Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hammer in the Mix - TechCrunch 40's Second Day

Okay, today is the day that MC Hammer is going to be at TechCrunch40. I missed seeing him yesterday, but going to hound him for a photo today. Just because I can. And, I did.

On more of the community, today it is interesting because I have not heard community being trotted out as much. Maybe people are reading me, or more likely they heard too many times people calling out community when it did not make sense. It's okay to have a Website that is not in search for a community, but rather a service for business. And, that's fine: let's not forget that B2B is a viable business model.

Xobni: they are excited to be here. Discover email's social networks, view full conversations, organize people/conversations and export into an address book (phone numbers, etc). An Outlook (or other email) add-in that highlights other connections, other emails, other networks (such as social). They went for humor, and it sorta fell flat.

Orgoo: Access and organize all your conversations in one place (email and IM). For those real old skool people, it's Yodlee version 2.0 (the original Yodlee that aggregated all your emails onto one page). Also integrates chat and file sharing and video chat. Also has a widget for other pages, like blog or MySpace.

App2You: From what I can gather, it's like APIs for the masses, where anyone can develop a Web app. I think. That's one thing I'm noticing here: the presentations are not crisp and sharp.

Mint: It's Yodlee 3.0 (the second version of Yodlee). Aggregates your financial information, but so you can classify and track your personal transactions (checking, credit, debit, other bills). The site also finds you the best services, etc, for credit cards and other bills.

Kerpoof: Change the ways children interact with computers. To be a top destination site for children, where fun and learning are the same thing. Children can write a story, make a picture, or make a movie. Interesting idea, not sure it goes far enough, but one of the ones I like the most here because it's not the same old thing that is only adult-oriented. Broderbund for the 21st Century, as coined by Kawasaki. Nice old school reference.

Spottt: LinkExchange for blogs, and new media. Brought to you by Philip Kaplan, and part of Adbrite, and has the original LinkExchange (Tony Hsieh) on board as an advisor. Makes sense, as many bloggers continue to try to increase traffic, but want links that make sense. But, at the same time, not sure how active it might be as established bloggers don't care about exchanging links as much as when they started out.

Clickable: Manage and create search ad campaigns, over various networks. Wait, there's more than just Google AdSense?!!

GotStatus: Server side Google analytics. Totally over my head, but it's systems management market that Gartner has as continually growing at a brisk rate.

Pubmatic: Tons of ad networks, tons of publishers - it's a mess for publishers out there, so the company helps auction off advertising to various ad networks. Simplify the process of ad network purchasing, for best prices over the various networks.

ZocDoc: How to find a good doctor and make an appointment, like OpenTable for doctors. User generated content and feedback, so Yelp-esque there with peer reviews. Of course, the reviews I found for a dermatologist on Yelp were filled with Marina kids that had no idea what it costs to go to the doctor, nor what insurance covered. So, it might be audience-specific to get good reviews.

Extreme Reality: Mouse-free computing using your hands through the air. So, 3D interfacing with the computer. Reminds me of that bad Dilbert cartoon that mocks the virtual reality keyboards.

Broadclip: Unfunny people should not try to be funny during presentations. Gimme the straight skinny, not puff and pompery. There was no presenter, just a VHS recording, in a monotone ... could be cool, but it should have been an in-person presentation. Apparently, Tivo for Internet radio.

mEgo: Profile aggregator, instead of multiple profiles and post anywhere on line. Similar to Canter's People Aggregator, but better looking founders, interface and avatar-based where it's placed as a widget on various sites. Future features inclde non-avatar based professional version, and mobile-versions. Also will have to contend with 6A's work on identity portability, when it gets off the ground.

Wixi: Media aggregator for your media on various sites and networks. Or the media you want, all on one page. Is this like Dabble - well, with pictures and audio as well?

BeFunky: Turn videos and images into cartoons. We had that at Ofoto with PictureIQ seven years ago (I had a few cute photos that way, including my dead dog Spencer and living dog Perry).

Flowplay: An avatar-based gaming network that involves clubbing, games, tokens for virtual goods (yep, I like the virtual goods angle). Teen oriented, with shopping, meet-ups and games. Somewhat like Kaneva.

Metaplace: Alpha today, open beta in the Spring. Avatar is like AOL from 1994. Put data in, never comes out - and virtual worlds don't work like the Web does. Metaplace takes virtual worlds and makes it easy on an easy-to-use site. Being funded by Susan Wu, whom I respect a lot, so going to watch Metaplace. Virtual worlds for anyone, play anything, from anywhere.

WooMe: Online speed dating (just saw SpeedDate in the Demo Pit) that connects people on similar interests. Niklas Zennstrom is in the demo - is he an investor? Seems like it could be done easily with Skype, and I actually wrote up a case study about a couple that met on a dating site, then started calling on Skype (and if there was video at the time, would have spoken via video).

Zivity: Wanna-be Suicide Girls, but I know some of the people behind Suicide Girls, and I would bet on them everyday of the week, and twice on Friday. They get community, and I didn't get that sense that they did here ... it was more about money and throwing it away to people. And, just serendipity that Sean Bonner Twittered this at the beginning of their demo.

Kaltura: The winner of the 40th spot at the TechCrunch40 event. Second was Tanglr, and third was DanceJam. YouTube meets Wiki is their 30-second pitch - a collaborative way to create content together.

So, from a PR perspective, was the conference a success for the companies here? Well, yesterday it was on the top of TechMeme for a while, and that is the bump that the community gives (per my post yesterday). And, that is a great way to launch - but once again, that is not enough for any company to launch nowadays. You need a continued PR program (something that Web 2.0 companies fail to recognize) and think beyond just the 30- or 60-day cycle.

In the next few days, I'll write my post on the Demo Pit - those companies did not get as much play, and there were quite a few of them that should have been on stage rather than some of the companies that I saw these past two days.

New photos from second day are here.

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