13 (More) “Brilliant” Ideas For You To Steal At Will


47 days ago, I shared 17 “Brilliant” Ideas For You To Steal At Will.

Oh ho! You thought I was finished? Heavens to Betsy! Hardly.

Behold: the sequel. Better than the original? I’ll leave that up to your discernment.

As always, the following ideas are yours for the takin’. Go ahead ‘n steal. Make them real. And thank me in your Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Deal?


The Small / Medium / Large Film Festival

1 story arc. 3 filmmakers. Each director is given the same story outline, set of core actors, budget and production time frame. But one must create a 1-minute movie, another a 10-minute movie, and another a 100-minute movie. The unfairness of it all! The forced ingenuity! The possibilities!


Dial-a-bridge radio show

A single phone number, that — once dialed — rings hundreds and thousands of ‘subscribed’ numbers, simultaneously. Subscribers simply pick up the ringing phone to hear the spontaneous show. The call is also pumped into a live online audio stream, and automatically recorded for future downloading. Spur-of-the-moment, sneak-attack broadcasting, from your cell phone!

P.S. If you decide to invent this platform, tell me & Dyana Valentine, ASAP. The future of the human race may depend on it.


Singing Drag Queen Telegram

Truly an idea whose time has come. Need I explain? Methinks not.


The phrase “Goin’ Thoreau on yo ass.”

Entering a period of extreme anti-socialness? Feeling like a naughty hermit? Just want to crawl inside a hollow tree, plant beans on the shores of Walden Pond, sketch ducks in your notebook, and detach from humanity? The next time someone invites you out to a dinner party or minglefest, instead of saying, “Uh, no thanks. I kinda don’t feel like it,” say “No can do! I’m GOIN’ THOREAU ON YO ASS!”


Mood lipstick

It’s a mood ring, for your mouth! A moisturizing, tinted balm that changes colors, according to your body temperature and neurotransmitter fluctuations.


The Post College Survival Kit

A life-saving compendium of practical articles, checklists and worksheets for recent grads, with live Q&A sessions and savvy, sharp-tongued instructors. Apartment decor on a dime! The murky waters of post-college dating! Leveraging your first internship, for maximum vocational velocity! Golly, that’d be something. Too bad it doesn’t exist… OH WAIT. IT DOES. (And we have Sarah Von to thank for it.)



Like Kickstarter, but ‘specially for speaking gigs. Want your favorite luminary to rock the mic, in your town? Build an event page, crowdsource funding, and once you’ve hit your revenue target, boom! The celeb commits to a date, their keynote fee gets wired over, everyone who invested gets a ticket to the event, and you keep any additional profits, as a booking commission.


Non-bucket-sized self-serve cartons at frozen yogurt establishments

This is hardly a revelation, but the carton sizes at self-serve froyo spots (like YogurtLand and FroYoLife) are somewhat ludicrous. The “small” is the size of a toddler’s skull. The “large” is comparable to a mastodon feeding trough. America! Stop embarrassing yourself!


Girls Gone Wilde

Hot, young co-eds on spring break…reading excerpts from Oscar Wilde’s collected works!
Update: upon further investigation, it appears that GGW already (sort of) exists! Oscar would be proud.


The “Don’t Be Alarmed” Clock

A non-confrontational way to greet the day! Your personalized DBAC awakens you with tinkling wind chimes and humpback whale moans, and a mellifluous voice invites you to “gently, slowly open your eyes. No? Not yet? That’s juuuuust fine. You just go right back to sleep. Thaaaat’s it.” Upon rising, the DBAC softly congratulates you on a job well done, and delivers one piece of good news to set the tone for your morning (“baby panda populations are on the rise!”).


You Should Know This By Now

A PechaKucha style event, where presenters have 20 seconds (and 20 slides) to demonstrate a simple — but frequently bungled — task. Audiences learn how to: shake a perfect martini! defrost a freezer! tie a Winsor knot! write a proper thank you note! spell the word “acknowledge”! change a flat tire! fold a fitted sheet! leave an intelligible voicemail!


Email Addiction E-Sponsor

At Alcoholics Anonymous, recovering alcoholics have a Sponsor who acts as an on-call peer counselor. If you’re feeling shaky — or on the verge of breaking your sobriety — you can call your Sponsor for an SOS phone chat.

Imagine an automated E-Sponsor for email addicts. Every time you click over to your Inbox, a message pops up with a stern-but-loving reminder: “You’ve committed to checking your email 3x a day. Do you really want to dive into the mire?” OR: “It’s 11:35 pm. Instead of reading emails, why not write a letter to your Future Self?” OR: “You’ve got a loving partner who would probably loooove a massage. Like, right now.”


Club Kid Cruise Lines

Transatlantic crossings are experiencing a revival — but what if maroon & navy blue color palettes, 5-piece string quartets & nautical motifs aren’t your cuppa tea? Imagine stepping onto a neon-pink gangway designed by Karim Rashid? Or setting sail in a modernist vessel outfitted by Philippe Starck? While Major Lazer spins mash-ups in the galley Club kids wanna sail the high seas, too!


Got any brill to spill?

Hair-brained schemes and half-baked notions are my favorite conversation fodder.

Divulge your back-burner brain-gems, won’t you?



creativity // inspiration


all truly brilliant, but the mood lipstick cracks me up the most. and i would like it to be tested at parent-teacher conferences, therapy sessions and office holiday parties.

You make my heart and brain happy. You make my smile muscles tired.

LIV :: Mood lipstick could trigger some scandalous rumors ’round the water cooler, though. Illicit office crushes — now color-coded, for your ease & amusement!

RACHEL :: It takes fewer muscles to smile, than to frown! So smiling is always more efficient. Awww, shucks.

Alexandra Franzen on Apr 24, 2011 Reply

I’m pretty sure the Email Addiction E-Sponsor could be brought into existence by a browser add-on like Leechblock or a simple Greasemonkey script that somebody smarter than me has probably already created or could create. :-)

These ideas actually /are/ brilliant, by the way.

Kaitlin on Apr 25, 2011 Reply

KAITLIN :: I’m sure soooomething Greasemonkey-ish exists. Mainly, I just want to code to read my mind. Possible?

Alexandra Franzen on Apr 25, 2011 Reply

I could really use a singing drag queen telegram today! (And yeah, every year on my birthday.) I’m just saying…

Kate on Apr 26, 2011 Reply

KATE :: I pretty much want singing drag queens flanking my every move, like a Greek chorus.

Alexandra Franzen on Apr 27, 2011 Reply

I love the “Don’t Be Alarmed” Clock. Too funny!

Liz on Apr 28, 2011 Reply

My Aunt and I came up with Final Destination Cruise Lines a long time ago….. it’s way more fun than living in a nursing home. And burials at sea are probably cheaper.
Awful? yes. But when I get really old, I want to go out with a killer tan and a margarita in my hand.

I know, this is old news, but it’s only ’cause I done did gone Thoreau on yo’ ass! ROFL! I love it and this is entering my everyday speech. You’re amazing! Thank you!!

Leigh Ann on Jun 20, 2011 Reply

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