are the sort of thing 4iP are looking for but you never know and I think they could both be fun, interesting projects.


Elevator Pitch

A liftshare application focusing on festivals, events and protests.

Needs and Benefits

With railtravel becoming more and more expensive and an increasing desire for people to use more eco-friendly ways of travel the site will offer an easy way for existing communities to organise lift sharing including integrated tools that estimate petrol costs, how that would compare with coach or rail costs etc.

The core application will be available as a widget that can be embedded on the appropriate sites as well existing platforms like Facebook.


The site will be built using Ruby on Rails and will have a user focused design that will be tested as a paper prototype before development and then constantly tested and iteratively improved.

Relationships will be built with existing communities whether these would be based around ongoing events or campaigning organisations likely to lead protests. Social media tools will be used to spread awareness and offer customer service.

The costs would be an initial investment in design and development time but this would be minimal and then ongoing costs for one part time member of staff to manage the service on an ongoing basis including the promotion, customer service and community building.


The site has low overheads and would require minimal upkeep so sustainability would require a relatively small income. The business plan would be to charge a small fee to large, for-profit events based on how many users sign up to travel to their events via the application and serving their advertising material on the site (this would also allow the festivals to demonstrate their eco-friendly credentials). This should allow us to offer the application free to non-profit/free events, festivals and protests.

The initial route to market would be via early adopter partnerships with existing connections in the West Midlands and West Country.


Specific liftshare forums created for specific events.

Lifthack improves on all these existing sites as it is much more focused on one-off liftsharing activity rather than supporting commuting and it also is a distributed service – going to its audience rather than forcing them to come to us.

Elevator Pitch

A Wine Library TV for real ale and cider

Needs and Benefits

The core of the idea is a weekly, ten/fifteen minute video show reviewing different real ales, ciders etc, with occasional reports from beer festivals (both small and large) and visits to breweries, filmed on location at a good local real ale pub. The presenter would need to know his/her beer but also have the kind of personality that appeals to a younger audience – the target of the site is not the traditional CAMRA crowd but people a little younger.

The site would aim to build a community around the videos – offering visitors the chance to add reviews, comment on videos, contribute to listings of beer festivals. Using Google Maps for various mashups around pubs, breweries, festivals etc shouldn’t be too hard and short Twitter reviews using hashtags might make for some interesting content as well.

The site would be built using open source technologies (in particular WordPress) with the videos, at least initially, self produced using cheap, accessible tools (i.e. Flip HD cameras) and basic video editing software. The videos would be hosted on both YouTube and

Getting involved with ‘real life’ communities as well would be a big part of it – especially targeting Student Union Real Ale societies and smaller, niche beer/cider festivals. There are an ever increasing amount of beer festivals taking place up and down the country every weekend throughout the summer months and brewery tours and the like are becoming common. The aim would be to become an active member of this community and use the site as a publicity channel for all these great local events.

The site will also have a firm anti-binge drinking stance and will offer free advertising space to government drink driving campaigns.

The costs would be for a small amount of initial design and development work and then for two ongoing part-time members of staff.


Potential for sponsorship from smaller breweries – especially once any kind of audience is attracted. As well as offering the ability to upgrade listings for events and venues.

The route to market is via existing contacts in the UK micro-brewery community and a focus on both local CAMRA publications and University Real Ale societies including both traditional and social media based campaigns.


Beer in the Evening is the main competition and certainly has the main share of the Google juice. However Quickpint is a complimentary service for the most part and seeks to be a much more active part of the community and use the latest tools of the social web to build a truly community driven site with a focus on great ale.