Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Always Look On the Bright Side of Innovation…


With all due apologies and credit to Monty Python, last night’s WebInno conference had me whistling that infectious tune from the end of Life of Brian – and for good reason.  In the shadow of life seeming “jolly rotten, there’s something [we’ve] forgotten,” and that’s innovation is what drives us in both good times and bad. There was positive energy in a very full two rooms, a lot of active discussion and some pretty cool innovations, the vast majority of which were targeted at making life easier (and in some cases cheaper) for all of us – consumers, businesses, shoppers, parents and even golfers.  They’re fixing, as Eric Idle croons in the song, the things that “make you swear and curse.” 

I also took the opportunity to pose a couple of questions of two great execs of side dish companies, asking first what keeps them excited and confident that now is the right time for innovation, and secondly, why they chose Boston to make that innovation happen (see Xconomy and Innovation Economy for more on this discussion.)I’ve embedded their answers in the videos below.  But without further ado, here’s a snapshot of what last night’s lineup had to offer: 

  • Adroit Interactive – improving campaign performance and reducing costs through dynamic ads
  • BravoCart – as one exec described it, “drag and drop ecommerce”
  • LilGrams – extremely easy platform to consolidate and share baby/kid memories (i.e. make sense of the thousands of pics and vids on my hard drive and across WAY too many sites)
  • CoachesTown –  Customized and secure portals (and automatic communication mechanisms) for youth sports teams and leagues
  • JitterGram – instant mobile coupons and promotions for dinners, lift tickets, stores, resorts, etc.
  • JotNot – Turn your mobile phone into a document (as well as whiteboard) digitizer
  • mCaddie – One-stop destination for courses, instructors, tournaments and leagues to make the golf experience easier and more successful
  • PickupZone – Tap a network of local businesses as your personal package delivery location so it’s never left unattended on your doorstep again
  • Wiggio – Group collaboration for everyone  

A special thanks goes out to Abe Gurjal, co-founder of JotNot and Tim Blasko of CoachesTown for taking the time to chat with me about what they’re doing and their outlook on the environment in which they’re doing it.  As I’m about to start coaching my soon to be 8 year old’s baseball team, Tim’s product is just what the doctor ordered. And my wife will likely be calling Abe soon, since I now even have more of an urge to get an iPhone.   Thanks guys and best of luck in what I’m sure will be a successful year for both of you.

And now for something completely different…video interviews!  

video   video

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