Archive for the ‘Great Ideas’ Category

VOIP Calling From The iPhone

April 17, 2008

Fring has announced that they will be offering VOIP calling capabilities to the iPhone.

From Fring’s web site:

fring™ is a mobile internet service & community that enables you to access & interact with your social networks on-the-go, make free calls and live chat with all your fring, Skype®, MSN® Messenger, Google Talk™, ICQ, SIP, Twitter, Yahoo!™ and AIM®* friends using your handset’s internet connection rather than costly cellular airtime minutes.

Bringing PC-benefits to the mobile, fring will empower you with mobility and availability as never before, integrating all contacts in to one, searchable buddy list, allowing you to see who’s online before dialing with contact availability indicators, engage in multiple conversations simultaneously, send & receive files and more.”

As an iPhone user/fanatic, I am thrilled about this capability.  It remains to be seen if AT&T and Apple will allow this to be done on a locked iPhone, but it will be pretty sweet if they do.  If they don’t allow this, then I just might unlock my iPhone.

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Wireless Neckband Allows Voiceless Phone Call

March 13, 2008

Marc Andreessen says “I have a feeling that someday, this may be up there with “Come here, Watson, I need you.” I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s the link

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Creating A Social Network Around Church

March 12, 2008

My younger brother is a Brethren Minister in Northeastern Ohio. His primary focus for the past several years has been to plant churches in new areas and bring people to church who are “tired of the idea of church.” I have been to a few of his services, and they are very compelling and non-traditional. The message is usually very personal and relates directly to my brother or one of the people who has joined the church family.

My brother’s church is growing. People feel connected to him and each other on Sunday morning — and during the numerous get-togethers they have throughout the week. The personable way that the message is delivered coupled with the genuine caring that has been fostered in this community has resulted in a committed church.

I had lunch with my brother today, and we discussed the growth and the challenges that he faced as a church leader. I challenged him to think even more differently about how he could continue to engage his community and get his message out to even more people. I can think of no organization that would benefit more from a well done, interactive web presence. I encouraged my brother to start blogging routinely to share his insights with the church. Gather their responses. Foster dialog about beliefs, current events, daily living. The members would invite friends to join in the discussion through sharing of posts, and though there would not necessarily be more butts in seats on Sunday morning, the church and the church’s message would reach a huge number of people.

Just like non-profits are changing their models (think Kiva.org) to engage people with their marketing versus interrupting them asking for money, churches (along with every other people-based venture) need to re-think how they are connecting with their flocks. Are churches keeping current members engaged? Are churches engaging enough to attract new members? Are churches meeting people’s needs and enabling their personal growth on their terms?

If you know of any churches who are doing this kind of stuff well, please let me know.

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Alltop

March 12, 2008

Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki announced a new service called Alltop — a news site that provides all of the top stories for 40 of the most popular topics on the web.  It’s effectively an RSS reader for people who don’t have the time or inclination to mess around with RSS readers.  I haven’t looked at this closely enough to form an opinion (though I reckon it’s really good), but this falls squarely in the camp of “it’s about time someone did this.”

Check out Alltop and let me know what you think.

MP3 Player Celebrates 10th Anniversary

March 12, 2008

From Engadget, today is the 10th anniversary of the MP3 player — the MPMan F10. It’s amazing to think about how this device was pretty unessential at the time, and it’s even more incredible to see what this device spawned.

It only takes one idea to change the world. What’s yours?

Inspired Misfires

February 25, 2008

Joel Spolsky, one of my techie heroes, wrote an article for Inc.com entitled “How Hard Could It Be?: Inspired Misfires”.

The gist of the article is about doing something when everyone else thinks it’s impossible or impractical. It’s a story that we’ve heard many times, and for us entrepreneurs, it never really gets old. People will tell you that your great idea won’t work — that you are setting yourself up for failure. They are the ones destined for middle-of-the-road thoughts, actions and lives. Thank goodness that Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Scott McNealey, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and (insert your favorite impractical success story here) didn’t listen.

Mint.com Gets It Right

February 24, 2008

While frustratingly trying to work out a budget in Quicken yesterday, I began looking for alternatives that didn’t require hours of my time to get an overview of my finances. Enter Mint.com. Within 10 minutes, I was able to add all of my checking, savings, credit card and investments accounts to the site. Mint.com then provides me with all of my account activity in real time and gives me a fairly intelligent spending overview coupled with a high-level budget based on past behavior. All for free. Sweet.

Intuit is trying to come up with an online version of Quicken and charge people $2.99/month. Why would I give more money to a company that I have been frustrated with for years but was the best of the worst?

The old guard needs to take note: make things easy for people, and they will flock to you. I hope that Mint.com is around for a very long time, and I hope that their founders become millionaires. Applications like this make the world a better place.

It will be interesting to see how Mint.com markets this great application. Personal finance is a hot topic these days, particularly in light of the tightening of the U.S. economy and the massive consumer debt that people are dragging with them these days. They should try to team up with the likes of Dave Ramsey and David Bach to get the word out. Or even better, deliver such an amazing product that people like me will talk about it endlessly online and recommend it to all their family and friends. Ain’t online collaboration grand?

E In The Making

February 13, 2008

There is a great website and podcast available from a couple of guys who are building a new business available at http://www.einthemaking.com/ They are utilizing the web and podcasting to show their growth and to deliver insights. The content is great, but what makes this even better is how they are creating a viral interest in their company long before they launch. We can all learn something from them and how they are looking at New Marketing in a compelling way.