“One of These Innovations is Not Like The Other”…or is it?

Entrepreneurs Posted Jul 16, 2009 by Kevin Kosh

Last night, David Beisel gave us yet another very successful WebInno event. Huge crowd, lots of energy, and each company improving even on the innovations seen at the last WebInno (more on that in a sec).

As I perused the companies involved, the old Sesame Street matching game ran through my head. Overall, the common thread running through most of the companies seemed to be connecting all the aspects of what I’ll call, the “me network.” They addressed increasing the effectiveness of pretty much all aspects of how you interact with the online world, and how it interacts with you – From entertainment and learning, to news consumption, to social network interactions, all the way to the marketing of smartphone apps and restaurants based on your preferences. That is, all but one.

From the minute I saw this company on the agenda, I said, huh? The Tor Project, is an 8 year old, “anonymity network.” You may have heard of them as a popular tool for Iranian protesters to circumvent government controls during the election. But in talking to them, they’re starting to build out partnerships with Google, eBay, browser vendors, security companies and others to enable “safe modes” that protect your information. So it does make sense that to really keep the me network about “me”, is the ability to control how much of me, is out there.

An interesting opposite bookend to anonymity, is having people branded with actual barcodes, from CaptureCode…

Actually, I just let it hang there for dramatic effect. Far from ominous, CaptureCode is actually doing something pretty cool. Whereas a previous WebInno attendee allowed restaurants to send you deals/promotions, CaptureCode gives you a personal barcode on your smartphone or a plastic card that when scanned helps restaurants put you in a loyalty/rewards programs. And one of my favorite restaurants, Not Your Average Joe’s is already testing it. Well shave my head and sign me up. ;o)

Thanks again to the WebInno sponsors and crew for another great event. And make sure to check out all the other cool companies that were there:

  • Planet Cazmo — Music-oriented virtual world for tweens and teens
  • Thunder Thimble — social sentiment tracking and interaction platform
  • BuySellAds — “Anti-Advertising Network” for SMBs to better target their ad buys
  • Shareaholic — Browser add-on for one-click social sharing
  • Muzzylane — Immersive 3D gaming environment platform for developers
  • Localytics — smartphone application analytics platform
  • Fluent Mobile — First mobile newspaper for iPhones
  • The Tor Project — The world’s largest anonymity network
  • CaptureCode — Your own personal barcode for restaurant rewards/loyalty programs