The newly edited intro video for PlayMG. For my on camera parts I worked with my good friend Mike Nolan on this and he deserves all the credit for my seemingly passable performance. It was pretty amazing how he got me to relax and by the end I felt a bit like a star. If you need some video work done I highly recommend him. Drop me a line for intro.
Ever wonder what a cute blonde receptionist does all day long at a start up? This is Molly, our receptionist at Locai. When she’s not “alerting” me of people at the door she likes to get down with her friends from all walks of life. I found this great app called Timelapse that lets you make these movies super easy.
The Untitled Next Big Thing
Mobile is so hot right now. Sit in on a talk from someone in the tech world, ask them what’s The Next Big Thing, and prepare to get your mind blown. It’s mobile! Oh wait, you already knew that? You already have a smart phone that you do all of your book-facing, emailing, texting, Youtubing, gaming, Googling, and cooking on?
Yes you can actually find a recipe for fried eggs, plug your iPhone in to a slightly too hot wall socket, and then fry that egg on the back of your phone.
I am in no way telling you this is safe or that you should do it but if you do then shoot a video of it using your Android phone and send it to me.
So maybe mobile is no longer The Next Big Thing but it is definitely involved in The Next Big Thing. My prediction, 2012 will be the year of the Place, right now described as a subset of the location based services (LBS) market. There will be a tremendous amount of opportunity, experience, and money around places. Yes, places have been around for centuries but never before has there been so much focus on single, unique places. I’m defining Place here as specific locations with meaning. A lat-long coordinate doesn’t count and neither does an intersection (well maybe). I’m talking a restaurant, bar, movie theater, roller coaster, etc. Frankie’s Sports Bar is a place that I can walk inside and it has a lot of real world meaning attached to it. What we are seeing now, and will continue to see more and more, is that Frankie’s Sports Bar has a lot of digital meaning attached to it as well. It’s this convergence of the digital world (phones with geo-location and internet) and the real world that will be the next big thing.
Companies are building this new network today. The hubs in the network are places. The portals into this network are our cell phones (and they know where we are on the network). The architecture of the network is a hodge-podge of already created internet content (Google, Yahoo, Yelp) and location information (Yellow Pages). And we are the data carriers moving through the network. We aren’t far away from a time when we are walking through a hybrid experience of real and virtual worlds. This space is extremely small right now because most of us don’t see the world this way. Yet.
The leader in this space right now is Foursquare with 10 million users. A lot has been written about the “checkin wars” or the Foursquare vs Facebook battle. It’s premature and naive to think that there could be a single winner in this space. One, we are very early in the life cycle of the market - 10 million users do not make a winner in any market (let alone the global market). Two, this space is going to be so huge that there will be room for hundreds if not thousands of players. A perfect example, I used Gowalla a few weeks ago when I was in Boston and wanted to walk The Freedom Trail. I used Yelp to help me find a good Italian restaurant while I was there. And I used locai to figure out which desserts to buy at Mike’s Pastries afterwards. It’s not about who wins the checkin war but who carves out interesting use cases and grabs enough mind share to make a sustainable business. So let’s start looking at how this will evolve instead of assuming Foursquare and Facebook own the space.
I like to compare building this new network to building a house. As I stated above we have the foundation and structure already there. Foursquare came along and invented the door. Their checkin allowed the concept to work and got people in the house. That mechanic may go away as technology progresses but their impact on the minds of users won’t and neither will their place database. Many companies have already built on their API and many more will in the future. We are doing the same at locai since we operate after the checkin. Our users ask questions and start discussions on our forums at every place they go. So locai is the living room - a place for discussion once you’re in the door. Foodspotting is building the dining room. See a great plate of food when you’re out at a place, take a picture, and share it with your friends. Gowalla is the stylish guest room. The app design is sick and it’s great for when you’re travelling and exploring new cities. The game room or basement is being built by too many people to name (SCVNGR and QONQR probably have the most effective meldings of video game and real life thus far). Another prediction, the location based game market will be as big as the social game market is today in less than two years. Basements are large and they tend to grow as the house’s foundation spreads.
So what can you do to be a part of this Next Big Thing? Understand that this space is going to be huge, with a lot of players, and a lot more money in it. Stop asking all of us how we are differentiated from Foursquare (unless you run into someone building a Foursquare clone - then just don’t talk to them). Tell everyone you know that the hybridization of the real and digital worlds through your phone and location is The Next Big Thing. And let’s come up with a much better, catchier name for this space other than location based services. Some contenders out there are Social Location (too narrow maybe) and The Solonet (not doing it for me). Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with a name yet so I’m asking someone out there to coin it. Discuss your thoughts and post suggestions in the comments below. You could forever be the one who coined the Next Big Thing.