Tuesday, August 14, 2007

SMS request-response system up for sale

If you read my blog from time to time, you know about Paddlespot. Paddlespot is a free service launched in the Fall of 2005, that aims to provide real-time river levels to whitewater kayakers on their mobile phones. We chose SMS as the primary technology, because it was the lowest common denominator- available on all phones.

The user scenario is pretty straight forward: Whitewater enthusiasts (kayakers, rafters, fisherman) simply send a text message to Paddlespot with the first three letters of the river name. Paddlespot responds instantly with the latest USGS river reading (we index that data). Knowing how quickly river levels can change, this information is much more valuable when you are standing next to the river. Previous to this solution, kayakers would check the web up to 2 hours before they would get to the river. Anyone who knows rivers can tell you how much can change in 2 hours, and how the safety factor can change as well.

Today Paddlespot continues to run, with a stable set of mobile users across the country - now indexing about 4300 rivers. Usage sways with the whitewater season, but has continued to grow steadily only by word-of-mouth.

If you know anyone who is looking to build a request-response SMS system as part of their broader offering, please pass this along to them. The Paddlespot code is a great starting point and will get them up & running much more quickly than starting from scratch.

Contact me with any questions neilcrist @ gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Last moments at Jobster

I still remember the first day that Marty and I met at the Ignition Partner offices. As part of the EIR program, we were joining as the first members of Jason Goldberg's team, focused on building a business in the recruiting space. This would start a 3 year partnership (Marty the program manager, me the product manager) to build an a software product for recruiters and sourcers.

As coincidence would have it, nearly 3 years to the day, Marty and I left Jobster to pursue other opportunities. By that time, Jobster had undergone a lot of change (strategy, headcount, etc.) and it was time for those focused on the next chapter of Jobster to take the reigns, and for us to get out of the way.