#45: Services for Digital Lifestyle

On Wednesday afternoon I spent a bunch of time with ePlatform’s CEO, Ramana Kovi. He called me up and told me that now that we’re interested in services that I might be interested in seeing what his team has been building for the past few years.

And, wow, does he have a ton of services. More than 70 at last count.

He’s run away from the Web 2.0 look that other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are going with, though. He’s built a services portal (he calls it an integrated digital lifestyle service) and made it look similar to Outlook 2003. Why do that? Cause he says he noticed that most of his target users use Outlook and in his testing they were more comfortable with a set of services that look like Microsoft’s offerings. Smart, although I think it could use some more polish.

It’s in alpha testing right now, he expects to release a beta within weeks. I’ll let you know when it’s out. I played with several of the services and they were well done. He tells me that his team has been working on this for years and has written about 20 million lines of .NET code to build this set of services and the host container for them.

Definitely another Silicon Valley company to watch.

#44: My business card starts conversations

I made some custom business cards and Lyndon of Laszlo was the first to upload it. It is a custom card done by Hugh Macleod. I’ve handed hundreds of them out in the past three weeks. Almost every time I hand it to someone they say “that’s cool.”

I often then get asked “how did you get that past the branding police?” Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. 😉

The story behind the card is that Hugh penned that for me over lunch at the Reboot conference. Thanks, Hugh! Yes, I tell people I’m on the HughTrain.

I highly believe a business card should start a conversation and be memorable. So many of the ones I get are boring. What are you doing to make your business card memorable? Other things I’ve done? Gotten my business cards punched in braille. Why is that good? It’s easy to find your card in your pocket cause it feels very distinctive. Another card I had was done in a distinctive rubbery material. Matt Mullenweg told me he wanted to use that material and couldn’t find it anywhere.

What things do you do with business cards?

#43: Ultimate Ears to visit Microsoft/Bellevue

Ken Levy invited the Ultimate Ears folks to Microsoft’s campus in Redmond tomorrow. They’ll also have an open-to-the-public meeting on Saturday. Ken’s blog has all the details.

These headphones are — by far — the best I’ve ever heard. If you travel a lot you should check them out. I’ve had babies crying next to me in the airplane and with these on you can hardly even hear them. Their top of the line pairs are very expensive at $900 (they are custom made for your ears specifically) but they have a new pair that Ken tells me are almost as good for less than 1/3 the price.

Anyway, you can always drop by and hang out with the geeks in the mall.