Had an interesting conversation with a friend last night about innovation. I tend to align pretty squarely with the Peter Thiel school of thought, i.e., that innovation has stagnated massively in relative terms over the past 50 years, and we're generally not solving hard problems anymore. My friend thinks innovation is flourishing because "tools" and "frameworks" have gotten significantly better over the past 10 years or so, allowing people to go from idea to prototype (or company) in record time. While that's true, I'd argue that this has actually led to a decrease in innovation rather than an increase, because it's so easy to build something silly and turn it into a play company.
For instance, most of you have probably seen the parody of stuff that Silicon Valley people say. But I actually hear about companies like this all the time. So today, I'd like to officially announce the pre-alpha release of BurgerFlux™, a.k.a Instagram for Hamburgers.
BurgerFlux™ is a mobile social hyperlocal crowd-sourced culinary design platform that uses game dynamics to bring the most deliciously-imagined burger to fruition. Here's how it works. You, the hungry, burger-craving warrior, make your way to a local BurgerFlux Bistro, or a BurgerFlux Participating Partner (Burger PaPa). When you arrive at your imminent burger paradise, whip out your BurgerFlux Capacitor (a.k.a. iPhone 4 or above) and open up the sleekly-designed BurgerFlux Designer. With a few taps, you can select not only what goes on top of your FluxBurger™, but also what the "buns" are made of. Fried eggs surrounding a kobe beef patty topped with locally-sourced dinosaur kale and heirloom tomatoes, with a ponzu dipping sauce? I'll have two. Once you're satisfied with your creation, simply hit the "Eat me" button, and your order will be instantly put on the queue, with payment deducted via NFC, or Square, or one of our roaming BurgerBankers, who will conveniently procure your payment from your back pocket while you are deciding on quail eggs versus extra carnitas.
But wait, there's more! Your burger design is instantly shared with all other BurgerFlux customers! Indecisive? No problem! Just order the most popular FluxBurger of the day, week, month, or millenium. Locally-designed burgers are automatically given higher weight, and the default view shows your friends' recently-imagined burgers immediately upon opening the app. But just like that second and third bite of a FluxBurger, it gets even better. If you submit a new burger design, and other people order your creation, you earn points towards a future burger purchase! Which is why your design is instantly shared to Facebook, Twitter, your own automatically-created automatically-created Tumblr (don't think too hard), with your BurgerFlux Bistro locale auto-checked into on Google Checkins, Foursquare, and Yelp (for experts). And it probably goes without saying, but we use Hadoop to process the BurgerLogs and track BurgerTrends, allowing us to align the BurgerGraph with your social graph and maximize your burger enjoyment vector.
BurgerFlux runs on node.js and will go public (launch and IPO) on or around April 1st, 2012.