WebInno38 Preview

It’s just a few hours until the latest WebInno. This one is number 38 if you’re keeping score at home and it’s focused on mobile innovation. It’s also a little different from past events in there will be two special speakers in addition to the usual main dish/side dish companies.

At 7:00, Wayne Chang, the founder of Crashalytics and Micah Adler, the founder of Fiksu (which, in the spirit of transparency, is one of our clients at InkHouse) will be discussing mobile distribution. It should be interesting.

Following their remarks it will be time for the main dish presentations. Only two this time.

FlightCar – Runs on (Car)ma. Aside from having a tagline that has me scratching my head, the company seems fairly straight forward. It’s kind of AirBnB meets ZipCar. Basically, you agree to rent your car in exchange for free parking. Here’s how it works. You agree to rent your car. When you get to the airport you bring it to a FlightCar parking lot and drop it off. They’ll drive you to the terminal in one of their cars. While you’re away they may rent out your car. If they do, you get $10 a day. If they don’t, you still get free parking. When you return you just give them a call and they’ll pick you up and reunite you with your car. They do background checks on all their renters and insure every car for ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

If you want to rent, you search the site for a car and input your driver information (so your background can be checked). FlightCar will pick you up at the airport and bring you to your rental. When you’re done you return it to their facility and get a ride to the airport.

It seems like a fairly solid idea. I’m more of a taxi when travelling kind of guy but I do hate, hate, hate dealing with those huge parking fees. Sure, most of the time I can expense it but I still hate being gouged regardless of who is paying. How do I feel about letting a stranger borrow my car? I’m cool with it. Just don’t reprogram the radio . . .

Sold – Let us sell it for you. There’s so much junk in my basement it’s terrible. I know when I left home in 1984 I didn’t have that much. My wife had a trunk of stuff when we met. Now the volume of stuff is mind boggling and shows no sign of slowing down. How does it happen? I have no idea. We deal with it through freecycle for the most part because dealing with selling is such a pain.

It sounds like Sold will make it much easier. There’s a handy app (iOS only, and here I just switched to Android . . .) that allows you to photograph items for sale. Sold deals with all the work. All you have to do is put the goods in one of their three different sized shipping boxes and schedule a pick up. All of it happens right in the app. It seems very cool to me.

Where is this stuff sold? What if the buyer has an issue with their purchase? Maybe if I had the app those questions would be answered. Actually, I just read the support section and it’s filled with good info. I like Sold. As soon as it comes to Google Play I’ll sign up and start unloading some of my crap. I mean my awesome stuff I don’t use any more.

There’s a bunch of side dish companies too of course:

CarCareCheck – Never blindly pay for car repairs. I’m terrible when it comes to understanding my car. It’s a diesel so I know it doesn’t have spark plugs but when it comes to the details I quickly lose interest. It wasn’t always the case, years ago my wife and I did most of the work on our cars ourselves. Of course that was 20 years ago and the cars in question were old VWs.

Today an unscrupulous mechanic could probably convince me I need to replace the unicorn hair in wigrooter. CarCareCheck will prevent me for overpaying for this much-needed service. Essentially a dongle gets plugged into the car that transmits data to an app, which in turn sends it to a super genius mechanic who lives in a castle on a cloud.

If a problem crops up, the app lets you know what it is, what it should cost to repair it and suggests local mechanics who can do the job. It costs $20 a year for the service so you’ll need to decide if you think your mechanic rips you off by more than that in a year. If the answer is “yes” you might want to sign up.

Drizly – For the entertainer. Oh. My. God. Alcohol delivery. What a wonderful idea. I live just west of their delivery area (in Natick, are you listening Drizly?) but am so excited about this.

Just the other night I was telling a friend about this time years ago. I was in college and living in this big house on Center Street in Coolidge Corner. A bunch of us were hanging out drinking gin and tonic. We finished a bottle and two of us hopped on our bikes to get some more. We were already kinda tipsy and on the way home the bag slipped out of my hand and the bottle smashed on the street. We were bummed (but we turned around and bought another!).

If Drizly had been around it would have saved the day! Of course if was probably 1986 so if Drizly had been around it would have been pretty amazing, what with no smartphones and all. I guess they could have had a fax-based system? Thank goodness for progress. And please, make it available in Natick. Oh, and on Android.

Polar – Have fun collecting and sharing opinions. This is a simple looking app that lets you create simple little polls. It’s kind of like hot or not for anything. It looks fun. Check it out. (I would have created one but there’s no Android version at the moment.)

Postwire – Postwire seems like a very cool thing. It’s like Pinterest with a purpose. Basically you can gather content from around the Web or your computer and display it on a Postwire page. These pages can be shared very narrowly or very broadly. It’s fairly easy to use and I can think of plenty of uses for it. The only bummer I found was that when I put in a URL it didn’t pull thumbnails from the site, giving me only generic icons. Another thing that is really impressive is that within minutes of setting up an account I got an email from them asking for a quick call. If I had the time I would have done it but am trying to get this wrapped up before heading into Cambridge.

Splashscore – The idea here is to reward you for your friends’ engagement around your Facebook posts. The more likes and comments you get the bigger the “splash.” The rewards come in the form of gift cards and product. I get the idea but what’s in it for Splashscore? What information about its users are they selling?

Splitwise – Split expenses with friends. I feel like I’ve seen this at a past WebInno but realize I must be mistaken. This is a good idea. I often forget about owing or being owed and when I remember it’s usually too late or too embarrassing to say anything. I remember years ago hanging out with my wife and a friend and we’d always screw this up. If the cost of something was $25 we’d often split it in half, realizing only later that we should have done thirds. Stupid math.

This would have helped out a lot. I have a ton of expenses these days that I need to split with people and they all end up being back of the envelope calculations that get stored in the recesses of my mind. This is a better approach.

WireOver – Unlimited file sending, for free. Dealing with large files is such a pain. They’re so easy to create these days but email chokes on them. Especially when you’re dealing with video. Forget it. Dropbox works well but there are steps and you don’t always know when it’s been seen. There are also those rare people that aren’t using Dropbox and don’t want to. (I don’t understand that at all.) I wish I could report that Wireover deals with all your file transfer problems but I’m on the beta list at the moment. What they promise sounds fantastic and I’m looking forward to trying it out. I have a huge slew of photographs I’m working on that I’m going to need to send to a client, I’m waiting for a bunch of sound files from an engineer – both seem like perfect tests for Wireover.

Well that’s all I have for you. If this post is disjointed it’s because I’ve been working on it in little bits of time throughout the day. It’s time to head out now though or I’m going to be late. See you at the Sonesta!

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