Friday Free Business Idea: 1-800-Iam-Lost

July 14, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

Have you ever driven somewhere and got lost? Come on, I know you have. What do you do when you are lost? A few options: go to a gas station, call a friend or be an alpha male and try to figure it out. I think an amazing, scalable and profitable service would be this:

1- Get a free 1-800 # from Ether, where you can charge people to call you.

2- Hire a few high school interns for the summer at $10 hour.

3- Market a service where people can call the 1-800 # when they are lost and the Interns will use Google Maps to talk the lost driver to their destination.

You can do this idea and when you make it rich just buy me a burrito:)

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16 responses to “Friday Free Business Idea: 1-800-Iam-Lost

  1. Michael Morisy Reply

    Verizon’s starting to install an automated version of this in a lot of their new RAZRs. Undoubtedly, it’ll catch on quick.

    As for me, I just txt google and ask for directions:

    It’s saved me a couple of times now.

    Still, there’s a huge short term market there as people with older phones and even older maps struggle to figure out: Where the hell are we?

  2. EROCK Reply

    amazing, scalable and profitable yes…but for how long?

    I don’t mean to be repugnant and ugly, but don’t you see the proliferation among early adopters of GPS technology on phones, as options on cars, etc.? The price is in a state of free fall and soon most cars/phones will have it standard.

    So, anyone who wants to tackle this idea, let’s talk. My company REVEAL Worldwide (.com) will generate and execute a short life span product smattering that will plunder the market during the rapidly closing window of opportunity for this venture.

    I’d love to try it. I believe that there will always be people who prefer hearing a person rather than a computer. Think of that annoying android you get on customer service calls who asks you to speak to her like she’s human but doesn’t understand a word you say… I’m coming to pull all of your plugs this summer. RUN androids RUN!!!!! (is this thing still on?)


  3. Noah Kagan Reply


    I partially agree with you. I think the main thing to notice is not everyone reads blog, not everyone has GPS and most people are middle America. Being able to call a simple # and get a service that works is what most Americans want.

    Remember if you do it I want a Carne Asada burrito=)

  4. Sri Reply

    This is a wonderful idea but I hate to shoot it down (think of it as a discussion). An idea like this ‘may’ be hot for the first year…but it will tend to fizzle down.

    Ask yourself first…..Are you willing to use it? Are you willing to pay to get directions?
    As a male or female, if you get lost, are you willing to really pay $5? (for example) to get you to the right road? I know my wife would NEVER pay.

    If you are lost, you need to stop and get the address of where u are….and when u stop, you will tend to ASK for directions as opposed to calling the paid service.

    GPS systems are becoming so popular and the prices are coming down. As frugal as I am, I am thinking of getting one. I am thinking of ways to get a frugal gps system without having to spend $400.

    Noah, any ideas?

    Here are some of my frugal GPS ideas.

    1) Buy a GPA capable cellphone from ebay without the phone service and use just the GPS (havent looked into it so much yet whether this is possible)

    2) Use the PDA option ( i hear its not the greatest)

    3) Try to use a Jornada and save all the maps in it (bigger screen)

  5. Noah Kagan Reply


    Wonderful commentary and I love people who disagree so always try to. I definitely agree this is not the next Google and the price would have to be right for this to succeed long term. Some alternatives to my idea are:

    1- Make more friends

    2- Buy maps or better yet get them for free with a AAA membership.

    3- Print out your city maps from Google or Yahoo

    4- My brother bought the pda and added the GPS thing which he loves

    5- Don’t drive

    I am out to tutoring.

  6. Sri Reply

    This Esther thing has really got me thinking. Thanks for the info about Esther.


    1) 1-800-Programming/Computer-Help

    2) 1-800-Live-Stock-Quote

    3) 1-800-Beat-My-Current-Airfare-Quote

    4) 1-800-Need-a-friend-to-chat

    5) 1-800-I am buying something, can you find an online coupon for it

    6) 1-800-How to get a toll free number

    7) 1-800-check-the-web-for something for me

  7. Paul McEnany Reply

    Or you could add some sort of traffic aspect to it. So if you’re draining your life away in traffic, you call, and they’ll give you a quicker route home.

    Now, I just need some seed money. Who has a couple million?

  8. Alberen Reply

    Actually there WAS a company a few years back that did something like this. They had an extensive TV campaign (which probably is what put them under!)

    I’ve had this idea going back six or seven years but the idea really combines all of them ones above.

    It was more like 1-800-GET ANY INFORMATION YOU NEED RIGHT NOW.

    I was going to look up numbers and restaurants and etc….. get people unlost… whatever one would need.

    Really ONSTAR has this going on. PUSH THE BLUE BUTTON.

    Anyway, Kyle Treece Jul 14th, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    This would be a great idea if I could only get the word around for people to call it!

    THAT RIGHT THERE is the problem…. good iproducts and services are one thing but their is a wide chasm between having a good product and having enough of a market to make it work.

  9. Frank Reply

    hahah.. my friends and i actually talked about that before. of course like all business ideas, there are the nay-sayers with their “this wont work because…” and the previous people have a point. however, there are also reasons people would use this despite those obstacles. i dunno if enuf ppl to make it profitable, but some ppl would use it. so yeah, basically.. is it worth it? consider:

    1.) marketing. spreading the word or getting the ball rolling is prolly one of the hardest things.
    2.) people would pretty much dial only if they’re guaranteed ACCURATE, reliable, easy-to-understand directions. you wouldnt bother dialing if ur not sure if anyones gonna pick up. does that mean the line’s gotta be manned 24/7? if multiple ppl call simultaneously, will they be put on hold? accurate… reading off google maps doesnt mean its accurate. you’re also more likely to call a friend who’s familiar with the area and can tell you landmarks and things people notice who’ve driven thru the area and not just reading directions for somewhere they’ve never been.

    i think if ppl generally know about it and can rely on it, then it has a chance of getting off the ground. and only then, just a chance. :oP the concept is good and simple but i think the logistics would really suck if u really get into it. but maybe that’s true for all business plans. i cant say because i’ve never tried my own business so my opinion doesnt hold much weight here heheh…

    anyway.. interesting.

  10. Alberen Reply

    OK, since we are talking about business ideas I need some help… I have two or three good ideas for online businesses….

    ….now see, since I can’t program a single line of code that puts me at a small disadvantage.

    …two- programmers have got to be tired of people like me dreaming for them but not following through after they spend hours coding.

    …. three– the best programmers can be found online… but how would I keep from getting cut out of my idea once I shared it? I know how to do that if the programmer is local but like I said, I want a talented programmer!