WebInno 16 Preview

WebInno16 is right around the corner and so I thought I’d take a few minutes to preview the companies that will be presenting and sidedishing at the event. To see them for yourself, come to the meeting on Tuesday, January 29th at 6:30 at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge.

Here’s who’ll be there and what I expect from each of them:

Main Courses

MakeMeSustainable

The Rap:
This is a tool that helps people understand and do something about their carbon footprint and it’s pretty slick. Lots of nice graphics that illustrate how much carbon is being used and some very practical suggestions for reducing CO2. One of the things that I thought was really cool about the site is that it tells you not only how much carbon you can reduce by doing simple things (recycling, composting, raising or lowering your thermostat, etc,) but also how much money you’ll save in the process.

I found parts of it to be a little confusing. The “action” (where you make adjustments to your carbon use) is rich but not always super clear. For example, it suggests limiting the number of newspapers you receive. Well, I don’t have any delivered but there’s no way for me to tell it that. I THINK I can commit to the number that I will reduce by but if I’m already at zero, well, what can I do?

That said, it’s a really clean and good looking site and given the fact that it’s still in beta very strong. It’s similar in spirit in some ways to Carbon Rally but it doesn’t have the same competitive edge to it. Both are cool and ought to be checked out and supported.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
I’m looking forward to seeing the demo and hope that someone who knows the site will be able to make it clearer to me. I mean the idea is pretty simple but I’d love to see all it can do. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be wowed and don’t expect to be disappointed.

Chances that I’m way off base:
Pretty low. I think I get this one.

SpotScout

The Rap
From discouraging the carbon life style to celebrating it! Talk about niche, SpotScout is a parking space. It’s not really fair to say these guys are about celebrating carbon, in fact, a ton of fuel is spent cruising and looking for spaces so anything that improves the process will actually cut CO2. While I get and like the concept, it seems like it could be tricky – especially for on-street parking.

Reading about it makes the whole seem sound pretty complicated to me. There are “SpotCasters” who broadcast information about available spaces via the Web and “SpotScouts” who are looking for spaces. These can be spaces on the street, a driveway, parking lot, etc. I guess that since I don’t usually drive this doesn’t seem that pressing to me but I guess I could be missing something.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
Very low. I just don’t see the pressing need. Hey everyone, leave your cars at home if you can and take the train. Here in Boston they’re a way better alternative.

Chances that I’m way off base:
Pretty low. This seems like a cumbersome answer to a petty annoyance.

Urban Interactive

The Rap:
“Discover the secrets of a city with an interactive sight-seeing adventure,” hmmm, sounds kind of interesting I guess. But the site goes on to say, “learn about a city while solving riddles, performing stunts and competing for prizes.” Performing stunts? Listen, if I live in the city and am confronted by a gaggle of giggling yucksters on a fun filled adventure in my neighborhood I could see myself being a little less than amused.

I CRINGE when I see people acting like idiots and the idea of people “engaging in exquisitely goofy behavior” is probably more than I need to know. Last WebInno featured Untravel which seems like a more civilized and less annoying way to learn about a city.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
Very low. The idea of people wandering around searching for “lost relics” and interacting with comedians is enough to make my skin crawl – no thanks.

Chances that I’m way off base:
Pretty high. This is probably a really fun way to see a city and I’m sure that the people involved have done a great job in setting things up and preparing the groundwork so a good time is had by all.

Side Dishes:

MyHappyPlanet

The Rap:
“Learn a Language. Make Friends. Have Fun.” Hard to argue with the concept. Unfortunately, the site is in a closed beta so I can’t say much about it.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
Super high, I mean, how couldn’t they be since I don’t know anything about it.

Chances that I’m way off base:
How can I be off base?

Survol

The Rap:
“Building Wireless Data Use through Usability” Hi Survol, 1996 called and they want their Web site back. This is all about streaming data to mobile devices. I THINK i has to to with navigational data but I’ll be honest, the site is SO poorly designed and written that I glazed over in five seconds flat. And I actually really like geeky stuff but this was a snoozer.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
Pretty high. Look, just because the site stinks doesn’t mean that what they’re doing isn’t cool. I just can’t really get it online. I’ll bet that talking to a person about it will make everything clear. At least I hope so.

Chances that I’m way off base:
Moderate. It’s possible that this is just really, really boring . . .

Glassbooth

The Rap:
“Glassbooth connects you to the 2008 presidential candidate that represents your beliefs the best” Heady stuff and this site tackles it well. In fact, this is a totally awesome site. If you don’t know who you’ll be voting for next month, you have to go to this site. Not going, why that would be just dumb.

Basically, the site starts by asking you which issues matter to you more or less. You’re give 20 points to weight your preference. While I was doing this I was thinking, “Hey, it’s not clear if I’m saying I am for our against these things.” As a friend of mine would tell me, “Patience young Jedi.”

Why be patient? Because the very next thing that happens is a little quiz. There are only 20 questions and you’re asked to rate statements like, “I support or oppose gay marriage” or “I support or oppose increased funding for public schools” on a five point scale, from “strongly oppose” to “strongly support.” The questions are based on the issues you said mattered to you.

Once you take the quiz, it lets you know which candidate is closest to your point of view. For me, it came out with John Edwards and Mike Gravel being 81% similar to me. What’s really great about the site is the ability to drill down into all of the issues and to see each candidates statements, voting history, etc.

This is a totally awesome site. You’ve GOT to try it.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
I already am about as wowed as I can be with my clothes on.

Chances that I’m way off base:
I would put that at a great big ZERO.

Mofuse

The Rap:
“Increase your brand awareness & conquer the mobile Web!” I’m still trying to crack the Web that’s sitting right here still in front of me but I guess I could use this thing. I have a bunch of blogs and there’s one in particular that would benefit from a little mobile twist. Mofuse sounds totally smart and easy. I didn’t set it up because I don’t have a mobile browser that I don’t think sucks. Maybe tonight I’ll try it and check out the results on my wife’s Touch.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
Very high. I think this is a great sounding tool and am looking forward to see it in action.

Chances that I’m way off base:
Pretty low. This is fairly self-explanitory and if it works like they say it will be great.

Buildium

The Rap:
“#1 in online property management” Last WebInno saw two companies – FlipKey and iiManagement – dealing with property management. And now a third? Who knew that online property management was such a strong sector here in the Boston area? Just doesn’t do much for me.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
Very, very low. I though iiManagement was cool but it will be hard to impress me with this kind of thing two events in a row.

Chances that I’m way off base:
Very high. I think, as is often the case, that seeing it in person will be cooler than reading about it on the Web.

Socrato

The Rap:
“Test preparation getting smarter” First, I can’t stop giggling about the name for some reason. You know, half the time I hate getting old and then I see something like this and I’m so grateful I don’t have to deal with these kind of tests any more. My kids do – but, hey, that’s their problem. I kinda wish I’d had something like this when I was a kid though. Basically, you can take sample tests, see how you’ve done and receive study materials based on your results. Sounds pretty smart to me.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed:
Moderate. I think this is a great idea and can’t wait to hear more about it.

Chances that I’m way off base:
Petty low, this is a simple concept that I expect will be really helpful.

So that’s my take on the companies lined up for WebInno16. Of all of them, Glassbooth is the one that really gets my blood flowing. Check back later next week to see what REALLY happened.

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5 thoughts on “WebInno 16 Preview

  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    – Sue.

  2. Your write up of Glassbooth is right on. I was turned on to that site from someone I met on Twitter. I think it has a lot of promise and while I don’t think that a Website should determine who you vote for – it certainly helps you narrow your listening range. How often do these events go on?

  3. I really love the site and am hoping to say hi to them tonight. WebInno meets roughly once a month here in Kendall. It’s a totally great event, you should try to stop by.

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