Some startup ideas are more equal than others

I have a hard time explaining my interest in the startup and tech world to others who don’t know or don’t care about those areas. Take my parents. To my eternal facepalming despair, my mother and grandmother (yes, grandmother) have Facebook accounts. Thankfully neither has attempted to friend me, though I had to show my mother how to change her photo from a family shot at my graduation to a rare picture of snow. My family life’s transformation to the Facebook episode of South Park aside, most of my family members besides my brother still don’t understand a Web outside of Facebook. Trying to explain the tech world usually has to be explained in very small words. Sites like Flickr and Twitter and Wikipedia are straightforward enough to explain. Reddit’s a little harder, especially the community aspect behind the link sharing. Hunch? Now the explaining’s getting a little trickier, and I’m finding it exciting.

Startup founders have the same problem from what I’ve gathered. “So what does your startup do, anyway?” is a question they probably get when getting funding and promoting their startup. For lack of a straightforward explanation like “You can share your photos online” or “It lets you bookmark your links so you have them at a moment’s notice”, some sites are already similar to an existing site, so the really short explanation is “It’s like X for Y”. See the parody HighStranger (Chatroulette for high people) or the real Foodspotting (like Foursquare for food).

These comparisons should make it easy for anyone to find a startup idea, and this is evident by startups cropping up all the time. The world is ripe with ideas. These comparisons are also ripe for parody, as It’s This For That shows. What does your startup do, anyway? Here’s what a few of my best (or worst) fake startups do.

* So basically it’s like a LinkedIn for social outcasts! (One of my Twitter followers suggested that Twitter was the place for outcasts. Given that most of my Twitter circle is via online circles, I have to agree.)
* So basically it’s like Microsoft Kin for middle schoolers! (The Kin was for middle schoolers. I’m amused this came up.)
* So basically it’s like an Amazon for the homeless! (Instead of spending money, they’d barter food and clothing and other needs.)
* So basically it’s like a Match.com for ex-girlfriends! (This would not end well.)
* So basically it’s like an iPhone app for your cat’s litter box! (Ping! Your cat has just left three pieces of poo in the litter box.)
* So basically it’s like an Android app for cracked iPhone apps! (Actually, this one would probably do well.)
* So basically it’s like a new social platform for pets! (Believe it or not, these already exist.)
* So basically it’s like real-time data for social outcasts! (This would be handy.)

There are a few good ones in that mix. Cat owners everywhere are waiting on the iPhone app. The scary part is that it may already exist.

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