Launch Conference, Day Two

Yesterday was great. The buzz in the place is unbelievable. This place is the Launch Conference. Organized and run beautifully by Jason Calacanis (who has become much more warm and fuzzy than I remember). Here is Rafe Needleman’s summary of day one.

And with all due respect to Boston and Scott Kirsner in particular, I cannot see a gathering like this happening in Boston. There just are not nearly enough interesting startups to pick from. Now, no, I don’t claim to know anything like all of them. I am sure there are lots of great projects I know nothing about. I am just going by proportions and gut feel. It seems like around every corner is another incubator and every one is an angel investor or is looking for one to fund their idea that is going to change the world. It’s inspiring and intoxicating!

Now, on to the show notes. – Helps me plan an afternoon in a city. Based on what I like to do, where I am, whether I have a car or not, this app helps me construct an plan of where to go and what to do. Like all of these apps, the key is in how good their content is and so far, all they have is, predictably, San Fransisco. So a promising but incomplete idea.

SongSpin and Anthem: Two interesting music applications. SongSpin makes a music discovery service. Songspin produces a ‘curated’ collection of music by genre and delivers it as a ‘radio station’ that you can listen to while online. There are many services that do this but it’s a pretty nice of execution. Anthm is an app that lets a bunch of people (at a party for example) can collaboratively control a play list. The music is playing on a computer running Spotify or a similar app.

License123 – Mundane but powerful. Based on State, City and type of business, this app will tell me what permits and licenses I would need to start such a business in that place. Supposedly this is a tricky and slow (not to mention costly) process. I guess the use of this app is episodic. I only need it when I am planning to open a new business. Still very cool!

15Five – Supposedly similar to Yammer according to the judges.  This is a way to gather and respond to status reports semi automatically. Looks very slick. Depends on the price, because standard emails would work here too. But nicely executed. – A more conventional employee survey tool. Nicely done. I didn’t catch whether they randomly survey a particular subset of employees so that any particular employee doesn’t get polled too often. Nice survey tool with nice reporting. – Make it possible or easier to learn about the family stories and history. You have to get over the normal awkwardness in asking your mother what your father was like as a young man. Or why uncle Foo doesn’t get along with Aunt Bar. I will try it in my family to see if it works. – Based on the appearances match people up for anonymous rendezvous in local coffee shops and hangouts. The judges don’t like it, but on the other hand they are all ‘old’ and ‘married’. So basically a user gets to review a bunch of pictures of ‘actors’ and rate if they are ‘cute’ or ‘not’.

Based on this two users are sent to a location without knowing who the other person is or whether they have arrived yet. So you have to get up the courage to strike up a conversation. It’s romantic.

Tolq.comMagically translate your web site, completely into another language. Panel is a bit skeptical that it will work well enough. Anticipated challenges are: text in javascript; right to left languages; text embedded in images.

TrustEggEasily create a trust account for your children and make it really easy to add money to it for them, and have other family members contribute to the fund. The money is invested in a index fund or perhaps other choices. I see an analogy with a Charitable Gift Fund where a big trust is built and allows parents to set up a trust fund in a very light weight way and without having to set up a trust yourself. Also it makes it easy to have others (grandparents, uncles, aunts) add funds to it.

Offlane – Flipboard with offline capabilities. Even, tweeting while offline.  Even searching offline. Even ordering premium content offline. Will be free to download, with a $5 a month to get the service.

Minbox – A new way to access my email designed for non-techies. Very light weight, and oriented around people rather than messages. It’s a light layer over gmail. It might be useful for people who get overrun with non-people emails that clutter up their inbox and are a source of annoyance.

AppStack – Magically builds a mobile app by scaling the web for your business phone number, It might work well in the demo but how well will it work across an arbitrary business?

Couplestreet – Facebook for just two. Not sure.

GonnaBe – Where I am gonna be. Helps people share what they plan to do to get others to  come along. This sounds just like Plancast. They claim that Plancast was not as mobile and that Plancast tried to publicize longer term plans. GonnaBe is focused much more short term. Today, tomorrow, maybe next week, but that’s it.

Captricity – Given a pile of paper forms this product does flexible form data extraction. User describes what the fields are in a form and then extract the data and returning a database with the extracted data. Demoer says that they ‘build a custom oct engine on the side’ to actually process the forms.

Snaptat – First of a series of apps built, essentially, around a Instagram tag. Snaptat is the first, and it appears as a special purpose Instagram for Tattoo artists. They can create other vacations, for example for pets, dogs, and so on. They believe they can do another app every 6-8 weeks for around $10,000.00.

Fantasy Politics – A fantasy sports game built around politics! Baseball cards for politicians. They create a  “power score” for a politician. Kind of ‘clout’ for politicians, from 0-99. Sounds cool but I can’t find their site.

Upto – Lets me share events from my calendar with other people that I care about. You might see that a friend is going to a lecture and decide you want to go too.

Bloc – Claims to let me more easily learn programming. I don’t believe the premise.


— more to come —

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