The Refugee Crisistunity

Jayceon has returned with insights on the humanitarian/business crisis emanating from Syria

With the world abuzz about Syrian refugees, I see a lot of bloviating on both sides of the aisles. The right presumes that ISIS would take the time to stick their best terrorists on some crappy boats (sorry but ISIS guys are alphas and don’t travel coach) to blow up Whocares, Iowa. The left is making a big show of how they would kiss and hug all the refugees, then tell them that God is a woman. Altogether, you got a big crap sundae as Matt and Trey would say. And as they would also say, the truth lies in the middle as always.

Make no mistake. This is a certifiable crisis. There are hundreds of thousands waiting to get in and no vetting process. But a crisis means a different thing to an entrepreneur than it does to a normal person. A crisis means an opportunity to cash in big time.

The people who would open the floodgates to these refugees will make some pallid points about Steve Jobs being the son of a Syrian refugee (doesn’t count, he was adopted). They mostly try to tug at the heart strings, but they are reaching feebly to a stronger point than any unquantifiable humanitarian concern: there is some real cash value here, potentially.

With the two diametrically opposed sides, there exists a canyon. Through that canyon, I would drive the car of this idea: a tracking app for recent Syrian immigrants, modeled closely after a success earlier in my career in MinorityMapr.

We would accept all these war-ravaged peoples, but immediately outfit them with a surgically-implanted tag that tracks their locations. They would use Foursquare to “check in” to locations, providing a great cross-market boost to the app and a fun method for these recent arrivals to comply with the law. People who buy the premium version of the app can see in real time where these people are, what they’re doing, and even how they’re feeling about their new host country. But this wouldn’t just make the engineers and marketers rich.

I would imagine that similar to Vine, Twitter, and YouTube, there would be stars on MyRefugee. Some plucky kid from Aleppo or Homs who never dreamed of stardom has the potential to become so big thanks to this app that they could simply tweet “hey” and get thousands of people demanding his seed. A kid with 1.5 million followers on MyRefugee could earn thousands in paid check-ins, product endorsements, and denunciation of the Islamic State/Assad regime/Jabhat al-Nusra/the Obama regime.

Of course, safety concerns must be placated here. There would very obviously be a pinprick-sized piece of C4 on the tracking device that could immobilize the refugees should they actually be terrorists. All in all, you have a solution that compromises neither humanity nor safety, and best of all, disrupts the stagnant immigration sector.

We have an opportunity to decide what kind of people we are. Are we timid, fearful folks who turn away from a genuine winner investment vehicle. Are we sappy humanitarians who give away platforms that should be paying real dividends? Or are we Americans? I know what I am. Let’s lean in.