My Million Dollar Idea
By David Cogswell -- July, 1999
I finally figured out how I can make a niche for myself in this new Internet world, how I can get my pot of gold out of the Web bonanza.
I was reading a review in the Times Book Review by Barbara Ehrenreich of a book by James Gleick about how everything is accelerating. Everything that can, that is. As they say, no one has figured out how to sleep faster. There is a human factor: the limits of the body -- at least until we make ourselves completely abstract, cyber entities that can just work around the clock, no friction, no wear. Now before someone introduces that innovation, maybe I can make a fortune with my idea.
In the new Internet world, it's beyond some people having home offices. Every home is an office. Everyone is a business now. We are all branded entities, all marketing ourselves. Management is no longer merely the domain of businesses. Everything is management now. Psychotherapy is about management. Sports is about management. Our culture is more and more dominated by business. It's the ultimate triumph of the market system.
Since every home now has to be operated like a business, I will provide time-and-motion studies for home businesses, to analyze every motion to make sure the overall pattern is the most efficient possible way of achieving its objective. I will come to your house, watch you go through all your activities, watch you make coffee, take a shower, see where you place your soap dish. Does it make you have to bend down too often? Even a detail like picking up a bar of soap one time more than necessary per shower, can add up to a significant number of man-hours in the course of a year, and a serious block of time over a lifetime.
A competent analyst can bring you insights into ways to tighten up your time efficiency on all sorts of mundane tasks you find yourself forced to waste time on every day. When you're making coffee, for example, do you walk to the refrigerator to put the milk away before you turn on the microwave, or do you start the microwave so it can be working while you put the milk away? The seconds saved on each individual task can add up to a real time saving and the end of the day.
I will bring to the average consumer/businessperson the fruits of a century of development of the science of management. Of course the average person cannot be blamed for never having had a competent, professional time-and-motion study done of common household activities. In the past the world was far less competitive and it was entirely understandable that people did not pay that much attention to the efficiency of their motions. If it took you an entire hour to get ready for work in the morning, that was okay. You'd just get up an hour before you had to leave for work. But in today's competitive world no competent businessperson can afford to spend that much time on frivolous activities like grooming for work.
Surely it will not be that long before the marvels of robotic engineering bring us devices similar to automatic carwashes of today, to automate and speed up the grooming process. But until that time the best that modern science has to offer is professional time management consulting.
I will come into your home and for a nominal fee I will watch your different activities, make notes and then devise plans for increasing the efficiency of every activity. By the end of your day, you can free up two or three hours of useless motion and replace it with precision, streamlined task designs.