Brian Armstrong

Million Dollar Business Idea: Make a Rating System

Have you noticed that lots of businesses are based around the idea of a “rating system”?

The essence of the idea is to take something with a lot of complex factors and simplify it into one number.

This makes people’s lives easier because now they can quickly compare two items and see which is better.

Imagine all the factors that go into deciding whether someone is a credit risk. You have to look at their income, rental history, current debts, tax returns, etc. If you had a list of 100 people to evaluate it would take forever to pull that all up and compare each person. But with a credit score the task is now easy. Pay a small fee to pull up the credit score on each person and sort them from highest to lowest!

Clearly there is value in this since it saves people time and lets them make quick decisions.

What other products don’t have a standard ranking or score associated with it yet? Maybe you can be the first brand to become the standard for that industry. Not just a website with a rating system on it, but THE standard. The FICO score of cell phones, if you will. The kind where your brand becomes a part of every day language.

“You got that new [some product]? Cool, I heard it got a 92 Brian score.”

Basically you would help people answer a very fundamental question: “Is this good?”

One other interesting thing to note here is that the “scales” of each of these varies. Credit scores go from about 400 to 850 (which I always thought was ridiculous) while Rotten Tomatoes goes from 1 to 100 and Page rank from 1 to 10. Of course, mathematically you can convert any scale into any other scale so it is totally arbitrary which one you pick.

Of these I think I like the 1 to 10 the best. It’s the simplest and conveys the most information quickly. After all, is a movie with a 74 rating really better than a 72? Based on a limited number of votes they really are about the same. Using a 1 to 100 scale almost implies it’s more accurate than it really is. I think 1 to 10 conveys just the right amount of information (whereas some systems, like the traditional “4 star” movie rating system doesn’t convey enough).

I think it could work with any product that is sufficiently complicated to buy (or a matter of opinion like movies). Cars, real estate, electronics, bands…who knows.

Do you think this could work? Post an idea in the comments below. Or keep it for yourself and go out there to make it!

Until next time, keep breaking free! Brian Armstrong