DVD Rentals – from Your Neighbors

You’ve probably heard of ZipCar. But you probably haven’t heard of GetAround, a startup in San Francisco my friend Jon Sterling showed me over coffee a few weeks ago. The difference between the two — GetAround connects you with locals who put their own cars up for rent.

Extend the same concept to DVDs to take on RedBox with a true person to person DVD sharing platform.

My friends’ family has a wall of DVDs and Blue Rays at least as big as the photo to the right (and more like twice as big). There is a RedBox about a quarter of the mile away, but I still stand a better chance of finding a movie I want to watch if I walk two doors down and borrow one from my neighbor.

There are four challenges to this approach in my mind:

  1. Convincing individuals to upload their entire DVD inventories – How do you convince individuals to upload their entire library to make it searchable (and tagged to a lat/long)? It seems the only real way to do this is to build the upload tool straight into DVD players, so that every time someone watches a DVD, it auto submits that to their digital library.
  2. Making it worthwhile for individuals – Users should get paid, maybe $2 per rental? Is that even worth the hassle of loaning out their DVDs for days at a time?
  3. Pick Up – how do you organize picks and drop offs when the DVDs are sitting in living rooms across the country?
  4. Reaching scale – how do you get to a point where anyone that uses the site can find someone to borrow a DVD within a mile or two of their house?

What do you think? Would this work, or is getting individuals to upload their entire DVD libraries too much of a hurdle for not enough financial gain?

[Photo via http://tyedyedork.blogspot.com/]

Rent a Puppy

A Rent-a-Puppy service is a business we always joked about starting in college.  A sunny day at Green Lake in Seattle, and you could have a booming business.  The basic premise was guys could rent a cute puppy as an icebreaker to meet girls.

Your Rent-a-Puppy service could set up shop near parks and popular walking trails and gathering spots.  You’d charge by the hour and by the size of the dog.

Customers would agree not to leave a certain radius with the pup.

There are obviously some major flaws in this plan and I’m sure PETA would throw a fit.  For example how do you keep the animals safe from creeps, where do they live when they’re not working, and how much play time is too much?

But no business is without challenges, so maybe some enterprising animal lover could make it happen.

To get “inventory”, maybe you could partner with local breeders and share the fees with them.  Or work with the Humane Society to promote exposure and encourage adoptions.  Expand to more locations through strategic franchising.

From a customer standpoint, it would be a unique opportunity to play with a lovable pup without the 10-14 year commitment of dog ownership.

What do you think? Would people be willing to pay for an afternoon of puppy love?