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Showing posts from May, 2010

Goby: the best search engine for what's going on

Imagine if Google was good at allowing you to search for what's going on.  Then, it'd look like Goby.

This area of search is notoriously difficult to serve well using a standard search engine, like from Google (GOOG) or Yahoo (YHOO).  Most users, myself included, hop around to a multitude of bookmarked sites which list interesting events, as well as track related email lists in the hopes that we are presented with a reasonable representation of what's going on.  It's actually a lot of work, and who knows how many cool events slip through the cracks using this form of "manual search".  Worse yet, if you travel somewhere (even a short drive), most of your information is no longer relevant to your new locale.

In a way, almost all problems with search of "what's going on?" and "what to do?" can be summarized as contextual problems.  One such problem with generic search engines is that they don't understand the context of the user (what…

"Ask Twitter": incentive driven responses for social networks

Now here's a startup idea that I'd love to see materialize: allow people to embed small financial incentives to questions asked on twitter.  Would be great to plug into PayPal (EBAY), Kachingle or other micro-payment play.  Google (GOOG), you were looking for a way to out-do twitter, no?

There's all this latent power of social networks, formed by people with at least a little disposable income and who have followers in their networks.  In the same way that someone would jump on Yelp to find out where to eat or go, why not send a query to your Twitter or Facebook networks?  They would potentially have more context information about you and your preferences than would say be known by Yelp in it's efforts to direct you to a particular set of venues.  But what makes it more interesting is that a person may want to trade off money for time -- for example if they don't have the time or wireless bandwidth to play around with surfing the web or using mobile apps, they may …

Best of Finovate Spring 2010 in San Francisco

I spent most of the day at this year's FinovateSpring 2010 interviewing and chatting with many of the players.  Rather than summarize my thoughts on all the companies I talked with, I've culled the list to what I believe represents eight of the more promising companies.  Not all companies demonstrated or exhibited; some only attended.

Blippy: Essentially, "twitter for purchases".  Blippy is sure to elicit reactions of disbelief in much the same way that Twitter did, but it's revenue generating potential (IMO) far outweighs anything like Twitter.  In a lot of ways, Twitter popularized the meme of publicizing one's private life minutia in real-time. Blippy piggy-backs on this now "market-proven" meme, and allows people to publicize their purchases in real-time.  It's hard to stop thinking about powerful ways which having this kind of information can be used by real business: brand placement (what kind of cigar does Brad Pitt buy?), real-time viral …