Monday, January 9, 2012

Start-Up Debut- Part 3

By Bayle Emlein

Anybody remember the killer app that made PC's take off? That was VisiCalc. And what was VisiCalc? it was a spreadsheet. And what, you might ask, is a spreadsheet? You can look it up in Wikipedia or you can just take my summary: an opportunity sit alone and key in numbers so that the computer could compute the sum, product, or difference between two or more numbers. Getting the average was a whole other way of doing things and took a moderate level of programming skills. And that's the product that drove the move from mainframes. Whole tradeshows were filled with varieties of spreadsheet presentations. Obviously the general public did not make up the bulk of the audience.

That  was the killer app that drove the move from mainframes to individual personal, computers and the prediction that by the end of the 20th Century just the US might have up to 10 mainframe computers. What's the killer app that is driving the move from individual, personal computers to data appliances? Not an app, but the concept of interactive sharing of personal information, supported by apps or hardware and everything else that enables users as smart as the average 5-year-old to share their social experiences. Nowhere was that clearer than at Start-Up Debut just before the beginning of the annual Consumer Electronics Show that annually smothers Las Vegas.

For instance, travel has changed just a big since the days of Marco Polo. Sites like TravelDNA take you on a preview of selected destinations. Based on your indicated interests, places to stay and to eat and to play are suggested. Tour Wrist takes you on virtual tours. HipGeo lets you take your friends on a virtual tour via geotagging your photos, following any trip you upload. Across the country, across town--it doesn't care and your creativity and their interest in you are the key ingredients.

A couple of other thoughts to make traveling less stressful: Insure Monkey (IM) to pick out the best insurance for your needs at the best price. And Liquipel is an invisible plastic coating for your phone so that when you have to fish it out of the pool or you get sprayed by surf at Cancun, it survives without a blink and you can immediately use that same phone to let the whole world know what just happened to it. The concept of what 'computer use' is all about has clearly evolved. It's about everybody sharing everyday experiences. That was made clear speakers and projectors from WOWee, docks from B3Rfun, organizing everybody on the team with Tracky.

Tracky is to project management what VisiCalc is to online banking. Go to to organize your personal, family, and business contacts in one centralized interface where the contacts do not necessarily overlap. You maintain control over who sees what without having to manage multiple accounts.
Someone at the event noted that despite reports of a terrible economy, no one at the Start-Up Debut seemed to be hurting. That's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The people with the vision and energy, social and technical knowledge to bring new products and concepts to market are doing quite well at creating their own prosperity while re-imagining everyday life for everybody.

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