The Best Ideas of 2006

The December issue of BusinessWeek was dedicated to the best and worst leaders, products, and ideas of 2006. I immediately gravitated towards the few pages dedicated to the best business ideas of 2006. According to the BusinessWeek staff writers, the best ideas of 2006 include free labor, social trend mining, Second Life, web 2.0 goes corporate, microloans, global warming, and exchange-traded funds (ETF).

The idea behind free labor is that the modern companies is learning to leverage the work done by others, such as using open source applications like Apache webserver, creative commons content such as Wikipedia or users generated content as in YouTube, or the collective opinion of a large group of ‘editors’ as in Digg. These companies are leveraging the free labor of their own users for their own profit. But we all now that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and I think users will soon demand a cut in the advertising money some of these sites are making.

Social trend mining describes the process some companies are executing to filter out the noise in blogs and other online social sites to graph, analyze, and monetize social trends.

Second Life is a vast and open online virtual world where you control avatars that interact with other users in a multitude of ways. The interesting thing is that virtual tools and property from Second Life are being sold and traded for real hard cold cash. The house market might be cooling, but there is a virtual land rush in Second Life. I just have one question, how does a virtual housing market bubble sound when it bursts?

Web 2.0 and Ajax have definitely been the most hyped and buzzed technology in 2006. Unfortunately not too many people can provide an adequate or definitive definition to these terms… According to BusinessWeek, companies and employers are using web 2.0 online websites, ‘MySpace-like professional networks,’ for finding jobs, manage contacts, follow leads, etc. Imagine a MySpace for business suits, a Digg for middle managers, a Blogger for investment bankers. In fact, it is easy to predict that all these web 2.0 social sites will spawn niche clones. Can you imagine a MySpace for dogs?

Microloans have been a hot topic all throughout 2006. Micorloans/microcredit was pioneered by Grameen Bank founding member Dr. Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh. Dr. Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microloans. Now there are a lot of government-sponsored microloan programs in most the developing world, in fact you can now load $100 dollars to a poor farmer in Ecuador through sites such as

Some of these hot trends will fizzle out in 2007 and some of these hot trends will supernova in 2007. Be alert so as to be in the ground floor of the new idea of 2007!

[tags]2006, ideas, best ideas, businessweek, microloans, microcredit, etf, second life, web2.0, digg, wikipedia, myspace[/tags]

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