With a newborn at home and a slew of interesting stuff going on at Headshift it is rare for me to have a chance to explore the social side of social software; in other words: events. This Friday it was MiniBar in London's East End and next week I plan to be at Wiki Wednesday hosted by What If.
MiniBar is set up by Christian Ahlert and a gang of volunteers. I have attended a couple of times before. The format allows for networking and features a few short presentations, typically by start-ups. This time we learned about:
- Spreadshirt, which I knew about beforehand from Konrad Marx, wants to open a shop on your website. By offering their shopping interface as a widget, some 270,000 websites are already selling their own t-shirt designs via Spreadshirt. Go to their site and you will see that the first choice in the menu is "sell" (not buy). The model of combining user generated content with a distributed sales network and centralised fulfillment is interesting.
- The Babies in the title of this article does not refer to our recent arrival but Babyfy, a website for expecting couples and new parents, primarily in the UK. Because it matches our current situation, I paid extra attention and visited the site later that evening. The three aspects of the site are hospital information + reviews (like Patient Opinion but focused on maternity wards); product reviews and blogs on different topics. A social network feature would have been a clever thing to add given the type of community the site caters for.
- Just like Google Maps has become the de facto interface for geospatial content and Wikipedia for topics, Miomi hopes to be the attractor for temporally related content. A timeline with events is the main interface. Your content can be attached to the timeline and related to other users' entries plus a bunch of events already entered as a kind of background layer. Thomas Whitfield, one the founders, told me that Miomi is hoping to license their patented technology to others to generate income besides advertising revenue. (A quick search of EPO and USPTO to satisfy my curiosity did not return any patent applications related to Miomi but it could be that the applications are not public yet or that they are filed under a different name.)
- The School of Everything launched their public site at the event. A Seedcamp graduate, they match supply and demand for tutoring by connecting pupils and tutors interested in the same subject. Creating a marketplace by connecting people: Exactly what the internet does well, as proved by eBay. The site has yet to build volume but I managed to find a potential Arabic tutor in London by searching for the language, and using the map interface I located a nearby tutor who could teach me 3D imaging for £50/hour. A great idea with great potential.
MiniBar evenings are typically scheduled for the last Friday of the month, but Christian hinted that October may offer a mid-month special event.