Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Round-Up Volume 1, Issue 28: Optimism Is In The Air As New Ideas Are Percolating

Over the last few weeks it’s become apparent that things are about to change once again. Have you felt it; have you sensed it in the air? That wave of optimism and the initial rush of excitement that precedes revolutionary change in the internet age?

I think it started at AdTech and after spending some time at JavaOne I’m starting to connect the dots. New ideas are percolating to the forefront as technology is continuing to evolve. Apple announced the new iPhone updates at the WWDC and they focused on speed while Microsoft announced its new search engine which catalogues new areas of the web and provides for a new way to start your web experience with the Explore button. No-one is taking anything for granted, not even the foundation of search that powers the web. The clouds are gathering (in more ways than one, which you would understand if you were also at JavaOne).

Change is a good thing as it keeps people on their toes and if there’s one thing about a recessionary economy, it’s that it is a significant harbinger of change. When things are down, people come to realize that a turnaround requires new ideas. For things to get better things need to evolve and entrepreneurs smell that sense of opportunity and come running.

That’s what I took away from the last two weeks and that’s what I see when I look at some of the new companies like these ones below, in this week’s edition of the Digital Influentials newsletter…

Let’s begin with RUN MY ERRAND (; a very unique service that unfortunately only exists in Boston right now, but harkens back to the days of Kozmo (still one of my favorite services ever). You can pay people to do your errands for you; pick up the dry cleaning, do the grocery shopping, whatever works. The service was submitted by Brian Shepherd, one of our readers! Thanks Brian!!

With all that free time you’ve got because someone else is running your errands, why not try to make some life changing decisions by using LET SIMON DECIDE ( It’s a decision making engine for people who just can’t make up their own mind. Of course, letting someone else make your decisions for you is borderline scary, but anything seems to work on the web!

If you’ve made all the decisions you need to make and all your errands are done, maybe it’s time to catch up on your reading? That can be a daunting task, unless you use DAILY PERFECT ( Daily Perfect attempts to read your personal information and hypothesis the articles and content you’d most like to read. It’s a little spooky because it appears to read your web history, bookmarks and social media profiles to determine what you might like, but once you get past the big brother-ness, it’s actually sort of cool.

If you are catching up on your reading and you come across a word you don’t understand, visit WORDNIK ( This site is obviously the next best thing to the national spelling bee; it provides definitions, synonyms and etymology of the word you’re looking up. For those of you who love to expand your vocabulary to include words like “prestidigitation”, bookmark and use often!

And if you’ve finally come to the end of another illustrious day, maybe it’s time to get your rock on and check out some live music? If so, visit SONGKICK ( SongKick is a database and tracker for all things concert-related. Keep track of your own personal concert history or just find out where your favorite artists are headed. For a music junkie such as myself, it’s a place to start and end your day.

As for the world of the iPhone Apps… I have to recommend PAPER TOSS as a way to waste (pun intended) your time. Check out the FANDANGO app to buy movie tickets. And if you have free time to spare (which probably happens whenever your AT&T service drops 1 out of every 5 calls), check out 6500+ COOL FACTS; its chock full of ways to win at Trivial Pursuit.

That’s it for now – grab hold and hang on – things are only going to get better from here on out!

1 comment:

Rylan said...


Thanks for mentioning an East Coast startup- RUNmyERRAND. We haven't launched in SF yet, but we are working with Facebook this summer in their incubator program and hope to be making you life easier soon. We also really like SF, so any excuse to travel out there is good enough for us :)

Chief Runner