If the words “favorite” and “daily email” can actually co-exist, Timehop has cracked the code. The startup’s messages are a digest of Foursquare checkins and tweets from this day one year ago. Opening them can be emotional, hilarious and, for those of us who are getting old, surprising.
Now at SXSW, the New York company has kicked things off with a few equally fun exhibits. Yesterday the company’s founders rolled up in a Delorean, which remains parked outside the convention center even now. It was all wet and the dude who built and owns it wasn’t very friendly, but it was definitely awesome.
And since SXSW is such a check-in and Tweet-heavy week, Timehop is making memories of last year’s comings, goings and comments available to you in real time via text message. They’re calling it MarioCart Ghost mode, after the part in the Nintendo game where a ghost from your last lap races you around the track. Sign up for that here.
Timehop is also adding a location-based element to ghost mode, where you’ll see how far you are from where you were a year ago. Oh, memories.
Lastly, the company, which has Foursquare ties from both its incarnation and via its investors, will be at the Foursquare lot Sunday for some analog timehopping. The company will hand out postcards that you can fill out to have sent to One Year From Now You. That is, if you don’t move, and if Timehop manages not to lose all the postcards.
Timehop started at a Foursquare hackathon as 4Squareand7YearsAgo. This year it raised $1.1 million led by OATV with support from Spark Capital, TechStars, Foursquarers Dennis Crowley Naveen Selvadurai, and Alex Rainert, as well as Steve Martocci, Jared Hecht, Rick Webb and Kevin Slavin.
A big theme I’ve encountered here at SXSW is one of delightfulness. It’s not a new concept, but it’s a prevalent among the latest class of Internet darlings. Pinterest, Fab, Instagram and Path all have a focus on “delighting.”
That Timehop’s emails are delightful to open is a no-brainer. Who doesn’t love nostalgia and personal history? It’s a digital scrapbook that you put no extra work into. And what’s one of the first things people say they’d save in a fire after humans and pets? It’s scrapbooks and photo albums. It’s definitely not problem solving tools.
However, thus far, my Timehops have mostly reminded me that, this time last year, I hit the gym more than I have been lately. Not exactly delightful, but a nice little reminder nonetheless. If you ask me, this service makes Foursquare more relevant. I check in more now so I can have a record of what I did, rather than to tell my friends where I am.