I was walking around downtown Telluride when I came across this row of boxes, just off the main street, collectively titled “The Free Box.” The idea was that you can give anything or take anything away from the box for free. There were all sorts of stuff in the boxes, from clothes (divided into men’s, women’s, and children’s) to books to old snowboard gear to a couch (didn’t fit in the box, just next door). There are signs up so people don’t just chuck trash or old batteries in the Free Box. So stuff no one wants doesn’t accumulate, they clean out the box every two weeks. I think this is a great idea. Everyone loves getting free stuff, and this provides a place for people to give away things they don’t need anymore.
I was thinking about how to transfer this to the Internet. Shipping places a cost on moving free stuff, but ideas can be given and taken relatively easily. My idea would be to put up an idea repository, or free idea box, if you will. Say Stephen Levitt, the economist and author of Freakonomics, comes up with a great idea for a computer program but doesn’t have the skills or the time to follow up. He posts the idea to the Idea Repository and tags it as he will. Then someone else with computer programming skill browses around, sees his idea, and decides to develop it. If it makes money, the programmer gets the biggest share, Levitt gets a cut, and the Idea Repository takes a small commission. I want to create a place, one place, to share ideas. I have ideas about grocery lines, the MLB, and the 12th amendment that I’m in no place to implement. But say others digg/share the same ideas, and someone from Safeway browses around and sees it, then my idea has power.
If anyone would like to help me develop such a place, please let me know.