Idea: “Record This” Bookmarklet
Lately I’ve been intrigued by situations in which the amount of effort required to complete a task is not overwhelming but it is enough to prevent the task from getting done. The latest example, from a couple of weeks ago, was wine journaling. Sure it only takes a few minutes to pull out a laptop, log into your wine-dot-whatever account and structure a proper review, but unless a few minutes becomes a few seconds, I’m out… and so are thousands of other people.
Minertia is what I might call it… short for a “minimal level of inertia”.
Many companies have succeeded primarily because their products overcome minertia. Twitter is a good example of this. There were millions of people with (purportedly entertaining) thoughts, but none of these thoughts were worth spending more than 30 seconds to publish. Twitter provided a way to turn these idle thoughts into legitimate published communication with 30 seconds of effort, and BAM, they are the hottest company on the internet.
On to more pedestrian matters though: recording stuff on TV.
I’ll use Tivo as an example because that’s what I have, but this could apply to any DVR, Apple TV, Boxee, etc etc:
Here is how I decide to add a show to the repertoire of things my Tivo records automatically:
- Read about a new show somewhere online.
- Hear or read about it again somewhere else.
- Read about how good it is again and finally decide to do something about it.
- If I’m home, turn on the TV, navigate somewhat laboriously through on-screen menus and search for the show in order to set up automatic recording. If I’m away, go to Tivo.com and use their totally crappy search feature, try to find the program, and if that is even successful, set up automatic recording.
As you can see, this sometimes equates to several minutes of work (I’ve spent over 15 minutes trying to do this on my iPhone). Again, we’re not talking about a huge time investment here, but it’s enough to require steps 1-3 whereas with a little minertia reduction, people might be willing to record shows the first time they hear about them.
What got me thinking about this was an interview with Rex I read yesterday. In it, he mentions Modern Family as the best show on TV right now (I say it’s Dexter or Million Dollar Listing, but whatever). Thankfully, Rex’s interview was about the third time I’d heard this so I bucked up and did step 4. But here’s how much easier it could be:
- Read article on web which contains the name of a TV show.
- Click a bookmarklet to query Tivo, and Tivo spiders the page, highlighting all TV shows it recognizes.
- Click on the show you want, confirm with a little ajaxed-in dialog box, and a command gets sent to your Tivo to create a Season Pass for the show.
The effort would thusly be reduced to under 10 seconds.
As with the wine example, I fully expect someone to leave a comment pointing me to something that “kinda sorta” does this, but not in as optimal of a manner as I described above. Anybody know of something that does this? Or better yet, anyone work at Tivo and want to build this? :)