what i liked at techcrunch50: fitbit, grockit, goodguide, and peter thiel
I didn’t watch every presentation. I probably saw 10 in person and streamed another dozen or so from home. I also didn’t pay to attend the conference. I volunteered for free admission, which meant showing up for a couple hours on Sunday to chat with the organizers beforehand, then showing up early Monday morning to help get people to their destinations. A couple of those people I guided I didn’t mind getting up early to meet: James Currier (I’ve written about him before) and Michael Arrington. During that 10-second conversation with Mr. Arrington, I felt almost as if I was speaking to the most influential blogger about technology startup companies of our day, if you can even grasp what that means. =)
Since I was given the gift of free techcrunch, I thought the least I could do was give back just a bit with my opinions of companies I learned of that you actually might care to know about.
Each link goes straight to their tc50 presentation video, which is a pretty painless way to learn more, if you’re interested.
Fitbit. These guys were one of 5 runners up, as were my next two highlights. They’ve basically got a device about the size of a usb flash drive that you clip on your clothes and wear all day, every day, if you feel like it. Using some sensors (accelorometer-type, not gps-type yet), it measures your movements and records your level of activity throughout the day and night. It automagially uploads the data through a wireless base station in your home to their servers. Anytime you want, you get on their website and see how many calories you’ve been burning, what your activity level has been like, what your sleep patterns have been like, in as much or as little detail as you like in very pretty charts. There’s a tremendous amount more it’s capable of, in fact–watch the video if that sounds cool. It’s a one-time $99 purchase. [sorry, realized they don't have a video available. their website is fitbit.com]
Grockit. I’m not quite sold on using it myself yet, but they’ve made an incredible step forward in collaborative learning online. Study for the GMAT with your friends, or with any number of people you’ll meet on the site.
Goodguide. This is something I’ve been waiting for for a while now. And these guys have seriously nailed it, it appears so far. It’s an online guide and repository for health, environmental, and social impacts of consumer goods. Their first focus is “personal care and household chemical” products, and already I’ve used it to decide I need to switch from Coppertone’s Sport Lotion to its Sport Gel sunscreen. You’d be surprised at the tremendous difference between the two in terms of health risks.
Michael Arrington chats with Peter Thiel. Great thoughts from Peter Thiel of paypal, facebook, slide, founders fund, and many more on technology trends, bubbles, and how much vc-backed startup ceos should get paid, based on analyzing the performance of past startups (his opinion, to break the suspense: 100k-150k).
Bonus: Tonchidot. Not a company I would recommend investing in if you’re an investor reading this, but a video demonstration definitely worth watching, just to see what someone has been able to do with an iphone. They overlay data from the internet on live video of the real world through your iphone. You’ll have to watch it.