Happenings: Stirr 1.0
I went to the first Stirr gathering last night and I was quite surprised that I had such a good time. I’m not fond of mingling. It’s the small talk that usually kills me. But I got lucky last night. Sharra Chan of Orange Door, Inc. introduced herself to me early in the evening and we had a very nice conversation. Little of it chit-chat which really works for me. If I understood Sharra right, Orange Door, Inc is a SOA accounting system targeting accountants who specialize in professionals and consultants. Essentially a web-based, secure, accounting system that satisfies the needs of small businesses. From what Sharra described to me, Orange Door is a player and a value-add company that I expect we’ll see around for many years to come.
I also saw Nick again and met his wife Carolyn. Nick has been working with Scott Johnson on Ookles. I had realized a week or so ago that I really could use an Ookles product to share personal photos and video with my family, I just don’t want ANY of my media available to the public. I’m concerned about the safety and privacy of my family and security is very important to me. Nick was kind enough to clear-up my security concerns. Will my data be secure? Yep, very. I’ll be able to give access to those people I want to, such as my family. So now I’m looking forward to Ookles going live. My in-laws want to see more photos. I also had some great conversations with Carolyn about kids. My kids rock in case you didn’t know and I could talk about them all day...all night...all day...yea it’s that bad.
Of the five companies that presented last night the company product that impressed me the most was from Inkling. I don’t know if the product is based on the theories in "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki, but that is what immediately came to my mind. The basic premise is that crowds are better at predicting things than experts. While the trends that are modeled on the main site seemed rather trivial to me they currently have about 2000 users. I think the real value of their product comes from what the product can do for businesses. Large businesses have an innovation problem. We’ve all read about it and most of us have seen it. But if a large business was to run an internal copy of Inklings product using innovative ideas presented to the company by employees and customers...I see a REALLY good way for those large companies to improve innovation while reducing risk. Risk avoidance is key for many large companies and any product that can help them get a handle on their risk while improving the bottom-line is going to be a hit. Which this most certainly will be. There is also the option of using Inkling as a new type of opt-in marketing and requirements gathering. By opening some ideas to the public or only customers, companies can get a better feel for how to make improvements and ideally sell more products that actually solve peoples’ problems. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Nick introduced me to Niall who was kind enough to invite me to dinner. I met some interesting people, ate Chinese food, and had a very nice time. After dinner I drove Shannon Clark home. He has some really great ideas about networking in all its many flavors and you’ll be well served to check out the MeshForum 2006 conference he is organizing. I was quite impressed by his ideas and his passion for networks.