So WebInno was last night and it was – as always – a lot of fun. I got there early and chatted with a few people, checked out some of the side dishes, had a drink, etc.
I had good a conversations with Greg Boesel from Swaptree. It sounds like things are going very well over there and that they are fast approaching the formal launch of the company. There’s already made trades to be made (last time I looked I think there were 1200 items I could get) so it’s going to be crazy when the floodgates really open.
Ernst Oddsund from Digibug and I chatted for some time – mostly about communities, social media and whatnot. We shared the opinion that the communities created by technology are more important than the technology itself – a point missed by people constantly seeking out the newest and coolest bells and whistles.
After the event, I joined Dave Evans (Digicraft) and John Lester (Second Life) down in the bar for a few extra drinks. That was a good time; but for some reason I felt compelled to disagree with everything that was being said – even though in many cases I actually agreed. I’m not sure why this is but it isn’t new . . .
Afterward, as we walked back toward Kendal Square, a bit of exploring was done. Here Dave and John point the way:
But enough about who I met. Let’s get to the event itself. Yesterday I posted a preview and so I need to check in to see whether I was right or wrong.
The clock is counting down to tonight’s Web Innovators Group forum. Last month I went in with a set of expectations and assumptions and left with totally different opinions of the various companies that were there.
This time, I’ve decided to check out each of the companies and lay out what I think of each so I can compare notes after the fact. Here goes.
Geezeo – billed as “personal finance for the rest of us” Geezeo currently offers mobile and student versions of a planned online personal finance system. I’ll be honest, I don’t manage my money AT ALL. We’ve used Quicken for years and I’ve tried to be good with it but it’s never taken. My wife, on the other hand, is an absolute Quicken maven. I watched the screencast on the service, which was cool (if a little choppy). Basically, it allows you to receive your account balance information as an SMS message. Of course if you happen to have your phone, you could also call your bank and hear your balance . . . The direct to bank approach might involve more key presses but it also means that your personal financial data passes through fewer hands.
Expectation that I’ll be wowed – pretty low. I’m not a big personal finance kind of guy so it’s unlikely that this is something I’d use myself. I also worry about security I guess; but who am I fooling really? I’ll sign up for pretty much anything . . . The fact that geezeo uses gmail as for authentication makes me wonder who’s talking to who on this one. I like that they are using Amazon’s Simple Storage Service if for no other reason than that it allows good ideas to exist more easily.
Chances that I’m way off base – I’m feeling pretty confident on this one.
Survey says – I was not wowed. Perhaps when the full service comes out I will be but access to account balances didn’t do it for me. I’m also pretty skeptical that they will have much success taking on Quicken. Beating Quicken? No. Being acquired . . .?
DNS Stuff – “Welcome to the center of your DNS universe,” the site proclaims. I didn’t realize that I had a DNS universe – much less that it had a center. But enough bad attitude . . . This is a cool site. I like all of the various tools it lays out on the home page and the amount of good educational content on the site. The fact is though that this isn’t something for everyone (not that there’s a problem with that).
Expectations that I’ll be wowed – pretty high. Sure, I may not need or use DNSstuff but I am a geek and like slick networking tools as much as the next guy.
Chances that I’m way off base – I think I’ll be impressed.
Survey says – I was wrong about this one. I was not wowed. Part of it might have been that their presentation was not very good. I felt like it was too technical a story to try to tell in the few minutes they had. Better luck next time.
Enjoymymedia – when I went and checked this out I was pretty excited and impressed. The basis idea is that EnjoyMyMedia allows you to stream content to select users right from your computer. I have a ton of content that is of interest to only a small number of people and I don’t necessarily want to post it all publicly. I also don’t want to have to ask friends and family to sign up for accounts on a bunch of different services so this seemed like a good solution. Until I registered and tried to set it up. Windows only. I wish that was made clear up front somewhere . . .
Expectations that I’ll be wowed – very high. I like the idea and promise of enjoymymedia and hope that there will be a Mac version soon.
Chances that I’m way off base – pretty low.
Survey says – I was really impressed by these guys. The idea is good and the execution is clean and simple. The lack of Mac support is a bummer but it is part of their longer-term plans. I’ll be installing this on my Windows partition today.
imoondo – video classifieds? There are some times when simple = better and this might be one of them. I enjoyed watching Steve make a vegetable omelet but there is a limited amount of time I can spend watching video whose content I could absorb at text (or text and images) in a fraction of the time.
Expectations that I’ll be wowed – pretty low.
Chances that I’m way off base – pretty low.
Survey says – I’ll be honest, as much as I wanted to go over and check out what they were doing I didn’t make it.
TownConnect – it seems that there are a lot of efforts under way to create online communities around towns and cities. I think it’s a great idea but no one has seemed to crack the code. There is outside.in, local wikis and online communities started by town governments, boosters and newspapers. Another hat in the ring isn’t a bad thing but I don’t get what makes this one different or better.
Expectations that I’ll be wowed – pretty low.
Chances that I’m way off base – pretty high. I could be totally wrong about this one. It’s possible that once I hear more about it I’ll be totally blown away.
Survey says – Again, I didn’t make it over to their table; but I did have a chance to talk to several people about what TownConnect is doing. The consensus seemed to be that it isn’t terribly interesting.
Video Ad Factory – maybe these guys should hook up with the guys over at imoondo? If one video ad system is good, does that make two better? Hard to say. I will say that Video Ad Factory has a more polished look that imoondo; and I also liked the fact that I could take the videos and put them on my site if I wanted. (If that’s possible with imoondo, my apologies). I don’t know – there’s something to be said for that homemade look that doesn’t come across with many of the videos on this site.
Expectations that I’ll be wowed – lowish
Chances that I’m way off base – pretty good. I can imagine that these guys will have some pretty good stuff to say for themselves.
Survey says – I was not wowed. I spoke with a couple of guys from the company; checked out their stuff in more detail but didn’t get a good sense of the business model or unique value they offer. It was nice looking and all but that probably isn’t enough. I was talking with Rod Begbie about them (and imoondo as well) and the problem with both is that people want to scan classified ads quickly, not sit through multiple videos.
You Have Not Changed One Bit – besides having the most awkward domain name I think I’ve ever seen, this is one strange idea. It allows you to try to match then and now photos. The idea is that you’d use it when organizing a reunion. It was fun trying to match the photographs but it’s hard to imagine that this is enough to sustain a business.
Expectations that I’ll be wowed – low
Chances that I’m way off base – pretty low
Survey says – I was not wowed. I spoke to Erik Sebesta for a while and it’s a cute application and a nice idea but it’s hard to see it being a real business. Somehow they have been granted a patent on this idea – something about score-based contests that involve matching then and now photographs. As I said to Erik, someone in the Patent office must have been drinking that day . . .
So there are my predictions for tonight’s event. Check back tomorrow to see if I was on target or way off base.
I was more or less on the money with my expectations. Kudos to me. Despite not being blown away by any of the companies (with the possible exception of EnjoyMyMedia) it was a good event. Having a venue like this for early stage companies – and the people that play around them – is important and WebInno is fostering a real sense of community.
[tags] WebInno, Geezeo, DNSStuff, EnjoyMyMedia, iMoondo, TownConnect, VideoAdFactory, You have not changed one bit, Greg Boesel, SwapTree, Dave Evans, John Lester, Ernst Oddsund[/tags]