It's that time of year again; where we look back fondly upon the year that was and look forward longingly to the year that will be. It's a time of introspection and planning, and one filled with promise. In case you can't quite tell; I actually like the holidays!
To that end, I decided this final Digital Influentials column of the year would be a recap of some of the best and most interesting companies we've uncovered over the last year or so. It's hard to sift through the last 52 weeks of discovery and find the best of the best. One criteria I used was to re-highlight some of the companies we found of interest who DIDN'T get bought this year. The funny thing is when I reviewed the last 15 or so columns, about 40% of the companies we uncovered have already been purchased by other companies. I think this could be a business in and of itself! It's highlighting the cream of the crop for your investment interests! J
So let's move on with it shall we? Here's our recap of some of the most fun, interesting, innovative we uncovered this year!!
Let's start with shopping, which is certainly in line with the holidays. Check out MILO (http://milo.com/). Milo is a real-time shopping search engine that finds you what you want close to where you are. Just type in what you're looking for and your address and it checks the current local store inventory systems to see what your local stores have in stock. From gym bags to LED TV's you can find where to buy locally!
Speaking of shopping, why not shop for a cause with WORLD OF GOOD (http://worldofgood.ebay.com/), as delivered to you by eBay. If you use World of Good to shop for products they will guarantee you find the most eco-friendly, ethically sourced items and thereby drive positive global trade. No tariffs or taxes; just people creating things for other people. My favorite item thus far is the solar-powered flashlight. The idea is great; use the sun to charge the batteries and your flashlight will run all night.
Maybe your gift this year was fund-raising (ahhh, the gift of money). If you want to raise money and donate it to a worthwhile cause, then try using CREATE A FUND (http://www.createafund.com/index.php?route=home). They offer a simple way to crowd-fund an idea or an organization. Individuals can donate $25 or more and the aggregate can really be quite large! The masses have the money, so let them put it to good use!
If you're searching for funding and you've got an interesting idea, check out KICKSTARTER (http://www.kickstarter.com/). KickStarter is a newish player in the crowd-funding category (people funding good ideas), but their spin is a little more user-friendly and it seems to be working. The site features artists, entrepreneurs, technologists and even fashion designers looking to make a break! It's worth checking out – they can help make dreams come true for lots of people!
If you like the idea of a "personal shopper" for the holidays then you'll love SHOP IT TO ME (http://www.shopittome.com). Just enter your favorite designer's, your size, and the service will rummage through the web, uncovering sales and sites that have what you might want. It makes recommendations and facilitates your buying! Pretty influential, isn't it?
Maybe you just like food? Sometimes the best place for foodies online is where they can check out the best pictures of food, so when you're finished perusing your food porn with Flickr and PhotoBucket, check out PINTEREST (http://pinterest.com/). Pinterest is a social image-tagging site that allows users to "pin" a picture from any page of the web to their pinboard. Some of the most beautiful pages are the ones dedicated to food. Check out the pictures of cupcakes and pasta dishes and you'll leave with your mouth watering and your eyes drooling (yes – I got that backwards on purpose).
Maybe you own a new up and coming social media tool and you're looking for VC funding? Then review VENTUREMAPS (http://venturemaps.co/). VentureMaps allows you to uncover the investors in your area, or other areas of the US. You can get right down to the name of the people that you should be pinging, and it's an interesting way to do so. Consider this a VC-stalker-starter!
If you love social media, check out COLLECTA (http://www.collecta.com/). Collecta came on the scene just last year, but it seems to be making quite an impact. Collecta presents a collection of recent, real-time search results that helps you see what's going on right now. Type in any of the names for your favorite pop culture icons and see what's being said about them right now! It's "Human Nature" in action.
As far as iPhones and iPads go… the best by far this year was FLIPBOARD. Lots of other folks have come to play, but these guys are doing something truly unique.
With that, I wish you a happy holiday season! May it be filled with happiness and kindness… and innovative ideas for us to write about it 2011!
Thanks for reading!!
Cory Treffiletti is President and Managing Partner for Catalyst SF. Cory has been a thought leader in interactive marketing and advertising since 1995. Cory can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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