April 11, 2012
For my recent vacation in Hawaii (yes, it was awesome – yes, I suck), I carted along 5 books and 1 magazine the size of a phone book (and yes, I read them all). I am a tactile person. I like to hold stuff, write with pen and paper, dog ear pages in books, clip interesting articles to file and keep on hand for reference – I am very old school like that, even if it adds 10 lbs to my carry-on.
However, now that I have learned a lot about Springpad and their 3.0 version that launches today, I might be convinced to start going digital here and there. If you are not familiar with Springpad, think Evernote or Pinterest, but much better. It is a “smart” notebook app that that goes beyond discovery, saving, and sharing, because it turns your interests into actions, whether it’s places, products, movies, books, recipes, tasks or notes. By “actions,” I mean the platform automatically provides you with relevant information about everything you add to your notebook – think alerts, offers, prices – to save you time and money.
Though Springpad was a showcased startup at our #StartupLife Celebration at SXSW last month, I caught up with their CMO, Jeff Janer, recently to learn more about how Springpad is turning social discovery on its head and what’s new in V3.0. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Tech Cocktail: There are so many social discovery tools out there – where did the idea for Springpad come from?
Jeff Janer: We actually started out as a personal ‘save anything you want to remember' service focused on making it quick and easy to save ideas and information that you come across from the web or on the go. The idea came from two major trends we observed: the real-time web’s exponentially expanding stream of information and recommendations and the rapid proliferation of multiple devices that people use on a daily basis – both of which have made our lives increasingly noisy. The opportunity was not only to create a cloud based repository for people to save and organize their interests, but also to help them out with enhanced information and alerts specific to what they've saved when they're ready to act. Our vision is to bridge the gap between discovery and action to benefit both consumers and brands.
Tech Cocktail: How have brands embraced the concept?
Janer: To date, we've been primarily focused on growing our user base – which now totals more than 3 million – and helping them save, organize and act on their interests. However, brands have started to take notice that our users have ‘raised their hands' and overtly signaled their interest and intent for their products and services. What's particularly interesting to the brand is that not only is the user signaling intent, but our semantic technology platform enables brands to target the ‘data' (products, places, books, movies, recipes, etc.) with relevant news, updates and offers long after the user expressed interest.
Tech Cocktail: Pinterest has turned into a free-for-all for brands, so how do you balance brand advertising/promotions to keep it useful and relevant rather than intrusive?
Janer: Earning and maintaining the trust of users is paramount for Springpad. To this end, we only provide useful, timely and relevant news, updates and offers specific to users' interests. For example, if a user saves a Sony television, we only show them reviews, price comparison, price drops and manufacturer and retailer offers specific to that product.
Tech Cocktail: What is different in version 3.0?
Janer: The completely redesigned Springpad 3.0 now allows users to share their notebooks, discover ideas and information from those they trust, and more easily turn their interests into action. It lets users easily find and follow interesting notebooks from others in the Springpad community. And it makes sharing meaningful in any context, from collaborating with co-workers to planning a trip with friends or sharing a grocery list with family members. In short, the re-designed experience takes the intelligence of our platform and combines it with the knowledge of our community.
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