DEMO – First Afternoon

The afternoon started off with a bunch of collaborative browsing, social search, and tagging services.

It was hard for me not to think that we’ve been down this path with Delicious, but nevertheless there were some interesting new twists.

Img_2222We started out with Gravee, a social search engine where the content owners share in the revenue.  A novel idea. Although I don’t know if sharing the action with the content owners is going to "disrupt" the web search market at this stage.  I’d love to see it happen though.

Then we moved on to a couple presentation/meeting related services which didn’t do much for me.

Then we got right into the social/tagging world in a big way with presentations from Kaboodle, Plum, Raw Sugar, Riya, and Tagworld (which also announced an investment by DFJ).

Of these I liked Plum and Riya the best based on the demos.

Tagworld is clearly gaining some real usage among the myspace crowd and it is always worth going up against a competitor that has recently sold out for a lot of money.  But honestly these social networks are about scale and myspace still has that in spades.  It will be interesting to see if more functionality and a better experience beats out the largest social network.

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Riya is very slick.  It’s a great demo.  The founder and CEO ended with the search engine finding a photo of his son on the wall of his office in the background of a picture of him.  The engine found something we could barely see.  Very nicely done.  This guy is a demo god in the making if he isn’t already one.

What I want to know is if Riya can scale to the web at large.  Can it work on Flickr?  Can it work on all the photo sites combined?  If it could, that would be an amazing thing.  My daughter Jessica once said to me, "Dad, if you want to make a lot of money, invest in a company that can find pictures of people".  Riya does that, right now in a limited way, but possibly over time in a much bigger way.  I am going to give it a spin for sure.

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Of all the tagging/social services I saw today, the demo I liked best was Plum.  I have to go see them at the pavilion to get a closer look, but I like the way its integrated into the web and doesn’t try to be a destination.  I like that every collection is an RSS feed.  I like that they demo’d Plum working with Flickr, with blogs, with email.  That’s how this stuff needs to work.

Then we got treated to a few web services that work with the open source software world, Krugle, Jitterbit, and IPswap.  To be honest, these all felt more "new" and "different" to me than the social/tagging/collaborative browsing stuff earlier in the afternoon.

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Krugle was the most interesting of the bunch.  It’s a search engine for open source software.  Vertical search for open source.  Sounds like a good concept.  The demo was simple and the proposition was compelling.  Not sure how they make money, but the demo isn’t supposed to focus on that.

A fellow VC said to me that he likes that DEMO focuses exclusively on the products, plain and simple.  And its true. I am having a lot of fun focusing on the products for a couple days.

Time to get back for the DEMO jam and see the USB guitar in action.  I sure hope its a Gibson Flying V.