Lately I’ve been on a bit of a negative nancy streak. I suppose four months into tech reporting, pitches start to blur together, PR people feel like professional stalkers, and you just get a little tired of hearing “disruptive this” and “innovative that.”
I’ve not been particularly nice about ho-hum but effective products that probably would’ve gotten me all excited when I first started at Pando, like the humble, pretty presentation software Haiku Deck or the nagging smart water meter. I suppose I’m going through my Eyeore evaluation phase of Silicon Valley, getting harder on startups.
Amid this downtrodden trend, I came across a company that I’m actually inspired to write about. I tell everyone I meet about it, and I’m praying it attracts the seed investment it needs to stave off extinction.
It’s called Tame.it and it has the potential to make our lives much easier. Here’s how it works. Tame.it scans your Twitter feed for everyone you follow and creates three columns. Each has the top ten Twitter users mentioned the most often on your feed, the top ten links that everyone you follow is sharing, and top ten hashtags that everyone you follow is using.
It’s sort of like Twitters’ trending hashtag section, but personalized to the people you follow.
You can ask for the top ten in each category from the last hour, last six hours, 12 or 24 hours, or switch to days, and analyze the last day, two days, three days, all the way up to a week. Every time you reset the timing, the lists load with the new information about what was most discussed in that timeframe.
Plus, you can also access these three columns of information for your specific lists. If you wanted to see top links, hashtags, and mentioned users for just the people you follow in your “edtech” list, hypothetically, it will load that for you.
“You know immediately if something new is happening,” co-founder Frederik Fischer says. “You haven’t seen the hashtag before.”
How has this product not been invented yet? It’s ah-maze-balls. Since interviewing the Fischer last week, Tame.it is a tab that’s constantly up on my browser alongside Gmail and Yammer.
My problem with Twitter has always been my pesky FOMO — Fear of Missing Out syndrome. I’m tempted to skim my feed every 30 minutes to make sure I’m not missing anything if major news breaks or Paul Carr starts an epic Twitter battle. Unfortunately, deadlines and my generally miserable schedule are not conducive to obsessive Twitter reading. And yet, being a reporter requires me to stay up the latest news and information, plenty of which breaks (or is created on social media).
That’s why I am deep like with Tame.it, which handles the aggregating for me.
Unfortunately for the founders of Tame.it, they’re newbs to the whole Silicon Valley thing. They’re Germans from a journalism background, who got a public grant and a crowd funded loan to hire a team of nine to build their initial product. It’s in beta now, but it’s beautiful and mostly functional, with just a few bugs (like clicking a button and having nothing load so having to refresh).
As outsiders, they’re scrambling to raise money and are in the final countdown. Their visas only last a few months at a time, and they haven’t been able to raise funds from risk-averse German VCs who mostly choose to invest in proven e-commerce models. They’re running out of money with a staff of 10, and the stakes, at least for them, couldn’t be higher.
One thing the site may have going against it has nothing to do with its offering. It’s how it could make money, although plenty of companies have gotten funded without a clear monetization scheme. Its layout doesn’t lend itself well to “promoted hashtags,” tweets, or ads the way Twitter does. After all, you go to Tame.it to cut through the Tlutter, er, clutter, and find the most important information fast. Maybe, Fischer says, Tame.it could adopt a freemium model. Another potential snag: It could easily be replicated. Some bigger player could create an add-on service that does what Tame.it is doing.
Still, I for one would like to see these guys get their business off the ground No excuse me while I jump back into my Twitter feed to see what I just missed. What? PandoDaily announced earlier today that it has acquired NSFW? Thank goodness I have Tame.it or I might have missed it. (Not really, but you get my drift.)