Since 1728, it's been a dilemma for millions of people: how to be a little piggy that goes to the marketplace, eat roast beef, and not have to wee wee all the way home. Well, the problem has been solved.
I first learned of the solution a few nights ago. I was getting ready to watch my beloved Jets confront the Dallas Cowboys when I head the familiar ring of my cell phone.
"Hello." I didn't bother to look at the caller ID so I thought it might be my daughter Bri who has a knack at calling when I'm watching football.
"Hello, Dr. Weisinger, this is Ian Cinnamon; do you remember me?"
"Of course I do!" Ian Cinnamon -- an MIT student that I interviewed months ago for his imaginative college tour website. I remembered him as a combination of Steve Jobs creativity and Warren Buffett savvy and told him to call me if he had another exciting venture. It's a real plus for me to tell executives in the business school classes I teach about innovative upstarts so I thought it best to hear how the young entrepreneur was going to change the world.
"So Ian, I trust you've come up with another exciting idea. I'm listening."
"I do Dr. Weisinger. It's called Marketplacr."
"Tell me about it." I muted the Jet game but kept my eyes fixated on my giant Samsung 3D TV, the choice television for serious watchers.
Ian went into his pitch. "Well, I call it Marketplacr and it lets people create marketplaces for their communities."
"Social media shopping," I interrupted.
"Yes, that is a good way of putting it. Community members join the marketplace, list items to sell, and buy from each other. Think of it as a shopping version of a forum. Members post items for sale, and they get paid by the buyers. And the person who set up the marketplace gets a percentage of the transaction. There are infinite needs for an easy way to make marketplaces."
"Give me examples, "I demanded.
He didn't miss a beat. "Take a community club. A figure skating club might make a marketplace where members could sell/buy old equipment from one another. Another example might be online forums. For example, rocketry forums have a lot of members who make items and could list them to sell to other members on a rocketry marketplace. University students could create a marketplace in which they list and buy books from one another. Name a hobby, and I can tell you a way it would benefit from a Marketplacr. I made a video that explains the concept pretty well: http://vimeo.com/28335319 and the site is: marketplacr.com "
"All right, all right. I get the idea. Thanks for letting me know. Bye, bye."
As I returned my attention to the Jet game, I thought about Marketplacr. I liked it and thought it worthy to tell my upcoming classroom of executives for a variety of reasons.
First and most obvious is economics. Times are tough and Marketplacr affords individuals the opportunity to sell their goods worldwide with low overhead, a cheap stimulus for economic recovery. Furthermore, the start up is easy -- just put your information in and Marketplacr does the rest. No headaches in starting your own boutique business.
Next, I liked the concept because it reeked of entrepreneurial spirit; armed with a belief in a product -- be it artwork or homemade spices, anybody could test the market to see if their product could soar. We all know how tough it is to get a product that we believe in placed in somebody else's store, consequently dooming a product before it gets off the ground. With Makretplacr, that's not a problem because you get to create your own store to sell your own product. You can test the market yourself.
Most importantly, and appealing to me as a psychologist, I like Marketplacr because of its social implications. An abundance of social psychology research reveals that a main reason we shop is for the social experience, specifically the interactions we have with others, be they friendly merchants, friends that we bump into, or a chance encounter with a stranger that blossoms into a new relationship.
The real value of Marketplacr is that it will help people build relationships around a common interest -- their goods and hobbies.
My friend Lee, an antique dealer, would be able to use his Marketplacr not only to enhance his business, but to meet others who shared similar interests in antique watches. My friend, Arlan, a comic book illustrator, would be able to find buyers for his creations, and meet others -- perhaps from a distant universe, who have the same interest in super heroes.
This is what Marketplacr really brings to the market -- an exchange of ideas, interests, and goods that can connect people who otherwise would never meet. It's a shopping Facebook, an innovation in social media shopping.
I could have my own self-help marketplace where I could peddle my books and CDs and meet other psychologists interested in the same areas of human behavior-from all over the world.
So hats off to Marketplacr: its solves a dilemma we've all faced: you can now go the marketplace, eat a roast beef sandwich while you're shopping, and if you have to wee wee, you're already home!