Your iPhone can do everything except your laundry, until now… This was our pitch at Startup Weekend in San Francisco this weekend, where we wired up such things as lights, fans, door opening/closing sensors, and motion detectors to demonstrate the power of home automation. See this video below for an idea. (The guy in the video is a friend of Aswath, whom I worked with at Startup Weekend)
If you thought the above video was cool, you should see what we have in store for TalkingHome. This weekend, I created a mobile web app (for iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.) that provides a speech interface (and touch interface) to further enhance the automation experience. And this is just a rough first iteration.
I wasn’t satisfied with the options available for on-the-go cyclists. The iPhone Google Maps doens’t have bike directions (though it may be coming in iOS 6), and the web and native apps all seem to be lacking either good directions or a good interface (or both). I typically end up pulling out a physical map when I need to find a good way to get from point A to point B in San Francisco.
Bike.ly allows you to quickly get highlighted directions on a map from your current location. However, I’ve run into a big problem in that iOS 5.1 (the latest iOS at this time) does not support local storage. In other words, if you save the app to the homescreen, map out the directions, put it back in your pocket, and pull it out again, then the directions will be lost. I’m currently investigating alternatives (seems cookies might work) to make it a better user experience without resorting to PhoneGap. To be continued….
A couple weeks ago, I went to Startup Weekend in San Francisco. If you never heard of Startup Weekend, it’s basically where you try to start a business over the course of a weekend. Our group focused on helping couples–as opposed to the multitude of match.com’s that address singles. We saw the problem as relationships typically start off on a high note and then slowly fade over time without a concerted effort from each partner. Kahnoodle, we envisioned, would make that concerted easy and fun by understanding what each person was looking for on an ongoing basis and relaying that information to their partner. For the kicker, we would throw in game mechanics to make actions of love (or kahnoodles, as we call them) self rewarding.
We did a lot of customer research (as you can see by the video) before actually deciding on what the product should look like. So, as the only programmer in the group of 4, I didn’t get much done on the actual product. My plan was to create a really slick single page, mobile, web app with the likes of Node, Socket.IO, Jade, Backbone, and Stylus (like Sass), but I barely got started before time ran out. You can view the source on github.
But, alas, the weekend is over and the person with the original idea seems to be looking for employees–not founders. So.. on to the next “startup weekend.”
Vendee allows both mobile phone users and store owners to post specials. All the specials are geolocated and presented to the user based on their current location.
We incentive users to participate via our point system. Every time a user post a sale, or likes/dislikes a sale, or shares a sale, etc. they are given points. And if your sale is disliked, for instance, by another user then you lose points. These points then transfer to user levels: everyone starts as a “Shoplifter,” then they progress to titles such as “Discounter,” all the way up to the most coveted title of “Vendee.” One of the future plans we are considering is giving users gift certificates to one our participating stores when they reach certain user levels.
How do we make money
We make money by charging stores for premium listings.
What is a premium store listing
We try to give stores’ their money’s worth for posting a sale with us. How? First, there listing gets highlighted in yellow in the sale list. Further, if there are similar user sales, then we embed the store sale at the top of those user sales. On the backend, we also track how many times the sale has been shown, how many times the sale has been clicked, etc. so the store can follow the success of the sale.
Status of Vendee
The app has been in the Apple App Store for about 4 months. So far, my partner on the sales side has yet to come through again to sign up stores (see Gift Registry App), but I still think the app is one of the best in it’s category. So check it out and leave feedback.
One of the first apps I created for the iPhone. A mobile app to put all your gift registries in to one place. Your guests can then browse, make purchases, and even mail you the gift, all within the app.
Unfortunately, my “business guy,” was unable to sign up any stores to connect with their gift registries, so it never made it into the app store. (He’s the guy in the video.) So if you’re a store owner and interested in connecting your registry with us, let me know.