This past Tuesday’s WebInno was great. The event continues to grow and, in fact, may be getting TOO big (at least for the room it is currently in). It’s size actually made it hard (and in some cases impossible) to see many of the sidedish companies. I was near the door and the conversations in the foyer – even with the door closed – made it hard to hear some of the presentations. But these are nits.
While I really enjoy the presentations and the companies, what’s most valuable about WebInno for me is the chance to see people and to get a sense of the Web market here in Boston. Based on this week’s event that state of Web innovation and interest is higher than ever. I was only able to spend time with two companies – MakeMeSustainable and Glassbooth.
I really liked what I saw from MakeMeSustainable. Their analytics and Facebook integration – with its carbon tree metaphor for building a network for carbon reduction – were very impressive. Ben Brown, the CEO, and David Delacourt, the COO, were kind enough to show me the product and to discuss how they see themselves fitting into the market.
We talked for a while about how MMS compares with Carbonrally – a company that was at WebInno a few months ago. MMS has the analytics well in hand while Carbonrally has done a great job of building on people’s competitive spirit to engage them around the issue. It’s hard to say which approach will be most successful (if either) but some hybrid would be very appealing.
I went in expecting to love Glassbooth and I totally did. Robert Boyle explained things to me in more detail than I had gotten on the site – including their plans for the future. This was something I think a lot of people wondered about – sure, it’s a great tool heading into a presidential election but what do you do afterward?
Robert explained that they hope to use the system for a growing number of elections – local, state and federal. It sounds like a plan – especially since they are a non-profit that is receiving its funding primarily through foundations. I continue to be impressed by the depth of the site and by the commitment of the people involved with it.
As for the main dish presentations – my opinion of SpotScout and Urban Interactive is unchanged from my preview. SpotScout seems like a really niche product (if I don’t take the T I just part in a garage most of the time) and Urban Interactive still seems like it could be an annoying idea. That said, I can imagine examples of Urban Interactive executions that would be totally engrossing and fun. Maybe it’s just the way it was described – with references to reality TV, etc – that turned me off.
A new wrinkle on the event was the ability of everyone to vote on the coolest main dish. SpotScout won in a landslide so they certainly had something to say to many of the attendees.
Paper Hats did well at the event. More than 20 people were willing to don the recycled headgear and allow themselves to be photographed and the Paper Hat movement seems like it is poised for some exciting growth. Keep your eyes peeled for Paper Hats cropping up wherever the cool kids congregate.
Ans speaking of congregating – post-WebInno saw a terrific traveling Tweet-up. First downstairs at Dante and then across the street at the Cheesecake Factory. It was a veritable who’s-who of wicked fun people.
The next WebInno isn’t until April so we’ll have to come up with something else to amuse ourselves in the meantime.
Did everyone else have a great time?