Summer’s over and that’s OK with me AND my WebInno14 preview

I like summer as much as the next guy; but after a while, it starts to wear thin. Why, you ask? Because it’s a pretty slow time for events and whatnot and they’re some of my favorite things. Now that September is here everything is ramping up again and I’m ready. Just in the next couple of weeks there are several. You’ve got WebInno14 on the 10th (see below), the kick off of the MIT Communication Forum on the 20th and the Social Media Club that night as well. I’ll get to all of them in due course but for the time being, here’s my preview of WebInno.

For anyone STILL not familiar with WebInno, it is a monthly event put together by David Beisel of Venrock that brings together early stage companies
and the community that supports them. Here’s what I’m expecting from the next event:

Main Courses

Frame Media – Frame Media does content and tools for wireless digital picture frames. As screen prices come down and our expectation to consume content goes up, it’s easy to imagine more and more placements for these types of devices. And it makes so much more sense than either non-digital signage or ones that need wired connections or on site updates. Content that can be changed on the fly depending on the time of day, specials, proximal demographics, etc. Sounds pretty cool to me.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – I have high hopes for this one. Partly because I can get a bead on it very easily and also because it fits well with the increasingly visually cluttered world we seemingly have chosen to create for ourselves. I’m expecting that this is going to be very gee-whiz and glitzy.

Chances that I’m way off base – I guess it’s possible but I don’t think so.

GoLoco – As someone on the verge of giving up his in-town parking in favor of public transportation (starting October 1st . . .), I’m pretty interested in what GoLoco is doing. Basically this is a ride sharing service that lets you meet and connect with people with a shared destination (more or less) on Facebook. I signed up and checked it out and while there were 24 rides in my area, none of them were especially helpful (of course I didn’t enter any of my own travel needs either . . .). I like the fact that they are working within an existing social network but wonder the degree to which this will limit the potential member base.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – I really want to be wowed. I think it’s a great idea and I only hope that they get enough critical mass to make it happen.

Chances that I’m way off base – I think I get the idea here and am confident in my expectations.

DesignMyRoom – My daughter loves any number of virtual world sites that let her design and furnish living spaces for whole armies of avatars. Looking at DesignMyRoom, I got the feeling that this is the grown-up version – the big difference being that this site gives you the means to translate your online fantasy into reality by generating a shopping list of the materials and items you’ll need. They remind me a little of MyDesignIn which was featured at WebInno11.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – Well, MyDesignIn was pretty cool so I’m expecting a lot from DesignMyRoom.

Chances that I’m way off base – Not high, I think that what they are doing is pretty straight forward and they seem to have the relationships needed to make this work.

Side Dishes

Fafarazzi – There are few things in the world that I hate more than celebrities. That makes this company – which offers a fantasy-sports style game based on how often your celebrity appears in the media just about the most terrible thing I can imagine. If you are into tracking how often these people appear on the pages of Us, go crazy but count me out.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – I would be wowed if this were based solely on celebrities taken out of circulation by incarceration.

Chances that I’m way off base – Not a chance.

SNIF Labs – A few years ago I worked with Streambase. They were focused on processing real-time streaming data. Their founder, Mike Stonebraker, used to talk about the coming wave of sensor-based data. Somehow, I don’t think this is what he had in mind. SNIF provides a wearable tag that monitors a dog’s movements throughout the day and allows that data to be analyzed in a number of ways. It sounds cool but I have to wonder about the real utility of this. I mean dogs and people have been together for thousands of years and it’s hard to imagine that knowing exactly when your dog took a crap or humped someone’s leg is going to enhance that relationship.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – All that said, I will probably want one of these. If not for my dog, I may attach it to myself to get a better sense of what I with all of my time.

Chances that I’m way off base – With this one I’m not so sure, I’ll bet I have it wrong.

The UpDown – Do you remember how popular day trading was in the late 90s? Maybe you were into it yourself or had friends who were? Well, The UpDown Investing Community seems intent on bringing back those thrilling days of yesteryear. But instead of investing individually and directly, UpDown seems to be creating a fund that is managed based on community input and analysis. I’m looking forward to a conversation with these guys, the idea seems interesting but it’s not a simple story.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – High to very high. I’m not an especially money-centric kind of a guy so it doesn’t take much to impress (of confuse) me.

Chances that I’m way off base – Pretty high. I am also not stupid so it may turn out that this isn’t really that cool.

Guitar Star – Guitar Star is just one of several titles by AdME (Advertising-driven Mobile Entertainment. I read the site and was kind of confused. Who are they marketing to – users? carriers? content companies? I’d imagine that the carriers are the key but the way they describe the product on the site sure sounds like it’s targeted at consumers.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – Rockin’ out on my cell phone keypad doesn’t get me as excited as perhaps it ought to, maybe once I see it and try it I’ll be blown away.

Chances that I’m way off base – I don’t think so . . .

Mobleo – Think del.icio.us meets the cell phone. I like the idea of being able to bookmark sites on my phone. Navigation can be so annoying on my phone that anything that makes it easier – whether better bookmarking or social bookmarking is good news as far as I’m concerned.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – I have pretty high hopes for this one and am looking forward to checking it out.

Chances that I’m way off base – High, I could find myself dealing with a cryptic interface and a whole lot of no fun.

Oncero – Looking at this site, I wondered, “how is this different from LinkedIn?” They promise the ability to find qualified candidates through referral networks. Obviously this is a good idea but there seem to be plenty of ways to do this already so they’ll have to demonstrate a differentiation that didn’t come through on the Web.

Expectation that I’ll be wowed – Very low. First of all, this isn’t an issue that touches me very directly and secondly, I am already involved with so many social networks that the idea of another one that is so focused has limited appeal.

Chances that I’m way off base – Pretty high, I can imagine that they’ll show me something that is cooler that I can imagine.

So there you have it, a quick preview of the companies that will be at WebInno next week. Come and check it out to see if my takes were dreams or duds. I’ll fess up myself after I’ve had a chance to check out what each of the companies has to say for themselves.

[tags]WebInno, Frame Media, GoLoco, DesignMyRoom, Fafarazzi, SNIF Labs, The UpDown, Guitar Star, Mobleo, Oncero[/tags]

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