Here’s a business idea for you, feel free to build it if you’re interested.
Don’t waste a waiting list
The waiting list has value, and it’s also a source of frustration.
There are people waiting for delivery of a new car, or to stay in a popular airbnb or to buy a limited edition jigsaw puzzle. There are people waiting for an appointment or a reservation or a handmade luxury good as well. Or let’s say two companies are waiting for a shipment of computer chips. One has a few left in stock, the other needs them to finish a high-value product that serves people in life-threatening situations…
On one hand, it feels fair. The people ahead of us in line got there before we did. On the other hand, perhaps someone behind us needs or wants our slot way more than we do…
Swap the Line is a simple smart-contract-based system that makes it easy to trade your spot in line. Pay money to someone who wants the cash and you can swap with them. Sell your spot for more than you think it’s worth. Stay put if you want to.
This addresses problems with our current scarcity due to the supply chain along with the trade-anything mindset of crypto.
Here’s how it works:
An organization with a waiting list enables swaptheline.com
They onboard with two simple steps:
- Uploading their waitlist (status and identifier) to the cloud.
- Alerting the folks on the waitlist that swaptheline is supported.
If you’re ready to swap yourself to a different spot on the list, simply enter how much you’re willing to pay to go how far on the list. Or enter how much you’re willing to take to swap with someone behind you.
Perhaps there’s a list of bids and you can grab one, or perhaps it’s done automatically.
Either way, the system simply updates the waitlist in the cloud and transfers the money.
Some percentage of the transaction goes to the host, and some percentage goes to swaptheline for running the smart contracts and user interface that makes it work.
There’s a popular jigsaw puzzle company that has a six-month waiting list for a chance to buy one of their $200 jigsaw puzzles. If they kept 15% of the swaptheline percentage, it’s easy to see how they could double their profit at the same time that they served their customers better–because no one buys or sells a spot on the line unless they want to.
Or consider the 50,000 people now eagerly awaiting news about their new Rivian pickup truck. The truck costs $70,000. The deposit to get on the line was $1,000. A person could swap their spot at #100 to someone who is #18,000 and probably make enough to pay for half the car. And if even 10% of the line did a swap at an average price of $6,000, Rivian would earn $5,000,000 in profit simply by giving their customers what they want. The rigidity of the line is a sort of tax that ignores the market.
Or perhaps it’s something more civic-minded. The organization could allocate their percentage, perhaps they set it at 50%, for a local charity. It could easily replace a fundraising gala or two…
This is one of hundreds of examples of the impossible things an always-on network can do, things that feel odd at first and then obvious.