Congrats to my friends at Gist for being acquired by RIM.
I met TA McCann, the CEO / founder of Gist at the first Defrag Conference when he took me for a pair of runs along the Denver Creek Path and it’s been a blast to work with him and the Gist team ever since.
Also, congrats to RIM for picking up an awesome team that’s been thinking about and building software for the intersection of social and email since before talking about it was in vogue.
Gist just released their Chrome extension for Gist in Gmail. Chrome is my browser of choice for Gmail and I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release. It’s just awesome.
It’s tightly integrated with both consumer and enterprise Gmail. It’s fast, light weight, and takes advantage of the huge amount of data discovery that Gist does via the cloud (rather than in-browser).
It’s been really fun to watch my friends at Gist really come into their own in the past six month. With the release of Gist in Gmail on both Firefox and Chrome, along with the Gist Gadget for Google Apps, they’ve got Gmail now totally wired.
If you haven’t tried Gist, give it a shot. And if you are a Chrome and Gmail user, make sure you grab the Chrome extension.
Yesterday, Gist released their new Gist for Gmail Firefox plugin (the Chrome plugin will be out in two weeks). As a long time Gist user and investor, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this as it makes Gist available to anyone using Gmail (vs. previously just Google Apps users.)
Since I just finally completed my move over to Google Apps, I decided to start over with Gist (by resetting my account) and document the experience of getting it set up. Over the past year I’ve found Gist to be increasing indispensable to me and with the Gist for Gmail implementation, I think it’s in a position to become a critical use application for many people. If you haven’t tried it in a while, or have never tried it, give it a shout. Here’s how.
Five minutes from start to finish. Give Gist a try – feedback welcome!
I’m on a six week rhythm in Seattle for the three boards I’m on up here – Gist, BigDoor, and Impinj. While I don’t have them perfectly synced up, I’m hopeful that I will in 2011. In the mean time, today full of BigDoor and Gist.
It was an absurdly beautiful day in Seattle. When the sun is out, this place shines. The day started out at the new Founders Co-op office where BigDoor is located. It’s about 33% full but that’s going to change next week when TechStars Seattle begins and fills out the place. It’s great space, in a great location (near the new Amazon campus), and is covered with IdeaPaint.
Everything about the BigDoor meeting was great. It was a tight, focused two hours. Since we invested about six weeks ago, over 300 companies have signed up to try BigDoor’s system and I expect 10 will be in full production by the end of the month. If you are looking to add game mechanics to your site, it’s the easiest and fastest way to do it. They’ve just rolled out a new website that explains it, along with a refreshed / simple pricing model that is free up to 100k API calls / month. Oh, and they served sushi for lunch which just rocked.
I got a ride across town to Gist where we spent most of our time on the August and September product rhythms (Gist is now on a monthly product focus – everyone in the company focuses on one specific area of the product and the next two months are filled with goodness.) Gist has also refreshed their site – if you haven’t ever tried it or haven’t looked at it in a while, go give it a shot – it’s grown up nicely.
I’m off to LA for an Oblong board meeting tomorrow and lunch by their amazing in house chef followed by an appearance with Mark Suster on This Week in Venture Capital live at 2pm PST followed by some LaunchPad LA stuff that Mark has pulled together.
All of these companies are doing well so its a fun action packed two days on the east coast. And yes, I’m way over stimulated after a month in Homer with just Amy.
There are a lot of fun connections here for me. For starters, as many of you know, I’m an investor in Gist. If you haven’t tried it – or haven’t played with it for a while – give it a shot. The evolution of the product over the last six months has been remarkable as it gets better every two weeks (the Gist teams’ release cycle).
The iPhone app has been out for a while and is a killer. I’ve seen the Android app – it’s equally cool and useful. Each of them connect up to the Gist service that lives in the cloud and connects together all of your contact information, builds an implicit social network based on your email traffic and friends lists, and surfaces a variety of content (including news as well as real-time stuff) for your contacts.
Learn that Name was a Startup Weekend Seattle project from a few months ago. Andrew Hyde, who is the community manager for TechStars, created Startup Weekend and I attended the first one in Boulder. It has become an amazing worldwide phenomenon that is now run by Clint Nelsen and Marc Nager. So – that’s linkage two for me.
The idea for Learn that Name came from Eric Koester, a lawyer in Cooley’s Seattle office. Eric has been super helpful on the Startup Visa initiative as well, working on an ABA brief for us that will hopefully be officially approved soon. Who said that lawyers weren’t a force for good in the world? So – that’s linkage number three.
TechCrunch’s article gives a little more history on the deal and how the proceeds (yes – there are proceeds) are being split up among the team members that participated in the Startup Weekend project. I know that at the very first Startup Weekend that I attended in Boulder there was a hope that some of these projects would spin out and either get commercialized or acquired. I’m proud to be involved in one of the first ones to have this happen. Oh – and Learn that Name when played within Gist’s iPhone app is a lot of fun.
My long time friend Alan Shimel has been blogging up a storm on Network World (if you want to hear any amusing story, ask him about the first time he met me.) When Alan started writing his column for Network World he asked me for introductions to a bunch of our portfolio companies that were using open source. Alan is a tough critic and calls it like he sees it so while I knew there was no guarantee that he’d go easy on the companies, I knew that Alan would do an even handed job of highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. I also know that everyone I invest in values any kind of feedback – both good and bad – and they work especially hard to delight their customers so any kind of feedback will make them better.
Earlier today, Alan wrote an article on Standing Cloud titled Seeding the Cloud with Open Source, Standing Cloud Makes It Easy. On Monday, Standing Cloud released their first version of their product (called the Trial Edition) which is a free version that lets you install and work with around 30 open source products on five different cloud service providers. It’s the first step in a series of releases over the next two quarters that Standing Cloud has planned as they work create an environment where it is trivial to deploy and manage open source applications in the cloud. Alan played around with Standing Cloud’s Trial Edition, totally understood what they are doing, and explained why the Trial Edition is interesting and where Standing Cloud is heading when they release their Community Edition at the end of April.
Alan’s also written several other articles about companies in our portfolio recently, including the open source work Gist has been doing with Twitter and a great review of the Pogoplug and how it uses open source.
I believe I’m one of the people that inspired Alan to start blogging a number of years ago. Through his personal blog Ashimmy, the blog he writes for Network World titled Open Source Face and Fiction, and the blogging he does on security.exe (his company CISO Group’s blog), Alan is one of my must read technology bloggers. And he’s often funny as hell, especially when he gets riled up. Keep it up Alan!