Start Your Own Terrible Business, Part II

Here are two more bad ideas in the spirit of this post. Note that I think these ones are less bad than the previous ones. At this rate, by part XLIX, we should be onto good business ideas.

Promote synergy!

Front view mirrors: this will become obsolete once the self-driving cars take over, but for now I don’t see why cars don’t come with front view mirrors. By this I mean mirrors mounted high up on the beam between the front right-side window and the back right-side window in most cars driven on the right side of the road. The point would be that if you have a car in front of you in your lane, it would not totally prevent you from seeing what was ahead of you in the lane to the right of you. So, for instance, if you wanted to get around traffic in the middle lane, but wanted to know whether there was a parked car in the right lane, rather than switching lanes back and forth, you could just look in this mirror. It would also allow you to see bicyclists in the right lane in a similar situation. And it would let you see traffic lights when your direct view is blocked by a large truck in front of you in your lane. The mirror would have to be placed in a way not to interfere with the right-side rear-view mirror. But this is easy: it just needs to be placed higher than the right-side rear-vew mirror and then there should be no problem. I think. Is there a good reason why this isn’t done? Is it just too much of a hassle for too little benefit? And if so, how come there are windshield wipers for headlights?

A bargaining alarm clock: actually, this might already exist, I haven’t checked. But if Leibniz and Newton could both be said to come up with calculus, then I say I came up with  the bargaining alarm clock. So here’s the pitch – what’s the problem with alarm clocks? They are either impossible to turn off, or, alternatively, possible to turn off. And neither is a good system. Alarm clocks which you can just turn off are not sufficiently useful. I have one of those, and when I set it, half the time I just turn it off and go back to sleep. Alarm clocks which you cannot turn off are also bad because they are cruel and hurt your quality of life, not to mention the potential poor souls who are not you, but still have to listen to your alarm clock. So the solution has to be somewhere in between. The snooze worked for some time, but we have come to know the snooze, and the snooze-able alarm clock is now just a version of the turn-off-able alarm clock. New alarm clock inventions are all about solving complicated puzzles to turn off. That seems to me misguided – either the puzzles are hard, in which case you have an unturnoffable clock, or you learn them, and then it’s turnoffable. An ideal alarm clock is bargainable – that is, it turns off if you really want it to, but doesn’t if you just slightly don’t. Thus an alarm clock that takes small amounts of your money is the solution. An additional possibility is to have the alarm clock actually bargain – say bargain snooze duration, where the relative leniency of the clock can be set in advance (but cannot be reset at the time).

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