Secondhand clothes are big business. You can read all about it here: How Wearloom simplifies secondhand shopping I like the name Wearloom, a nice portmanteau combining wear and heirloom. It’s the kind of name you might be lucky enough to find available. Though I see that it’s been registered on and off since 2011.
But you know what a great name for a secondhand clothing startup would be? Back In Fashion. BackInFashion.com It’s got all the gravitas of a phrase that goes back a hundred years, and it perfectly matches the use case in a classy way.
A few weeks after I nabbed Payineer.com, I noticed that Payoneer(correct spelling).co was picked up on the drop. A few weeks later I followed that link to a SafeNames.net landing page. From there I filled out a contact form and was contacted shortly thereafter by friendly staff who were happy to receive the domain.
Because this revolutionary process/product needs a great name!
Our family has a cabin with a compost toilet. Urine is diverted to separate 5 gallon tanks and later discarded. The poop is mixed with peat and 2 years after composting in 45 gallon drums, it is the best potting soil you can imagine. But human urine contains a ton of nitrogen. Somehow, in the West, we are only now becoming aware of its value and how we can put it to use. Are you the startup bringing this to market? You need a name and Urin8 is perfect. Let’s talk!
We found a way to turn urine into solid fertiliser – it could make farming more sustainable
It’s likely that most of the food you’ll eat today was not farmed sustainably.
The global system of food production is the largest human influence on the planet’s natural cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus. How much crops can grow is limited by the amount of these two elements in the soil, so they’re applied as fertilisers.
But the majority of fertilisers are either made by converting nitrogen in the air to ammonia, which alone consumes 2% of the world’s energy and relies heavily on fossil fuels, or by mining finite resources, like phosphate rock.
A solution to this problem could be much closer than people realise. Most of the nutrients we consume in food are passed in our urine, because our bodies already have enough. But instead of being recaptured, these nutrients are flushed, diluted, and sent to wastewater treatment plants where they’re scrubbed out, leaving effluents that can be safely released into the environment.
The most nutrient-rich part of wastewater is human urine, which makes up less than 1% of the total volume but contains 80% of the nitrogen and 50% of the phosphorus. We discovered how to recycle this urine into valuable – and sustainable – farmland fertiliser.
How to recycle urine
You can capture urine with special toilets that separate it from faeces after you flush. But because urine is mostly water, farmers would have to spread 15,000kg of it just to fertilise a hectare of land. If there was a way to remove the water and extract just the nutrients, farmers would only need to apply 400kg of it for the same effect.
Evaporating the water from urine is surprisingly difficult, as urine is a complex chemical solution. Almost all of the valuable nitrogen in urine is in the form of urea, a chemical that is used as the world’s most commonly applied nitrogen fertiliser.
But a fast-acting enzyme called urease is invariably present inside wastewater pipes and converts urea to ammonia. When exposed to air, the ammonia quickly evaporates, taking the nitrogen from the urine with it and giving off a very pungent odour – think the stale urine smell of public toilets.
Fortunately, we’ve discovered that increasing the pH of urine to make it alkaline ensures the urea doesn’t break down or end up smelling really bad. Using this technique, we’ve developed a process that can reduce the volume of urine and transform it into a solid fertiliser. We call this process alkaline urine dehydration.
Doing this is quite easy: you just fill a urine dryer with an alkalising agent, connect it to your toilet, pee as usual and the urine is converted into dried fertiliser. A smart design could even make the dryer fit below the toilet so it doesn’t take up a lot of bathroom space. While electricity would be needed for evaporating the water, the dryer could be coupled with solar energy to take its energy use off the grid.
We estimate that it would cost just US$5 ( £4.20) to supply an average family of four with a year’s supply of alkalising agent. The output from the dryer is a solid fertiliser containing 10% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus and 4% potassium – a similar combination to blended mineral fertilisers.
The first flush toilet, invented by Alexander Cummings in 1775, revolutionised sanitation. Drying urine could kickstart a second revolution in how we manage wastewater. If implemented worldwide, recycled urine could replace nearly a quarter of all the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser used in agriculture.
But that would require a service chain capable of supplying homes with alkalising agent, collecting the dried urine and processing it into fertiliser for farmers to use. A similar service chain already exists for the recycling of plastics, metals, paper and glass – dried urine could simply be another component.
Research suggests that people are open to the idea of recycling urine. A survey of nearly 3,800 people across 16 countries even revealed that people would buy and eat food grown using human urine. With technology like this, ordinary people would have a safe and convenient way to make modern life more sustainable every time they go to the bathroom.
John Legend tells Marc Maron on the WTF Podcast episode 1137 how a young Nabil Elderkin leveraged ‘squatting’ the KanyeWest.com domain into a career changing relationship. Meeting Nabil lead to John meeting his future wife Chrissy Teigen!
His big break came when he befriended the then relatively unknown rap artist Kanye West. Elderkin had heard a Kanye West mixtape and had tried to contact the rapper by looking up www.kanyewest.com. The website came up as unregistered but available for registration, so he bought the domain name on an impulse. Three weeks later an executive from Roc-A-Fella Records contacted Elderkin to tell him the label had just signed Kanye West to a multi-album deal and wanted to know how much he was asking for the domain name. Elderkin wasn’t interested in a payment for the domain and preferred to transfer the domain name provided he could meet the new artist and do a photoshoot with him, these images went on to be the artist’s first publicity photos. John Legend also happened to be at the photoshoot which led to the two forming a relationship, and future video work together where Elderkin introduced Legend to his future wife, Chrissy Teigen.
No doubt there is a lot of shady stuff that goes on around domain names. And a lot of hate generated as a result. Occasionally I’ll see a domain dropping or in the auctions I think should rightfully belong to someone and rather than let it fall back into the endless churn I’ll nab it and try to get it to its ‘rightful owner’. I’ve also reached out to non-profits and startups with their namesake dropping to let them know it’s heading for auction or available to register. I call this ‘goodwill domaining’.
In this case I saw that BruceSpringstein.com was winding down in the Godaddy auctions. It had a bid against it and to keep track of it I placed a bid as well and was later surprised to see I’d won the domain. Looking for a channel by which to communicate I ran across this WIPO case for the domain BruceSpringsteen.com where Bruce and his legal team LOST a dispute against notorious (Canadian I’m embarrassed to say) cybersquatter Jeff Burgar. Bruce hosts his site at BruceSpringsteen.net as a result.
I researched the lawyer’s names and available info in the WIPO case and didn’t find an obvious way to connect. The WHOIS for BruceSpringsteen.net shows the domain is handled by MarkMonitor. I’ve sent a couple of emails their way but what usually leads to being contacted is forwarding the domain to a contact splash page where I’m clear about the domain being a gift and how to contact me. I’ll forward the domain to this post. I encourage the domainers among you to keep an eye out for the opportunity to help out a non-profit, Mom & Pop business, or someone you’re a fan of. It might only cost you a few bucks and you know how much the right domain can mean to someone.
Excerpt from the ‘Getting a Billion People Working From Home‘ episode of the My First Million podcast with Shaan Puri. The entire episode (linked to above) is great but I wanted to focus on what Jason Chicola shares about naming his company and acquiring the domain. He demonstrates some hard-earned wisdom in his approach.
Chicola spent $400k to acquire Rev.com (a huge part of their assets at the time).
Started off with a funky (animal + keyword) $12 Godaddy domain to make clear and specific their initial product offering. Knew it was temporary. “Spend no time at the beginning thinking about a name because the odds that your business is going to work are not super high”.
Only later when the business was working and they’d found a good product/market fit did he prioritize naming the company.
“It’s really a two part problem. One is picking a name that you love, and then figuring out can you get the domain name”.
Hired two domain brokers to research his name list.
Used Mechanical Turk to evaluate names…”What three words does this name evoke?”