Business Idea: Picture-Taking-Machines for Sights and Landmarks
This is the second installment of the business idea of the week. I was actually going to write about a much more promising idea, but that’s gonna take another week :)
Since my arrival in the US half a month ago I have traveled a lot and have seen a lot of sights. I wanted to get a picture from all these sites that included me and whoever I was traveling with, so we spent at least half an hour every time trying to find the ideal place and conditions to take that photo. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a simple machine standing around America’s sights which takes two quarters and your picture? It would be connected to the internet so you could upload the pictures to social media in real-time and make your friends at home feel miserable.
The product consists of a digital camera, a touchscreen and a mobile networking card that are built into a sturdy enclosure and software. The software allows users to take timed pictures and to mail them somewhere or more importantly to publish them in real time to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Add in a Google Maps data layer for easy location, a snazzy name and a self-service online portal where you can order the pictures or something like that and you’re set.
The Business Model
I guess the business model used by vending machine builders is most suitable here. You sell the machine for a fixed price to “entrepreneurs” that are in a place to put them up and in turn the buyers charge tourists to for using the machine.
As far as pricing for the service goes, there are lots of options. You can set a standard price across all your machines or let the owner decide. You can add a variable pricing scheme where tourists who want to send their pictures somewhere are charged more or you can give half of the proceeds to restoration and support of the landmark or sight.
Usually, as a vending machine builder you are responsible for keeping the machine running and thus the greatest challenge will be to build a durable machine that is easy to fix if something goes wrong. The build-price for the actual unit is not much of a concern, since the buyers usually pay much more than the build price (because they can keep all proceeds).
This idea is really pretty straightforward. I agree that it’s neither the most interesting or most challenging idea, but it will definitely work. There are of course a lot of similar machines around and some of them can even print the pictures. But I guess that these days a real-time update to twitter is worth much more than that to most users.