How do you add value to a rubber band?

Rubber Bands

Tonight there are thousands of college students around the world trying to add value to a rubber band, thanks to a contest kicked off last night at Stanford University, so I thought I’d help.

Next week I’ll be helping to judge their efforts. It’s Entrepreneurship Week and Stanford’s page on the week has the details.

I was at the kickoff, where they showed a movie, done by these guys (Qik video), about last year’s contest, which asked students to add value to a PostIt note.

Some of them last year came up with amazing ideas for PostIt Notes — one team raised thousands of dollars (Qik video). Remember, they had/have less than a week to come up with an idea, implement it, and document it for the contest.

The contest is really designed to get you over your fears of being creative. IE, don’t worry about showing up on Valleywag for coming up with some stupid ideas.

How many ideas can you come up with for using rubber bands? Here’s some I’ve come up with.

1. Hard drive holder/shock absorber. OK, OK, I stole this one from Ajay, a friend of mine who used rubber bands to dampen his hard drive because the road bumps were causing him problems.
2. Slingshot. Too easy and every kid has done it.
3. Cut them up in little pieces, find a way to glue them down, and you have a new road or track surface. Again, I stole this idea cause several high schools in the area have surfaces that are pretty similar to this.
4. Create a cause based on the color. OK, I stole this one from Lance Armstrong, who used rubber bands to raise millions of dollars for his charity.
5. Make “Smart Rubber Bands” by putting RFID tags into them. You can then put them around things which you’d like to keep track of. Not to mention you probably will be able to charge $50 a box, instead of only $2.

See how hard it is to come up with a good idea for a household item? It’ll be interesting to see what the students come up with. Their entries will be public by the end of next week and will be submitted via YouTube.

Got any ideas? Post them here, I’m sure some students will appreciate that.

Larry Lessig talks about copyright concerns

Yesterday I streamed Larry Lessig’s last talk on free culture via my cell phone. Sorry the audio is tough to hear, but it was an important speech and other recordings will eventually show up (it was professionally recorded). The Stanford Daily wrote it up. He took on the issue of copyright and corruption. Rumors are swirling that Lessig is planning on running for Congress. Lessig’s blog is here. For those who don’t know Lessig, he’s the founder and CEO of Creative Commons and as a Stanford Law Professor has launched a bunch of interesting and important initiatives there.