July 20th, 2007


Here we goooooo...

Finally -- after six months of discussion and development, I get to talk about what I'm doing again. Stealth mode is exciting, but it can get tiring after a while. But the website went live an hour or two ago, and we just had the company meeting to announce the official name change, so it's time to start down the fun side of the roller coaster.

So: Convoq has changed its name to Zingdom. Yes, it's an awfully Web 2.0 name, but it's easy to remember and (unlike Convoq) easy to spell. And we wound up with the shortest domain I've ever been in, zing.dm.

What's the product? The website gives the official view and a bunch of examples, but basically it's all about providing users with controllable ways to contact each other. The core notion is that people have lots of ways to contact each other (phone, IM, SMS, email, etc), but are understandably leery about simply posting their contact information online. We provide intermediary services so that people can use the communications devices they're used to, but do so privately, keeping control over their communication.

I suspect that some of the tech blogs are going to initially dismiss us as just another phone-anonymizing service (of which a bunch have popped up in recent months), but that misses the point of what's going on here. We're well ahead of the pack in a bunch of ways:
  • Unlike all the other services, we're explicitly multi-modal. We're supporting phone and AIM initially, with more to come soon.

  • The name of the game for us isn't just anonymity, it's control. So we provide things like scheduling capability: for instance, you can easily allow access to your business phone during work hours, and IM in the evening.

  • We really aren't selling just a single service, we're selling a platform. Our system was designed from the very beginning to be API-based, so we're set up to do all kinds of integrations quickly. (But we also have a really slick default UI.)

  • We're mainly focused on integrating with sites, providing them with ways to help their users communicate contextually, rather than mainly selling to end users. (Translation: we have a plausible business plan.) Yes, I'm afraid this means you can't just sign up, at least not yet.

  • Our name doesn't start with J. (Hey, after Jangl and Jaxtr, the company was unanimously agreed on this one.)
Of course, having revealed ourselves, things only get more interesting from here. We've got a lot of irons in the fire over the next couple of months, both in starting to integrate with partners and trying some cool new experiments of our own. We've only scratched the surface of this project so far: there's an amazing amount we can do with this platform, and it's time to kick the tires and have some fun...

Reminder: Spoiler warnings and cut tags

Just a gentle reminder to everyone that not all of us are going to read The Book in the first 24 hours. Personally, it's going to take a week or two -- having listened to Jim Dale tell the entire story so far, I'm going to stick with him for the last volume, and continue to "read" it on CD.

So please: keep in mind those of us who are going to take such a ridiculously long time to catch up on the cultural milestone of the day, and keep the spoilers behind cut tags...

Impressions of Potter (the movie, not the book)

In honor of Potter Night, msmemory and I went out to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. A few impressions follow -- no significant spoilers, but Collapse )
ETA: How could I forget the trailers?
  • "Get Smart" looks good -- Maxwell Smart may well be the role that Steve Carell was born to play.
  • "Enchanted" looks like it has real potential: a live-action movie with all the funny snark of Shrek, as Disney makes fun of themselves this time.
  • "Stardust" looks like it might just live up to the book: the trailer seriously kicks butt, and the cast is remarkable.
  • I haven't actually read "The Dark is Rising", but the trailer has potential, albeit in a pretty generic boy's-adventure coming-of-age hero's-journey kind of way.
  • And just to ensure that I don't have to see *every* fantasy movie, "Fred Claus" looks like the greatest waste of time to come down the pike in some while.