Thursday, May 18, 2006

Blue Dot: Making your offline world better

There was an interesting blog post a couple days ago over at cataloging 7 reasons why web apps fail. My favorite reason was #7, regarding not thinking holistically:
The amazing thing about Flickr is that nobody uses the service to upload pictures. Nobody says to themselves “I need to upload me some pictures”. Instead, they’re satisfying some other need in their lives, like showing off the new kid to relatives. Or showing their friends how their trip to Europe went. Or letting their co-workers in on their conference activity. All of these things have to do with their life, their relationships, their everyday activities that aren’t centered on the Web, but are made much easier by it. If we look closely, that’s what most successful web apps do: they make our offline lives richer.
Luckily, being a user of Blue Dot makes my life more rich, even when I'm away from my computer. The other night my friend Jeff called me from Portland while I was watching basketball. We started chatting and our conversation was great because he already knew everything I'd been doing because he'd checked out my Dots. Conversely, I had seen what he'd been Dotting. We had a great conversation about some science articles, business ideas, etc. and didn't spend time wondering what to talk about (i.e. "how's the weather down there..."). This sort of happy information exchange occurs all the time when you and your friends are Dotting. The best part is that it feels natural to keep up with what everyone is doing. I never even realize how much I've learned about my friends until I'm hanging out with them, they start talking, and I realize that I'm already familiar with the things that are motivating them.


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