I think of it as American Idol meets the Shareware market.
So, here's the business model.
If you have a great idea for the Mac OS X platform, but no way to build it or hire a team to build it, you can submit your idea to My Dream App right now. This thing was announced all of 2 days ago and they've received 1572 ideas submitted so far. Incredible. You have until September 1, 2006, to submit your ideas, so get on with it!
At that time, the My Dream App team will pick 24 ideas from the list - what they think are the best (and implementable) ideas of the bunch. The top 24 picks will be announced between September 4 and September 15.
Starting September 16, the elimination rounds begin. From September 16 through October 23, the voting is turned over to the user community (registered on the web site). Five, count 'em, 5 eliminations rounds later, the top 3 winners are selected (all by popular vote).
The top 24 picks all win a prize. The first 6 eliminated get an iPod Shuffle. That's hardly a prize. The 3 winners get a MacBook Pro laptop and 15% of the NET profits from the sales of the shareware product that is subsequently built and brought to market.
What I like about it:
- Great idea that is getting lots of traction
- The Forum discussions about many of the submitted ideas are FASCINATING; truly a demonstration of the openness of Web 2.0 users. The ideas are already being refined, compared, discussed, and improved.
- If the concept is proven to be solid, it can be easily extended to other platforms (Windows, Symbian, PalmOS, Linux, Solaris, SaaS).
- Could imagine building this into a marketplace for programmers and ideas. Just because you are a great coder does not mean that you know the killer idea (and vice versa). You would think that O'Reilly would be all over this.
- The ideas themselves are not big enough to support a VC-funded business. That's expected, as the target is the Shareware market. However, the My Dream App concept, with some tweaks I discussed above for scalability, could build a nice-sized business and, what I like, is that it could build applications that change the world.
What I don't like about it:
- The My Dream App guys exclusively own your idea if it is selected. I understand why they did this - they are running a business, and this term makes the legal issues very clear and concise. However, I think it is a bit onerous and they should have stated it as "you own your idea and have given us an exclusive license to bring it to market as a shareware solution for the Apple Macintosh".
- You get 15% of NET profit, but nobody has defined the accounting that goes into calculating the profit (i.e., what are reasonable and usual expenses, who pays for the developer, etc).
- They only have to pay you for the Apple Macintosh version. The implication is that if they take your submitted idea (which you gave them, remember) to another platform, like Windows, they would owe you nothing.
- I personally feel that 5 rounds of elimination are too many rounds. I would do: 24 to 12, 12 to 6, 6 to 3. Resulting in 3 rounds of elimination.
I intend to watch this closely (and, hopefully, will be picked to judge as I'm a big Mac user and fan). I wish these guys all the success in the world. Fun stuff!
Anyway, this has had some great blog coverage. TechCrunch, Paul Stamatiou, O'Reilly Mac Devcenter Blog, binarytales, MacUser.com, Pomcast.com, Manual Web Crawler, anshuljain, FixYourThinking, Mac1
Tags: My Dream App, mydreamapp, Mac OS X, macosx, Shareware, Software, VC, Venture Capital, Brian Berliner, brianberliner