Making that Ahhha moment pay
It's an old adage that ideas are ten a penny and the hard part is actually making them real. Well, one Silicon Valley start-up reckons it can solve that part of the equation and help people bursting with what they think is the next big thing turn it into a business or just make some cash on the side.
"Like a lot of engineers, I saw an inefficient process when it comes to the currency of ideas and an opportunity to do things better," he says.
"Ideas are cheap. Execution is rare. The execution is the hard part. What does your idea look like? What colour should it be? Where should it be sold? How much should it cost? We can divvy all that up with our community and smart algorithms."
Mr Crowe says he believes Ahhha is part of an evolution occurring in the social space:
"Facebook gives us social networking with the intrinsic value of having friends and pictures. The next state was Twitter which was really creating a personal brand for yourself and creating value that way. Then there's Zynga with social gaming which is basically people paying money to buy virtual swords and fight with people.
"I believe where we found our footing is with social ideation and helping people make hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of real money. At Ahhha we are collecting ingenuity."
In short Mr Crowe says Ahhha is a platform to create, generate, develop and communicate new ideas and use the wisdom of the crowd to turn that idea into a business or a real product.
Here's how it works: First, enter your idea on the home page. Upload images, descriptions, a YouTube video, then hit submit and sit back as other users chime in on perfecting your idea. As the community becomes involved, bringing together designers, engineers and funders, the web app tracks each product's progress.
"I've seen good ideas not come to fruition, but with Ahhha, we streamline the process," says Mr Crowe.
"If ideas are liked by the crowd and have good content around them, essentially we can identify companies that would be interested in them as a product or service. Our algorithms allow us to understand that path to monetisation."
Mr Crowe says Ahhha has mapped 200 paths to monetisation, with more being added every day. Some of them include licensing, securing patents and the use of online marketplaces. He reckons that about 20% of ideas will be successful.
There are other sites that also work along similar lines helping people finance their ideas. They range from Kickstarter to Quirky, Spigit and corporate versions like Toyota's Ideas for Good and General Electric's eco challenge. Mr Crowe said they have only had limited success because they are "super niche" and his approach is "broad and wide":
"Ahhha accepts an innumerable amount of ideas from right across the board - from time machines and world peace, to innovative solar technology and everything in between. We are creating the market of ideas."
But of course, not every idea is a good idea and Mr Crowe says that is why the crowdsourcing element is crucial in this process along with data that will tell Ahhha what will work or not work:
"The data comes from algorithms we have developed and from the users. We are able to take a wide breadth of data and knowledge from different areas and different individuals and apply that to gauge the chances of an idea taking off."
The person with the bright idea is not the only one who can make money. Ahhha has put in place a system that allows all those who contribute to making that idea great the ability to collect points which can in turn be redeemed for cash, products and services.
"Our business model is to make money from transaction fees and bundled services," says Mr Crowe.
He also has plans for Ahhha to set up a microfund to finance some of these ideas and eventually to host contests like the X-Prize which aims to encourage ideas around space.
"I want Ahhha to be known as the brand of ideas and that is very powerful," says Mr Crowe.