Launch Conference: Session Four [Paul and Sarah's Live Blog]

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on March 7, 2012

From The News Desk

Okay, here we go with Session Four. We're both blogging this time. Live blog below. Keep refreshing.

Benetracker: Opened their presentation by asking: "Raise your hand if you've ever had a loved one pass away. Now raise your hand if that was a pleasant experience." I mean, seriously. I'm just quoting from this one...

"Frank has a sense of peace come over him when he uses this service."

Sarah says: As I understand it, this helps notify beneficiaries when someone passes away and they're owed money. It may be a necessary service, but it's just a grizzly pitch. That's going to be hard to sell. It's just not something people want to sign up for. Didn't help that they said they "look forward" to having us all as customers. Um, I'm not.

Paul says: Why are they asking about whether this would be expensive to subscribe to for 40 years? This company will not be around in 40 years. None of these bullshit death-locker type things will be.

* * * *

Storybricks: Create your own point-and-click adventure game. Create characters, build a story, all that jazz.

Sarah: I like that "a zombie" is an emotional characteristic in this game. Sometimes I am happy. Sometimes I am sad. Sometimes I am.... a zombie? I could see my nephew loving this. I don't know enough about gaming to know how unique this is.

Paul: I think it's good that they're respecting the cultural differences between 18th century Russia and Middle Earth. "High school kids would shit their pants over this." <- Definitely a risk factor. Also, did he just say "people with Aspergers don't understand how real people work"?

* * *

Zabbi: Avatar based-twitter for kids.

Paul: Oh! We totally met these guys!

Sarah: I didn't like this demo. Sounded like it was aimed at Eli, not at adults. The Doodlebops of demos today. Trouble with something like this is I'm not the demographic and most of our readers aren't either. I don't get why it's a company and not a feature.

Wow. Dave McClure is going insane. F-bombs everywhere. Doesn't believe what the company is claiming and says it doesn't even deserve the "feature not a company" feedback. Ouch.

Paul: Dave McClure called them out on their numbers (albeit passionately) and they told him to "calm down". That's probably not a good idea. Not least because he's right.

* * * *

Copper: Allows you to install a button to get "tips" from Web users. It's aimed at musicians or content authors on blogs and sites like YouTube. Once you tip $10 it asks you for a credit card. They charge a 10% fee for processing.

Sarah: I'm unclear on a lot of details here. Who installs the buttons? Also, security concerns? Figuring out who owns the content and who exactly you want to tip? I.e. can I tip the author? The photographer who shot the art that went with the story? The artist? Guy who shot the music video? And how do they get them the money? Seems like they need more than 10% to execute. One of the judges brought up that the emails saying "You've got a tip on copper!" might seem like phishing or a 419 scam.

Also, the presenter is way too glib. He acts like all of these things should be totally intuitive. Meanwhile the judges all seem confused.

Paul: He is glib. In fairness, his girl just left him and took his dog and his truck.

* * * *

Wanderfly: Travel recommendation and aggregation.

Paul: Didn't we already solve this problem?

Sarah: It's not solved. But I'm not sure this is the solution. I like Trippy better. It's not that Wanderfly is bad, I'm just not sure it does enough to make me use it.

Related: Companies keep openly pimping for money on stage. I think that's a little unseemly. If an investor is in the audience and wants to invest, they'll get in touch. Meanwhile you are just telegraphing that you need some, which is a turn off. Play a little hard to get.

* * * *

Moosify: Turn anything into a moose. meets Spotify.

Paul: I feel like I'm back at school, learning German vocab again. I dunno, I'm not good at judging dating apps -- they all just sound fucking creepy.

Sarah: I love that Jason just bullied the presenters into showing their "confidential" Spotify app. Yeah, I agree with Paul. As a woman, I don't like more apps to allow people to creepily hit on you. I get where they are coming from, but a company?

Paul: I just reported Moosly on

* * * *

The Complete Me: Oh good, another dating app. This is (from a guy who worked at Match) attached to your social graph.

Paul: So, you can stalk someone's entire social life before you ever communicate. It's just creepy as all hell.

Sarah: I don't like this for a lot of reasons. For one thing, I just think online dating isn't as relevant a category as it used to be. I have argued this a lot, including at the first TC40 when WooMe presented. I also hate the Klout score-aspect. It's already a stretch to assign a number to someone based on influence. But assigning a number based on romance is meaningless and silly. It tries too hard to automate something that can't be automated. (Also slightly creepy that the guy doing the demo had MARRIED stamped across his platform as he was trolling for girls...)

Only thing I did like was that it was on top of various social media sites, so it's a more efficient online dating platform.

Overall, I liked Storybricks the best of this panel. Paul?

Paul: I liked Storybricks the best too.

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