Archive | January, 2012

A tip of the cap to Tom Bachant

30 Jan

Tom is our iPhone dev at Shizzlr, a fulltime biomed engineering student, and recently just won Startup Weekend at Storrs, CT with his team Sobrio. Tom has been part of our team since very early on, has worked his tail off to balance an education and working for a venture startup, and we’ve got to watch his skillset with the iPhone just explode over the past year or so. He must have picked up some business savvy along the way too 🙂  So Tom, from the rest of the team Shizzlr, congratulations on winning Startup Weekend! you’ve done us proud.

(and Tom if you’ll notice, I’ve added some tasks to your to-do list so get to cranking them out because we’ve got an important email to send to you know who)

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Plancast -> Shizzlr

26 Jan

After reading the post-mortem Mark Hendrickson wrote for Plancast the other day (http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/22/post-mortem-for-plancast/) it got me thinking about what we’re about to do with Shizzlr as well as feel a little nostalgic. Plancast launched when we were at UConn just tinkering with the idea that has now become Shizzlr. We used and watched Plancast through its adoption and were constantly awaiting the day they would implement privacy and group chat based on their event listings. That never seemed to happen as they kept after a public level of sharing events and plans. Mark mentions that Plancast wasn’t built for the everyday informal plans that people make with exclusivity to just a small circle of friends. Well that’s what Shizzlr is built for. Since our time at UConn, we’ve always wanted to build that planning tool for your social life that can handle the everyday casual plans you make with friends. Getting a coffee, going to happy hour, planning a party, tailgating for the big game, or just simply hanging out … Shizzlr makes planning those things simple n’ sweet. Plus Shizzlr integrates with larger public events from platforms like Facebook and Eventful so not only can you see what’s going on around you, you can make private plans to those events too.

The team is pretty jazzed up right now about officially launching Shizzlr next week and some of our friends with the early versions of the apps have said they’re pretty stellar.

Checkin to Foursquare in your Shizzlr plan

26 Jan

And for those of you who live the Foursquare life like some of us on the Shizzlr team … when you arrive at your plan destination, you can now checkin to Foursquare inside your Shizzlr plan!

App space observation

4 Jan

It feels like the mobile app space is starting to mature a bit. App downloads are blowing up, but how evenly distributed those downloads are across the number of apps out there. Of course there’s a top 10, top 100, and a long tail too, but it seems certain apps are becoming leaders of certain actionable spaces.

Foursquare is the ‘checkin’ app. Path is the ‘journal’ app. Instagram is the ‘picture sharing’ app. Runkeeper is the ‘running’ app. Kik might be the ‘group chat’ app. Shizzlr is certainly going to be the ‘planning with friends’ app. This also might be happening because app design is finally hitting it’s stride. Look at Path; getting all of their content into one stream and only one button for contribution, brilliant. It’s funny how website design tends to decrease scrolling and increase clicks, but app design is the opposite; increase scrolling/swiping and reduce taps.  Anyway this is just an observation of the app space in general and maybe a feel for one of many things that’ll happen in 2012.

Welcome 2012, just in time for the party … and now you’ll be able to plan that party better than ever

1 Jan

 

With every new year, we have our resolutions, we welcome the new, say good bye to the old, and erase the white board so we can fill it again with amazing ideas.

I’m looking forward to this year because this year is our showoff year for Shizzlr. We get to show off what we’ve been doing for the past year. We’ve made a lot of personal sacrifices to make Shizzlr 2.0, and it’s all because we believe in what we’re doing. We’ve been on that psuedo random sinusoidal wave of elation and frustration almost non stop 18hrs/day, 30 days/month, 353 days of the past year, and I’ll tell you this – it’s only the belief of building something so great that could possibly motivate, drive, and carry anybody thru that process. We’ll have to maintain this effort and energy through 2012 to get Shizzlr 2.0 out there and continue to develop it further until it becomes the ‘this is how I make plans with my friends’ app as we envision it. I know upon presentation of Shizzlr, we’re going to be asked all sorts of questions, but the ultimate core of any question will be ‘why?’ so I’ll try to address that now…

Why did we ‘do Shizzlr’?

Think about the last time you made plans with friends to get a beer or a coffee or just to hangout. You had fun right? Now think about the process of making those plans. Either you’ve forgotten about it because it was just that, forgettable. Or maybe it was a bit frustrating because you had to spend time communicating back and forth to figure out who was free when, who wanted to do what, and what was there to do anyway. We all go through the planning process solely because we assume the result is going to be worth it, but why should we have to ‘endure’ making plans when we could ‘enjoy’ making plans?

Everyone makes plans with their friends to do something. We make plans by using communication tools like texting, email, Facebook messenger, and even group message apps like GroupMe. These communication tools work great for connecting with friends, but don’t work great for making a simple plan to hangout and that’s because they were designed for communication, not planning.

We built Shizzlr because we believe that planning should feel effortless, and be as enjoyable as the plans themselves. It should be fun to discover what’s going on, simple to share places to go, events to do, and easy to chat as a group to figure out the details. Shizzlr is the easy-simple-efficient-enjoyable planning tool that enables all of this. It still uses the communication tools, so when you start a plan on Shizzlr, your friends, who don’t even have to be on Shizzlr, will get a text or an email or a Facebook post about the plan. Of course if they have our Android or IPhone app, then they’ll get an app notification, and all of this is accessible and fully functional on our website too.

We ‘do Shizzlr’ because we’re all in that aspect of our lives where social planning is important. We deal with it on a daily basis, and the status quo of just accepting using communication tools to make plans just isn’t acceptable. I doubt we’re the first ones to make such a statement, and I know we’re not the first to make a planning tool, but planning is an undocumented non-linear multi-variable process when you break it down, so developing a tool to map this is anything but trivial. However, like anything else, you spend a long enough time period learning something with intense effort, you will become damn good at it, and I think this is where our breakthrough will finally shine in Shizzlr 2.0

I can’t wait to launch Shizzlr 2.0 in a couple weeks, and to see how great we can make this in 2012.