Matt\’s Cuppa

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Archive for the ‘web2.0’ Category

Matt’s Cuppa Interviews Tad Staley of Virtual Ubiquity’s Buzzword

Posted by telecommatt on September 11, 2007

I recently put together a review of Virtual Ubiquity’s word processor for the web, Buzzword. In fact, I wrote the entire article using Buzzword. Using a web-based text editor is nothing new to me. With the insane variety of office applications on the web, the only time I use Microsoft Office is when I’m in the office. I’ve begun to feel that most desktop office applications are too cumbersome for my everyday needs.

In the same way, after spending a week or so using Buzzword, I was starting to find that online text editors, like Google Docs and Zoho Writer, were also too cumbersome. One of the ideas behind Buzzword was to be able to create documents online that print just the way they look online, and Virtual Ubiquity did just that. What they also did was create an application that works so well that you actually look for excuses to use it.

After finishing the review for eHub, I went back to Tad Staley, of Virtual Ubiquity, with idea of a short interview. (The interview was also a chance for me to play with Buzzword’s document collaboration features. Like nearly everything else about Buzzword, collaboration worked exactly the you expect that it should.) What I expected to be just a brief interview, Tad turned into one of the longest, most thoughtful, and most dedicated responses I have received. It becomes obvious very quickly that Buzzword is more than just another web application.

Buzzword


1. Every startup has a story. You touch on this on the Virtual Ubiquity blog, but can you talk a little about how Buzzword came together? Who were the main players? What challenges did Buzzword overcome?

Buzzword was first conceived by Rick Treitman, founder and CEO. Rick had been in charge of the Document Products Group at Lotus in the 1980s, which was responsible for shipping Lotus’ DOS-based word-processor called Manuscript.

Manuscript did not make the jump to Windows. Rick observed then, as Word on Windows overtook WordPerfect, that no word processor leader had ever retained its leadership across a platform change – not Wang, not WordStar, not WordPerfect.

When Rick attended an O’Reilly conference in the fall of 2004, and heard Tim O’Reilly describe web 2.0 as a “platform change”, his reaction was immediate – may be time for a new word processor.

When Rick returned from the conference, he contacted a handful of former colleagues – all industry veterans, with experience in text and layout, collaboration, web applications and platforms, and this ad hoc team began to put together its plans. Rick sold his high tech bookstore, Softpro Books (where he had weathered the Windows platform era) and incorporated Virtual Ubiquity in June 2005.

With the addition of CTO Mike Kraley and architect Paul Kleppner, followed soon by senior developer David Coletta, Rick had a team in place that could flesh out his vision. A key part of that vision was to deliver an elegant user experience on the web, and this led to the evaluation and selection of Adobe’s Flex as the development environment, with the application to be deployed on the Flash platform.

The small team worked in Mike Kraley’s attic for a year without funding. When Adobe saw the work that they had done on their platform, which included an early version on the newly announced Apollo (now AIR) platform, Virtual Ubiquity became the first recipient of Adobe’s venture fund in the fall of 2006.

The funding allowed Virtual Ubiquity to expand the team and move into real office space. A key hire following Adobe’s funding was designer Robby Shaver, a veteran of Lotus, ATG and Maven, who elevated the Buzzword user experience to a whole new level.

2. What about competition? Do you feel that there is competition in your market, or has Buzzword created their own market niche? What’s in store for the future of your market space?

Word processing is a well-understood application area, and there are dozens of alternatives. We tend to think of these entrees as residing along one of two dimensions – either they are desktop applications that are generally rich in experience and functionality, or they are web-based and offer the advantages of that environment – specifically, collaboration and document ubiquity.

Buzzword is unique in that it offers the advantages of both dimensions: it’s web-based so users always have access to their document, and they have the ability to share their documents with collaborators. However, unlike other web-based writing environments like Google Docs, Buzzword offers rich user experience that is unparalleled on the web. This is made possible by our choice of Flash as our delivery platform. We like to say that Buzzword is for documents that matter.

Many current word processors are attempting to bridge the gap between desktop and web, between off-line and online usage. Some, like Microsoft Word, attempt to span these two realms by extending desktop functionality to the web through some shared services. Others, like Zoho or Google Docs, attempt to extend their web functionality to the desktop through some advcanced AJAX techniques.

Buzzword will offer functionality both on the web and in a standalone case through Adobe’s forthcoming AIR platform. We have described the value of the AIR platform, formerly known as Apollo, on our blog at http://blog.virtub.com/?p=13.

3. According to your blog, your primary audience falls into two groups: students and mobile workers. On your signup page, you also ask people why they want to try Buzzword. Have the responses fallen into those two groups? Have they identified other groups or helped you refine your product? Do you see your user-base changing as your product and the read-write web mature?

We have gotten a virtual anthology of stories from our signup page. The stories range from terse to whimsical and prosaic. Throughout the process, we’ve learned a lot about people’s interests, preferences and writing environments. We envision this as only the beginning of an ongoing process – we want to stay in conversation with users as much as possible as Buzzword evolves. This feedback loop not only shapes the product but personalizes our design and development.

The responses have indeed validated our assumptions about the target audience (see blog entry http://blog.virtub.com/?p=7). We have gotten significant response from academia – lots of college students, but also professors, distance education specialists, as well as school and college IT coordinators.

Mobile writers have also been very interested. One of the use cases we’re hearing a lot is from people who either travel a lot, or work closely with others in disparate locations. Of course, we have also heard from editorial folks who manage written content through a series of review processes. One person told us he sits across the table from his collaborator, and “spitballs” ideas back and forth in a document.

We’re certain that the user base will evolve with the maturity of the read-write web and the product itself. We have gotten considerable interest from enterprises, which surprised us somewhat; we recognize that this environment brings with it another whole set of requirements.

4. There is a line from one of your blog articles that I particulary like: “…design enriches life.” Tell us more about this.

The “design enriches life” line came out of our “Design Matters” blog entry (http://blog.virtub.com/?p=12), which further elaborates on the point. Suffice to say that we recognize the success Apple has achieved by its attention to design detail. Driven by founder and CEO Rick Treitman, design has been a priority principle from the very beginning.

The feedback we’ve gotten has been gratifying, and seems to validate the attention that comes from good design. Here’s just a small sampling of what we’ve read about our design recently:

“Of all the online word processors I have tried, none strikes a more perfect balance between features, user friendliness, aesthetics, and speed… In short, buzzword is the best online wordprocessor I have come across. I have willingly abandoned Google Docs for it.” – Startup Squad blog entry (8-16-07)

“The interface is clean and streamlined and everything just seems to make sense where it is and how it works. It is responsive and fast and pretty much the nicest “practical and functional” word processor I have used – web based or otherwise.” – Sugar Attack blog entry (8-17-07)

“I’ve totally enjoyed using Buzzword. I think the interface is fantastic, to the point that I will now find using Google Docs & Spreadsheets and Zoho Writer to be cumbersome.” – Emily Chang’s eHub blog entry (8-22-07)

“I love the interface, that is the biggest thing i have to say, people want to work in an environment that is appealing, that is not jarring on their eyes and VU have created a system here that fulfills both those.” – Christopher Wilkie blog entry (8-24-07)

5. Are there any social, political, or environmental causes that Buzzword, either as individuals or as a company, feels deserve special attention? Are there any causes or charities with which Buzzword has a partnership or relationship?

We’re only a startup and, though comprised of passionate and conscientious folks, each with his and her own causes, we haven’t yet invested time as a company to identify any particular issue.

However, one area of focus worth mentioning is our interest in education; in particular, bringing useful and usable tools to help students with their writing. Some of the most effective educational environments are collaborative, and we’ve already seen Buzzword do well in supporting collaborative learning.

In general, we like to say that Buzzword should be used when you care what your document looks like. It’s for people who take writing seriously, and we think that the richness of the Buzzword environment will encourage more people to take their writing seriously.

We hope that Buzzword will encourage writers of all ages to write well and write often.

6. And, finally, what’s best about being a part of Buzzword? What about Buzzword makes you shiver to talk about or jump out of bed before the alarm goes off in the morning?

There are many aspects of the Buzzword experience that we all value. Foremost is the notion that we’re delivering something that matters. We’re driven by putting a great application in as many people’s hands as possible and smoothing the collaboration process for all those tethered to word+email as a make-do solution.

And, of course, we’re excited about giving a great piece of design to the world.

Posted in Interviews, web2.0 | 1 Comment »

Matt’s Cuppa LinkRoundup for 9-08-07

Posted by telecommatt on September 8, 2007

I’m somewhat behind in my reading my RSS feeds this week, so here’s a mashup of articles that caught my attention. Please contact me regarding anything you see that you would like me to go into more detail on.

Crazymenu – Group ordering made simple

from Demo Girl by demogirlCrazymenu
is aimed at office workers and people trying to coordinate meals with
their friends. It’s also another great place to find reviews and
menus for restaurants in your area.

DOJ: No legislation for Network Neutrality

Filed under: , ,

Along
with the Web 2.0 movement came a huge push for Network Neutrality, a
cause whose proponents demand that all access to the Internet occur as
equally as possible. In other words, AT&T can’t charge Google more
to transfer a byte of data because Google has figured out a way to make
more money off of AT&T’s bandwidth than AT&T themselves can do.

Intype

An
intuitive code editor for Windows with lightning fast response. It’s
extensible and customizable, thanks in part to its support for
scripting and native plug-ins. It makes development in any programming
or scripting language quick and easy.

Sleep: How and Why to Power Nap

Few skills are as useful for a Friday afternoon as the rewarding power
nap. The Ririan Project introduces 10 benefits to power napping and
details four styles of power nap: nano nap (10 to 20 seconds), micro
nap (two to five minutes), mini nap (five to 20 minutes), lazy man’s
nap (50 to 90 minutes) and the traditional power nap (exactly 20
minutes).

DIY: Create a Minimalist Laptop Case

diy_laptop.jpg

Using just cardboard and duct tape, you can create a laptop case that
serves as good protection against scuffs and scratches. The end result
is a laptop case that is practical, stylish, and won’t break your
budget. It might not be as soft or as cuddly as the previously covered DIY T-shirt laptop case,
but it certainly gets the job done, and you have a little more
flexibility with design (choosing the color tape, or even adding
decorative stickers) with this one.

How to Make a Minimalistic (and Cheap) Laptop Case [Instructables]

Why Is The Justice Department Commenting On Net Neutrality?

There’s been a fair amount of chatter over the Justice Department’s decision to comment to the FCC about network neutrality,
but there’s been almost no discussion as to why the Justice Department
should be involved at all. It’s true that the DOJ covers anti-trust
issues, but this isn’t about a merger or the potential to create a
monopoly.

10 Micro-Blogging Tools Compared


Micro-blogging is a term described by Wikipedia
as “a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates
(usually less than 200 characters) and publish them, either to be
viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the
user”. Several startups have witnessed phenomenal growth with
micro-blogging services, most notably Twitter. In addition, numerous social networks – including Facebook and Bebo
– have integrated similar status update services. The space is hot and
it’s still heating up. So let’s take a look at 10 of the key players.

Google GrandCentral Review

UPDATE: 
I just realized that I have some invites for people to get into the
beta for this, if you’re interested leave a comment or email me.

Do you think that in five years you will still have a home number, a
work number, a cell number, and multiple email addresses?  I
don’t, I haven’t for a while.  I’m a pretty firm
believer that in a couple of years we’ll only have one ID which
will work converge all incoming and outgoing communications
channels.  I think that eventually it’ll take the form of a
URI (e.g. jasonkolb@atmy.name),
but for now I’m pretty pleased to have narrowed down all my phone
numbers to one number.  As of yesterday, I only have one phone
number, at least until I get to use my URI.  I have seen the
future of personal communication, and Google GrandCentral is on the right track.

MattsCuppa Note: I have been using GrandCentral for business since it it first entered the market as a beta. I’m continually surprised by people “discovering” it’s usefulness. I’m certain that GC’s purchase by Google has put it in the spotlight in a bigger way than GC could have done by themselves, but GC is not a new product, and the concept harkens back to the days of telecommunications deregulation and universal number portability, if not earlier.

5000+ Resources to Do Just About Anything Online

    5000.PNG

Since May 2007, we’ve been bringing you resources and tools to
be more productive on the web. Due to popular demand, we’ve
brought all these lists together into one gigantic meta-list: 5000+
Resources to Do Just About Anything Online.

LiveStation: Microsoft’s Joost Rival Debuts at IBC

LiveStation,
the service that lets you watch broadcast television online using
Silverlight, is being debuted in Europe at IBC. Read our initial post here.
You’ll remember that with LiveStation, you’ll get access
to an array of live radio and television channels to your computer.
This is, of course, different than video on-demand services like rival Joost,
which operate by enabling you to select which videos you’d like
to watch, and when. The service uses a peer-to-peer network for
scalability purposes. Built by Skinkers, LiveStation’s parent
company is a Microsoft participated company, and its P2P distribution
technology comes directly from Microsoft.

40+ Ways To Access Your Computer Remotely

    remoteaccess.PNG

There are lots of reasons why you’d want to access your PC remotely, and luckily there are also plenty of ways to do so. Crossloop is one of the simplest (it’s also free), but for those willing to venture further, you’ve got lots of options.
Excuse us while we get technical for a second. This list is divided
into four main sections: VNC (Virtual Network Computing), NX, remote
desktop and cross-protocol. If those terms mean nothing to you, you
might want to skip to the “other” section for the most
straightforward applications. That said, let’s begin. (more…)

NoteSake Supports All Languages & Exports to Word

notesake-l.png

NoteSake, the note-taking and organization tool, has added two new features to improve its service.
Language support has been added, so now NoteSake supports Russian,
Spanish, Latin and more, letting you take notes in any language you
need to. You can also export your notes to PDF and Microsoft Word,
making your notes easier to integrate into your existing desktop
applications and use them for various purposes, like the creation of a
power point slide, or for writing a paper.

EchoSign provides paperless paper trail

To get a signature recorded via fax, recipients must use the service’s cover sheet. (image edited for clarity).

The Office 2.0 conference
was set up almost entirely without paper (except for some checks that
paid for sponsorships). Even the contracts necessary to set up the show
were signed electronically, using EchoSign. There are other companies that provide services to create legally binding signatures, such as DocuSign (review), but EchoSign has simplicity going for it.

True Green Confessions shares your planet-wasting ways

Ever fling fast-food wrappers from the window of your speeding Prius? True Green Confessions invites you to tell the tale. Unlike so many other green social networking websites
that encourage you to practice bicycling, recycling and other
planet-friendly habits, here you can share the shame of not doing
enough or not caring enough about your fat carbon footprint.

Me.dium’s online concert will rock you

Me.dium RockMe. concert(Credit: Me.dium)

RockMe. has got to the be the only five-day music festival where you won’t pay for tickets. It is social-networking site Me.dium’s
attempt to rock your world, and the only thing you need to get in is
your browser. (Of course, you still have to bring your own drinks.)

RockMe., which runs from September 18 through September 22, 2007,
will feature bands, music video competitions, and the world’s safest
mosh pit–it’s virtual. More important to Me.dium, the RockMe. festival
will provide plenty of opportunities for band members and music lovers
to swap fond memories of choice lyrics and drum solos using Me.dium’s
service.

Office 2.0: Ismael’s secrets…and a live videocast

Ismael Ghalimi, the organizer of the Office 2.0 conference (more)
is serious about living the Web 2.0 dream: Aside from a browser, he has
no applications installed on his laptop, except for iWork, which he
says he uses to remind himself what old-style software is like. (Even I
use traditional software for writing and e-mail.)

Check out Ismael’s notes on Office 2.0 services that work. And this comprehensive database of Office 2.0 applications that he’s put together. Useful tips.
But what if there’s no available Internet connection for Ismael
when he wants to work? “I just take a break. Which can be a good thing.”

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Posted in Betas (as in not-the-fish), Blogging, eHub, Environment, LinkRoundup, Music, Productivity, web2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Sneak Preview: Buzzword and Tad Staley of Virtual Ubiquity

Posted by telecommatt on September 4, 2007

Just thought I’d mention that I’ll be posting an awesome interview with Tad Staley of Virtual Ubiquity coming up. I’m really excited, because Tad put together some very thoughtful answers to the questions I threw at him. You can find my write up on Buzzword, Virtual Ubiquity’s word processor for the web, over a eHub. And don’t forget to check out the Virtual Ubiquity blog as well.

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Posted in web2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Zoho Starts Something New…Again

Posted by telecommatt on August 30, 2007

Zoho announces something new…again. I love hearing new stuff from Zoho. Their stuff is just so cool! I use Zoho a lot; most of my longer articles for this blog and for eHub are written in Zoho Writer, for example. (Although lately, for some reason, my cursor is reset whenever a document autosaves. Have to check the forums on that.) I checked out Zoho’s new Zoho Start this morning. Excellent addition to the Zoho product set! They call it a dashboard for your Zoho documents, but I think that description sells it somewhat short. Start is a tabbed interface where you can view and sort all your existing documents. What’s so cool, however, is that you can do pretty much everything from one place, whether it’s a document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or anything else. You can create a new (document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or anything else) with just a click, and the Zoho Apps button brings you to a menu of Zoho applications you can launch. This is so much more convenient than opening your profile (which opened in a new tab) and clicking on the application from there (which opened in a new tab). This is great stuff, and I really encourage you to check this out.

http://ustech.blognation.com/2007/08/29/zoho-start-a-glimpse-at-future-integration/

Early this morning, Zoho released a new tool called Zoho Start. Now Zoho releasing something new is hardly earth-shattering news.

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Posted in web-based services, web2.0, Websites | 2 Comments »

IntenseDebate Wants Your Comments

Posted by telecommatt on August 27, 2007

Last week, I did a short write up on eHub of advanced blog commenting system, Disqus. Disqus plans to improve the blogosphere by improving the rather basic and rudimentary commenting system built into most blogging platforms.

I was surprised to receive an email today from one of the co-founders of IntenseDebate. It turns out that Intense Debate is also an advanced blog commenting system. They also offer threaded comments, comment tracking, and comment statistics.

Admittedly, I have not jumped in too deep yet on either product. That said, IntenseDebate has one rather large advantage over Diqus right now. They are already live. Following is an excerpt from his email. Thanks Josh!

We have been profiled on TechCrunch and Download Squad. We already do essentially the same thing Disqus promises to do, but better. We are already in a closed Beta and on quite a few blogs.

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Posted in Blogging, Social Web, web2.0 | 2 Comments »

Zyb Releases More Zyb. Much More Zyb!

Posted by telecommatt on August 27, 2007

I attempted to review mobile backup solution, Zyb, back in June and found that my own phone was not compatible with their service. I had such a great experience with their product support, however, that I did a write up anyway.

I received an email this morning alerting me to some updates that were released and tested on the quiet. I didn’t have a chance to post at the time, but Kristen, over at Mashable, had an early morning post on this.  Honestly, my jaw dropped when I saw what these guys have been up to.  Zyb does more than back up your mobile contacts. Much more! Here is an excerpt from the email I received. Thanks Haider!

Dear Matthew Murphy,

Hope you are doing fine!

You
reviewed ZYB previously where you highlighted the importance of a
mobile data backup service, and I expect you will agree that as a
mobile data backup platform ZYB has since established its credibility.

Since
then we have been striving to provide something completely different
instead of reinventing the wheel. The goal has been to harnesses the
power of the data that users upload and “bring your mobile data
to life”.

We launched the new version in silent mode a
couple of weeks ago to get some quick feedback, and now we are ready to
go out in the open. We haven’t even notified our users yet, so
you should find the new version to be newsworthy.

If you check out our website: http://zyb.com you will see that the interface has improved with the following new features:

Users can connect to the people in their mobile
phone’s address book to keep in touch and share mobile content
• Connected friends can keep their contact information updated in each other’s phones

Users can micro-blog from their phone and
broadcast the blog to people in their phone’s address book

Users can upload pictures from their mobile phone
and tag the pictures using the phone’s address book
• Users can expand their social network by searching for people with whom they have mutual friendsThese are just some of the cool features ZYB is offering without charging a dime from its almost 200,000 users across the world.

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Posted in Mobile, Social Web, web-based services, web2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Access Your Skype Contacts and Use Google Desktop Search from Your Mobile with SoonR

Posted by telecommatt on August 25, 2007

I’ve been using SoonR for a few months now. It’s a really cool service. You have access to your email, any folders you designate, and your Skype contacts. If you use Google Desktop, you can use SoonR to search for any document on your machine. View docs on your handset, share them, or email them. (which is what I do most often.) It many cases, SoonR eliminates the need to carry a USB drive with you. My only gripe is that the I seem to get a little pop up telling me to upgrade the desktop client every other day.

Featured Download: Access Files from Your Mobile Phone with SoonR

from Lifehacker by Adam Pash. Windows/Mac: Access files, emails and search your desktop from your
web-enabled mobile phone or any web browser with freeware application
SoonR. After you install the application, set it up with folders you
want to retrieve files from and then log into SoonR from your phone.
The application’s best feature is its file viewer, allowing you to view
40 different file types (including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and PDF
docs) rendered for your phone—meaning your phone doesn’t have to
natively support any of them. SoonR is currently free to use (it sounds
like a premium version is in the works), Windows and Mac only.

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Posted in Mobile, Productivity, Software, web-based services, web2.0 | 1 Comment »

Timebridge is a Scheduling Solution for Busy People

Posted by telecommatt on August 15, 2007

Here’s another find by Demo Girl. Timebridge helps you schedule meetings among busy (or lazy) people. What caught my attention is that there is nothing the recipients need to sign up for or register for. All they have to do is reply to your email.

Got meetings? Get TimeBridge!

A
while back I was a food and beverage manager for a restaurant and every
few months I’d schedule the dreaded staff meeting.  The
servers and bartenders hated it, and so did I, but it had to be
done.  It was typically and hour of me explaining that it’s
not OK to talk on your cell phone while taking an order, that you
shouldn’t tell your tables “sorry, I’m just really
hung over”, and all of the ass slapping and other inappropriate
behavior that goes on between restaurant staff should be done in the
kitchen where no one can see.  What does this have to do with TimeBridge? 
Well, it was a pain scheduling these meetings.  Most of the staff
either had a second job or they were in college and didn’t have
much free time.  I’d always end up with little pieces of
paper in my mailbox from different employees explaining that they
couldn’t make it to the meeting at my proposed time.  This
is where TimeBridge comes in.
TimeBridge
makes it easy to schedule meetings that all of your employees can
attend.  You simply enter in the email addresses of your staff,
choose up to five dates and times that you’re available, and
you’re done.  Your employees don’t need to do anything
except respond to the email by checking off their availability on each
day and press send.  They don’t need to sign up for anything
and TimeBridge will figure out the best time for everyone.  I know
there are other scheduling applications out there, but so far this is
my favorite.  Here’s my screencast tour of TimeBridge:

Flash Demo3m24s

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Posted in Social Web, web2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Matt’s Cuppa Interviews Reactee

Posted by telecommatt on July 18, 2007

I’m sitting outside right now blogging in the sun, and, of course, wearing my Reactee. I love my WiFi, I love summer, and I love it when I get to review a product that I believe in. I first came across Reactee in a post from the MoMB website with a rather minimalist description: “Shirts that text you back.” I mentioned the Reactee website back in June and was super excited by what I saw. Now, after I’ve had a chance to see their product, try things out for a bit, and talk to some people, I can honestly say that Reactee is doing some great things.

Reactee Home

The concept behind Reactee is pretty straightforward. You go to their site and design a shirt with your message and a customized keyword. You type up a few sentences that you want someone to see when the text your keyword to 41411. I chose “I geek for you” with the keyword “egeek”. (Want to see how it works? Go ahead and give it a try by sending an SMS with the word egeek to 41411.) You can change this text as often as you like, and when someone texts your keyword you get a nice little SMS letting you know. You can check out what other users have come up with at the Reactee Gallery.

Just being out and about with my Reactee on has gotten some great responses. People come up and ask about it. If you’re using it to spread some sort of message, you really get responses on two levels. People see the shirt and text you, but they also come up and ask about it face to face. And the shirts look cool, too. I’m definitely not embarrassed to be seen in public wearing my Reactee. The shirts themselves are rather thin, but mine has survived my washing machine so I’m happy. The print has that stylish I’ve-had-this-forever faded look. (I love that! It’s carefully crafted to make it look like all you did to look this cool is throw on the first thing you found, when you know you picked your outfit the night before!) I was really impressed that the website has a handy little chart that helps you figure out what size to order, a killer feature since clothing sizes vary so much from vendor to vendor.

Being an environmentally concerned netizen, there are a few things Reactee is doing that I definitely applaud. Their shirts are manufactured in the United States, reducing the amount of carbon required to get the shirts from the manufacturer. (Reactee is a US-based company.) Their “natural” colored shirts are made from organic materials. The shirts are also printed using water-based inks. I think that every company has a responsibility to my children minimize the impact that they have on the planet, and I’m am very pleased that Reactee is stepping up.

Reacteeism

As I’ve said, the concept behind Reactee is straightforward. What excites me, however, is much broader in scope. SMS activism is changing the political and social landscape across the globe. From elections in Nigeria to chemical plants in China, we see the true power of SMS communication. Closer to home, we see something like Live Earth and wonder, “What do I do next?” Reactee encourages you to take your message to the streets and put a face to your cause. Sure, you’re just one person, but armed with a Reactee, just imagine what you could do!

I contacted Reactee asking if they had any interest in an article or an interview, and Ariel emailed me the very same day. After wearing my Reactee around for a while, and seeing the reactions it got, I couldn’t wait to hear Ariel’s thoughts on the questions I sent. As you can see, he got back to me with some great responses:

# I understand that Reactee is a partnership between TextMarks, Inc. and Revel Industries. Can you talk a little about this? How did it all begin? There always seems to be a great story behind a successful startup. What’s the Reactee story?

The initial idea was to offer shirts to TextMarks users as a way of promoting their keywords. The idea for focusing on the shirts as a standalone product came in a meeting I had with my friend Joe Greenstein (CEO of Flixster). We thought: why limit this product to people who already had a TextMark? Why not make an “interactive shirt” that anyone can use? As to the connection with Revel, I sent an email to the alumni list at Stanford Business School asking for suggestions on people familiar with the t-shirt industry – as I had little experience in it. Someone suggested Chris Gorog, the CEO of Revel Industries and a Stanford alum. We got together at hit it off.

# What about competition? Do you feel that there is competition in your market, or has Reactee created their own market niche? What’s in store for the future of your market space?

So far, we are the only ones offering interactive t-shirts. It is actually not that easy to make this product well. You have the text messaging infrastructure on one side, designing a shirt that balances aesthetics with functionality, making the shirts on demand with good quality, and then integrating the whole thing. As to the future, we are working on a number of features to make the shirts even more interactive and fun, we are also getting lots of requests from abroad, so we are looking into that.

# Define your audience. Who is the average person who will be wearing a Reactee? Do you see a future in individuals or groups? Or will you continue to cater to both? Is there a corporate interest in your product?

We are seeing interest (and orders) from several types of customers:

– Individuals with shirts such as “Think I Am Hot” or “Love Movies”

– Lots of small business, e.g., “Need a Realtor”, “French Lessons”, “Fitness Max”, “I Design Websites”

– Non profits, e.g., “Peace Now”, “Santa Barbara Symphony”, “Change the World with Tech”

– Corporations: we’ve gotten a number of large orders from corporations for promotions, internal events, and as gifts for employees.

# In the wake of financial scandals and more recent concerns over climate change, corporate values are becoming more and more of a deciding factor for today’s consumer. Are there any values that Reactee holds dear? Does Reactee find a way to give back to the community?

Lots of non-profit organizations are using Reactee to promote great causes. In addition to helping them with promotion, we share our revenues with them, helping them financially. And we donate free shirts to some small organizations. All of us involved with Reactee care deeply about our communities and individually each one is involved with more than one project. We are a very socially responsible company. For example, we use shirts that are made in the USA and print with environmentally friendly water-based ink.

# What’s the best thing about being a part of Reactee? What is it that makes you shiver with excitement when you’re telling someone about Reactee? Is there anything in particular that makes you get out of bed in the mornings?

The most fun aspect of Reactee is seeing the creative uses that our customers find for the shirts. I love going to ourgallery to see the latest shirts that our customers have built. I also love the fact that we are producing a physical good. While it sure is a LOT more work than when you are just selling “bits”, it is also a lot more satisfying when our customers receive their shirts and send us emails telling us how much they love them and how much their friends liked them.

I really want to thank Ariel for the thoughtful and thought-provoking answers, and also the Reactee team for putting together a great product. I love what you guys are doing, I love the fact that you’re environmentally conscious, and I’m totally excited by all the possibilities that are out there for anyone with a message and a mobile phone.

Posted in Fashion, Geekstuff, Green, Interviews, Social Web, web-based services, web2.0 | 5 Comments »

Matt’s Daily Diigo Post 06/21/2007

Posted by telecommatt on June 21, 2007

Web2.0 – Logo Creatr

  • Kill time by creating a Web2.0-ish logo for your…something.
    – post by telecommatt

1 column | Theme viewer Annotated

  • another possibility for greathealth. prob choose this one. – post by telecommatt

1 column | Theme viewer Annotated

  • Looking for templates for greathealth site
    – post by telecommatt
  • possibility. clean, not much to get rid of. where do pages show up? – post by telecommatt

Posted in web2.0, Webdev | Leave a Comment »