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First off, Alex, I love this. You characterized a real problem. Scientific Validation as a Service? SVaaS. Investors validating startup business models. Product leaders validating design artifacts. CIOs validating big purchases. I'd try to bootstrap SVaaS but where's the scientific evidence... - customers will pay to make substantially better decisions? - customers will pay more than the cost of information? - validation can be delivered within the time frame of the decisions, - customers will actually appreciate the advice and do nice things (buy again, tell their friends) vs. resent being shown up, - validated decisions are materially better than prevailing wisdom? There are consulting firms that sell research-driven expertise. The problem's always been that their work only applies to momentous decisions. Contrast this with the gazillion small decisions that shape a web site or the design of a retail store's layout or in-game affordances or rural electrification programs. There've been numerous attempts at expertise markets, where your rent experts by the minute or the question. Even there, it's hard to extract science-informed answers from a sea of prevailing wisdom, and real science from junk science. The best part of SVaaS is that it's a gigantic market's really hard problem to solve. A worthy goal.
Both Twilio and Voxeo have community folks. APIs are their primary product and community is their primary marketing and customer engagement strategy.
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Oct 31, 2010