July 18th, 2011
01:19 PM GMT
(CNN) - As a service to entrepreneurs everywhere, this occasional column exists to identify market opportunities open to fast-moving operators. What the world economy needs at this time can be listed by sector:
A “Smart” Ceiling: Innovative construction technology required for dilapidated house in Washington. U.S. experts are warning of a risk of the roof falling in, unless a method can be found of raising the ceiling. Warning: The house’s neighbors will not tolerate any repairs that fall below their exacting standards. Those to the right object to methods that result in taxes being increased, while those to the left object to methods that result in taxes not being increased. Value of job: Available on application, but between $14.3 trillion and the entire world economy.
A loan that never needs to be repaid: A European customer experiencing issues with cash-flow and credibility – ok, Greece – seeks expertise in financial engineering. This customer’s position could be characterised as follows: We’ve tried traditional financing techniques – sell bonds, borrow money, collect taxes, pay money back – and that turned out messy. We’ve tried less traditional techniques – join eurozone, create fake books of national accounts, ask for a bailout, sack the public sector – and a lot of people got very angry.
Now, where’s the blue-sky thinking, where are the number whizz-kids, who can create the ultimate financial product? Work out how we can put it together, and we’ve even got a name already made for it: Greek International Financial Token, or G.I.F.T. We see the funding for this probably coming from a major north European centre, most likely a leading eurozone capital … what, Berlin, you say? Well why not? Value of contract: $150 billion right away. Probably another $150-$200 billion in a year’s time, or however far down the road we can kick the can.
The “Fond-Farewell” App: Customer-orientated programmer wanted to create crisis-management application to fill a pressing need in the media/public relations space. The requirement is for automatically generated press releases lavishing mutual praise on outgoing and/or surviving media executives in the case of sudden termination of employment.
Press release template A, for example, should offer an assessment of the departing employee thus “[Executive Y] has been one of the outstanding editors of her generation”, while template B – which must be generated and released to the public the instant press release A has been reported – should offer the victim’s heartfelt appreciation of the qualities of the axe-wielder thus: “[Executive Y] is an inspirational leader who has shown me great loyalty and friendship. And his father isn’t as bad as everyone says [this part is optional, please note]”. Value of contract: Subject to executive’s severance package.
Stop Press: Regrettably, we understand the last of these three market opportunities has in fact just closed: such software already exists, and is being trialled at News International.
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