I was sworn to secrecy about what we were doing in Paris last December. You thought I was there to attend and speak at the LeWeb conference. I was. But we also were testing out Dave Sifry’s new business idea, which he now calls Offbeat Guides. Several people have blogged about them overnight. TechCrunch has a further writeup about the guides.
So, what is it? It’s a paper book. Horrors! Paper? Travel guides? How old school. Heheh.
But, from the moment I saw it I wanted it. Why? It was a paper guide customized to Dave’s agenda. His hotel was right on the cover. Inside everything he needed to know was there. His schedule. The restaurants within walking distance of his hotel (and other ones he wanted to visit). Weather. Transit stations. A list of cool tourist destinations we wanted to get to, and info that he needed to know about them. (When we tested his guide out we were standing in front of the Louvre in Paris).
Even things like key phrases in the language of the region (good for finding a bathroom, or buying a beer), plus exchange rates, tipping guides, that kind of thing.
But why are these so great? Because they are up to date to when you actually travel.
Think about if you are in San Francisco this afternoon as a tourist. Your regular tourist guide has no idea what’s on Upcoming.org, but imagine you are right now looking for something fun to do and you’ve already been to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Why not come to the Cupcake Camp this afternoon? If you had Offbeat Guides, you’d have your favorite events listed inside.
I travel a lot and this kind of guide is very helpful. Why paper? It’s a good backup. I have all my travel information stuck inside my computer, but what if my computer dies, or is stolen, or has a dead battery? Plus, I don’t always want to carry my geek devices everywhere, particularly when I’m on vacation and trying to get away from it all.
Brilliant idea. Can’t wait to use it on my next major trip to an unfamiliar place (which will be to Washington DC on June 22).
Thanks Dave for giving me an early look last December. In the photo that I shot in Paris’ shopping district that’s Dave Sifry with Doc Searls (co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto) and Christian Lindholm (one of the key guys behind the Nokia Series 60 phone). Our little tour was a lot more fun thanks to Dave’s new idea.