a new startup idea

I’m sure this idea isn’t original. It’s too obvious. In fact, I’d bet money that somebody is already doing it.

Consolidate the social networks. Write a nice abstract social network layer, and connect all the data into one large, meta, …social internet.

Wired predicts that in 2007, if this doesn’t happen, the social networks will start to die. People just can’t keep up with all their different profiles, and having some connections here and others there.

It’s a great spot to start a startup, so go forth and prosper! I’m too busy to do it, but if I was a poor student I’d be all over this. Maybe if you’re smart enough I’ll invest in you.

there should be a common-sense green index fund

What’s an investor to do if he wants to invest in companies that produce or plan to produce clean green energy? There are a few options out there, but from what I can tell they all suck. Here’s an example: the new alternatives fund. Here are the problems with it:

  • Front load of 4.75%
  • Expense ratio greater than 1%
  • Does not invest in nuclear power

Vanguard has an index fund that tracks the FTSE4Good social index, which has a much better expense picture. However, it also does not invest in nuclear power, and it’s not so much investing in green energy companies as it’s avoiding companies with bad track records in environmentalism, labor, etc.

My ideal fund:

  • Is an index fund. That means passive investing style, with low expense ratio. The expense ratio doesn’t even have to be super low, like Vanguard’s funds. Even as high as .4 or .5% would be a reasonable price to pay.
  • Invests in energy technologies that are sustainable for the very long term. That means no coal or oil, and yes wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, etc. Preferably with an emphasis on companies that show real promise of profitability in the moderate (10-yr) horizon.

Is that too much to ask? Maybe I should just start the fund. Managing other people’s money looks like a really easy way to make a lot of money anyhow.