Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Random Business Idea: Scattered Mini-Work-Depots

Framing the Problem

While currently residing a bit south of Columbus, Ohio, I'm spending a day most weeks up in Cleveland. Fortunately the three-hour one-way commute is greatly eased by hours upon hours of Game of Thrones audiobooks. But with multi-hour stretches between appointments and the like, I like to dip into whatever project I'm working on at the time: watching some Coursera lectures, doing some coding, the endless job hunt...

I typically make due by chilling for a while at a coffee shop (Phoenix is a favorite, Algebra's (Facebook, G+) another). But frankly, I'm completely broke, and continually buying coffees to assuage my guilt for camping out and mooching WiFi is not a sustainable option! Plus -- though maybe it's just me -- outlets for charging one's surplus of electronic devices are hot commodities in any such location.

Oh, and I drink a LOT of water. So having to find a public restroom once an hour gets really annoying.

Work Anywhere with Workstations Everywhere!

So maybe it's overkill or otherwise solving a minor problem that doesn't bother too many people. But what if there were rather simple workstations placed sporadically in popular locations, particularly cities or areas where traveling for work might be common. Perhaps a simply monthly fee for X uses per month, or a pay-per-use option.

A small work depot could provide the simple necessities to be productive for varying stretches of time. Charging stations, of course, and WiFi access are obvious needs. But simple chair & desk, maybe an extra monitor with various common adaptors to plug in (but then not everyone cares so much about a second monitor). A place to get out of the heat or cold or rain or snow, and a bit more room to stretch than just staying in one's own car.

I have to admit, though, that this might just be an excessive solution to a small or uncommon problem which has a variety of other easy solutions. Maybe taking up a table for hours in a given coffee shop, having purchased just a $3 coffee doesn't bother most people, or perhaps libraries or other public locations are sufficient. Plus the costs of renting or creating a physical brick-and-mortar service like this, with value closely tied to an extensive existing network of locations, then adding in the costs of power, internet, ways to minimize theft, et cetera... hell, as I'm typing this the idea seems increasingly foolish.

But the idea popped into my mind and I like to work through them, because you never know when you'll end up with a really great idea once fully though-out! I have so many damn ideas like this on a regular basis, maybe I should I post them more often, should one of them spark a better idea in someone else's mind!

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