I tend to think about random web ideas quite frequently, so here goes a brain dump!
At the highest of levels, humanity thrives around individuals finding their passion and taking a “deep dive” into that area. People’s passion often brings people together around ideas and action. Martin Luther King Jr, The Wright Brothers, Steve Jobs… you get the idea.
But there are many people out there who can’t find their own passion. It’s hard to just sit down at a desk or on a couch and think “What am I passionate about?” People always say we live in an era of information overload, but why is this question so difficult to answer? Information overload causes people to shut off their minds to too many things. Most people don’t have enough holistic information on any given subject to discover that it is their passion.
And even those who have a sense of direction don’t always have the guts to go out and invest large amounts of time. First, you have to get off the couch. Then, you usually have to buy supplies/equipment. Then, you have to work your ass off. During this process, you’re expectations will be much higher than your actual performance, and you’re likely to lose interest. The select few who overcome each and every obstacle - take each punch as it is thrown - will be those who can truly say they are passionate about something.
Let’s find a solution
This is a big problem. A solution at scale will not only better individuals lives, but also entire communities, nations, and industries.
I’m going to focus on a single solution: Mentorship (but not in the traditional sense!)
Mentorship is powerful, as it drastically increases your chances of overcoming every single barrier mentioned above. It’s a flexible solution to an extremely dynamic problem. Jane thinks she is passionate about bird-watching and Bill thinks his calling is Nano-robotics. Both can find mentors. Jane can’t seem to find the right equipment for bird watching. Bill started researching Nano-robotics, but isn’t confident that his background in Analog Signal Processing gives him real potential in the field. Mentors have the indivudual capability to assess these problems and figure out solutions: Jane should buy a pair of WP Naturescape Binoculars and Bill should do selective research on nano-scale signal interference.
I think the technology-driven mentorship space is ripe for innovation. It’s honestly pretty easy to monetize and is - most importantly - good for humanity.
Fixing one problem can solve another
Mentorship is a great solution to this passion problem… but it, itself, needs fixing. Luckily, it seems easier to fix! 2-for-1… woot!
Let’s outline the problems with mentorship:
It’s hard to find a person passionate about a specific subject, let alone a mentor.
Being a mentor is a big hassle. Subject areas that are less common will have mentors who usually have less and less time.
Mentorship is an unstructured process, and expectations are hard to figure out.
People mentor others they already like and no one else. Mentoring strangers? Pay me.
Ok, so we need to build a product that matches people in a reasonably unstructured fashion around their passions, but is also non-committal. The product also needs to represent each individual in a personal way and get them talking, so they are more open to mentorship in the future. In addition, some sort of reward will get more people talking.
Great. I’ve got a job, but I also work on pet projects. This is one of them. If you want to be a part, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get cracking.