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Off To Cantaloupe Island We Go, But First…

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So I was listening to Ken BurnsHerbie Hancock while writing today, and ‘bout the time I was bopping to the tune, “Cantaloupe Island,” I went for a little jazz-fueled, improvisational cruise thinking about what I’d seen in startup land earlier… I wouldn’t believe me either. C’mon, man, I was thinking about vacation. OK, and startups, too.




A Gatherball Getaway

Still in beta, Gatherball is a website designed to streamline the process of group planning. This sounds like a fantastic idea, but you’ll have to ask my friends because I’ve never actually done the planning for any of our trips. I can’t coordinate my wardrobe much less lodging/transportation/activities–which probably explains why instead of sitting on an island, watching an unforgettable sunset, cocktail in hand, I’m thinking about taking a vacation at my desk, ALONE.




Gatherball declares itself the, “Antidote to Reply-All Planning.” I’m inclined to think they have the right medicine. Here’s who they have on their team: Paul Watts, CEO of Meevine, who previously worked with OneBusAway for Android, HTC, Wildseed and Microsoft; Jonathan Nelson and Ben Demboski, both of RealNetworks, AOL, and Wildseed.




And though I could really go for island hopping right now, I appreciate the patience these cats are demonstrating by taking the time to develop their product fully. The Gatherball blog announces that the team has recently added the ability for friends to invite friends into the planning–no more mystery guests turning up on the island. Should make a huge splash when it finally appears. I can almost hear the palm trees swaying.



I know, there’s still work to be done on the mainland. Work doesn’t have to be a drag though, right? Another beta startup to appear recently at the Tech Cocktail Seattle is PlayMySurvey. Users can play multiple games, interjected with survey questions. Do I hear the bell toll for those old school, tedious, need I add boring surveys?




If you’re like me, as soon as you hear the beginning of the question, “Do you have a moment to answer a few…” you immediately turn your brain into an armored van on the move that ain’t stoppin’ for nobody. No, sir, no coupon, sweepstake entry, appeal to civic virtue will tempt me into answering your dull questions. Would I undergo a change of heart if I could play a cool game?



PlayMySurvey bills itself as “…the most engaging way to create and take surveys.” I like video games as much as the next person, but the curmudgeon in me thinks they still have their work cut out for them. Still, I admire Co-founder Bhanu Mullapudi’s (former systems architect for Alaska Airlines) drive to wrestle the difficult problem of making surveys a pleasant experience.


Mr. Hancock, where will you take me next? Wherever it might be, I hope their will be daiquiris raised to these beta startups’ victories.


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