FROM: Chris Preager
What NEED does this meet?
People that could offer something in return, needing something done that they cannot do. For example I am a computer developer with a broken washing machine. Next door there might be a plumber with a broken computer. Almost everyone has skills that are useful.
And it needn't be such a selfish trade. I would be over the moon to pop down the road and fix a child's computer, knowing that that might inspire a plumber to pop down the road and fix an old lady's dripping tap.
What is the APPROACH?
Probably best added to your great UpMyStreet site under postcode, if there are sufficient numbers of people registered. You have a profile under which you post skills if you have them and needs if you have them.
When needs are matched to local skills (eg, within a mile someone can meet a need for a 30 minute or less job), a website message or email is sent to the person with skills and they decide whether or not to respond.
Maybe a ratings system would be good to show people that other people are doing favours.
What are the BENEFITS to people?
Silly little jobs that turn in to a big hassle, like fixing a computer or mending a leaky pipe. If carefully designed, it needn't be just practical ideas either - I am writing a funding proposal for a Bolivian NGO and want someone to sanity-check it, I am returning faulty goods to a company that has dissappeared and trading standards aren't helping. Favours should be explicitly limited to 30 minutes or less, but surely almost everyone would be happy to give that little amount of time and save your neighbour such hassles?
What is the COMPETITION?
I have not been able to find anything remotely similar - your UpMyStreet inspired it.
What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I couldn't really guess the costs but technically it is all fairly simple to program once you have your postcode geographical bit working well, which you seem to. I suppose it is about 7 web pages to code and 6 DB tables to track skills, requests, matches and responses, and to display results or comments from grateful favour receivers.
Just the design would have to be careful, steering people in the right direction not to abuse people that can't say no or feel pressurised.
(That is why I think requests shouldn't be targetted and matches between need and skill are revealed by the person who has the skill if they want.)
It's a great idea - and certainly already exists across the country in the forms of LETS (Local Exchange Trading Schemes). I think there's a national co-ordinating group, too - but probably not a website like you suggest. So they'd be the people to work with.
Posted by: Mr Phillips at Nov 3, 2003 1:13:20 PM