Idea #12 – Who Are the Customers?

by Byron on January 18, 2012

The Problem

When I am researching public companies, one of the things I want to know are who are their largest customers.  This information is difficult to obtain and not collated in one place.

The Business

A website that lists every public company and their top ten customers.  whoarepubliccompaniescustomers.com

Doableness

Not very.  The information is so fragmented.  Moreover, the information is changing constantly.  Companies are not required to make customer info public.  With little advantage in doing so, why would they?

But then again, no idea is “not very” doable.  This can be done, you just need clever methods of crowdsourcing the information.  It would have to be a kind of mash-up of wikileaks, an expert network, a company research service, and an investor bulletin board.

My Thoughts

On this day, January 18, 2012, many websites are dark, in protest of SOPA.  I don’t really know what I’m talking about with regard to SOPA, so I’m not going to say much.  But here is the quote from the dark Wikipedia, “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge… For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet.”

I think Wikipedia is awesome.  I love it.  I use it often.  In the past, I have contributed to it.  It’s a wonderful service.  But would it be any less wonderful if there was one google ad box on each page?

I don’t say that to speak one way or another on SOPA.  I say it because there is nothing inherently wrong with making money from information.  If you collate, package, analyze, or simply resell to the right person at the right time, I support your right to make money from information.

I view this as what the information age is – making money from information.  Doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, authors, scientists, researchers, publishers, and many, many more make livings from information.  Soon, there will be a huge industry of people selling information about you back to you.  The Recorded Life.

If you put up a website that lists the top customers of public companies, I will pay to use it.  I will pay to know.

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