Monthly Archives: January 2012

ReThink: Refreshment

Beverage companies have little interest in your personal tastes. They are much more interested in the tastes of the average consumer, but who among us is actually average? That’s right; no one! To address this fallacy, uFlavor is on the road to bringing the individual the drink he most desires, empowering her to take ownership of her beverage. Create your own soda, flavored water, energy drink, or tea, personalize the label, and enjoy the fruits of your creativity. Refreshment will never look the same again!


ReThink: Portion Sizes

Dining out is a favorite activity for most people. Between the food, the company, the atmosphere, and the fact that we didn’t have to pick up so much as paring knife, dining out offers a wholly enjoyable experience. Too often, however, we do not think about the quantity of food we are served; portion sizes have increased in proportion with our collective waist size, and much of that food remains uneaten and gets thrown away. Worse still, millions of people do not have enough food to eat, including the family living right down the street from the restaurant you frequent. Problem? Indeed! Thankfully, Halfsies is doing something about it. By raising awareness of these three issues (huge portion sizes, excessive food waste, and hunger), Halfsies offers patrons a way to tackle all three in one sitting. Pick a Halfsies-designated meal, eat half the regular portion, pay for the full portion, and the balance is donated to fight hunger around the world. Rethinking the way we eat? It’s a win-win-win!

Halfsies: Connecting the Dots from Go Halfsies on Vimeo.

ReThink: Dining Out

Dining out is based on a simple idea: the patron wants food, and the restaurant wants to make food. Furthermore, restaurants want to make money, and patrons don’t want to wait long. FoodCircles makes both parties happy in a unique way. The FoodCircles website (and upcoming app) shows local restaurants with empty tables available to reserve, and restaurants offer a bonus for getting those tables filled, such as a free dessert or appetizer. Not only that, but FoodCircles receives a donation from the restaurant that is then given to a local food charity to feed people in need. It’s a “buy one, feed one” philosophy that promises to make us all rethink our dining experiences.

ReThink: Web Discussion

The Internet is made to be interactive, but sometimes, the interaction is limited and discussion is not always smooth and logically organized. The people behind Converati are out to change this. Starting with a Google Chrome extension, Converati aims to enhance discussion of Web content, allowing for more meaningful, thoughtful interaction with the Internet and its wealth of information.


Converati Pitch from Seth Samuels on Vimeo.

ReThink: Payment Collection

Collecting money from groups of people has never been easy. Some people forget, some people don’t have cash, and some people don’t trust your math. For situations like this, forget the mess and turn to WePay. Unlike other payment options, WePay allows the collector to create a customized collection interface, so those who are paying know exactly what they’re paying for, know how much they owe, and are enabled to use their bank account or credit card to make the payment. WePay allows people to set up an online storefront, sell event tickets, collect donations, or collect dues, all using a simple, intuitive system that is also more cost-effective than other options. It’s a fresh new approach to the old payment paradigm!

ReThink: Accounting

Accounting used to be a great mystery. Professions and entire companies have emerged just to handle it, and for smaller businesses, software companies have “demystified” the process by selling expensive and complicated software. That’s the old paradigm, but Wave Accounting is taking a new approach. Instead of outsourcing or purchasing software subscriptions, small businesses can now take charge of their own accounting through Wave’s simple, free, and highly capable online program. No more manual entry, no more stashing receipts, no more waiting for last month’s statements. It’s all online, it’s all interconnected, it’s all automatic, and it’s all free. Say goodbye to your accountant and to your cluelessness; Wave empowers businesses to take charge of their own finances. Did we mention that it’s free?

Shoebox Accounting Stops Now from Wave Accounting on Vimeo.

ReThink: The Marketplace

Shoot! Your best friend’s birthday is tomorrow, and you still haven’t found him that vintage copper boiler he’s been wanting. You could settle for less and get him a biography of Grover Cleveland (who can get enough of those?), or you could turn to Zaarly and post what you’re looking for. A guy gets on Zaarly to see if he can sell anything, and finds that someone is looking for that old copper boiler he had been using as a cumbersome laundry basket. He contacts you and sells you his boiler, saving the day and making you the hero of your friend’s birthday. Sound simple? It is!

Zaarly is a community-based marketplace where people post what they want instead of what they have. It’s utilizing demand-side economics, which any sharp economist will tell tell you is the better way to stimulate commerce. Need something? Post it and watch as your own community provides! Now, about that labradoodle your kids have been wanting…

ReThink: Venture Capital

Traditionally, a business with an idea (or an idea trying to become a business) had to either get a loan from the bank or sell (literally and figuratively) their idea to venture capitalists. Some ideas, though, don’t justify either of those options, but they still won’t get off the ground without a little help. Enter Kickstarter. This crowdfunding platform allows individuals to fund the ideas they want to see come to fruition in exchange for exclusive deals once the idea gets off the ground. Investors can give as little or as much as they want, and with so many people funding each idea, the inherent risk is spread out among many people. Ideas only get funded if their funding goal is met, but once met, the crowd has enabled a new idea to get the kickstart it needs to become reality.

Have you enjoyed this week’s theme? Learn more and find other incredible uses of crowdsourcing at this industry website!

ReThink: Scholarships

Today’s crowdsourcing idea comes from Startup Weekend West Michigan, which was held this past weekend in Grand Rapids. Ideas don’t come much newer than this!

Today’s young people are faced with a double-edged sword on their way to becoming productive members of society: a college degree is necessary, and college is very expensive. Many students will take out loans to pay for college, but will be saddled with debt for years after graduation. Other students will try to earn scholarships, but even modest scholarships are extremely competitive. To help make ends meet, Fund Scholars was born. This crowdfunding platform connects generous individuals with scholars in need. Donations of any amount can be made to specific students, and once the student’s funding goal has been reached, that money is transferred to their college as a tuition payment. Through individual contributions, a scholar’s financial needs can be met, and they can be on their way to becoming the next generation of innovative, creative minds setting out to change the world.

ReThink: Censorship

UnConventional will be joining the online movement to stop the passage of SOPA and PIPA in Congress and will therefore suspend normal posting for today. UnConventional believes this legislation stands in direct opposition to what makes the Internet useful and beneficial: the collaboration on and sharing of ideas. More information on this issue, as well as ways to get involved, can be found here.

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