Archive for the 'Social networks' Category

Launch Silicon Valley 2008: Introducing GlocalReach

June 10, 2008

As Nicolai mentioned we’re presenting our company at the Launch Silicon Valley 2008 event in San Francisco today.

GlocalReach has been selected as one of 30 out of 266 applicants. We’re really proud to be one of the select few as there are some other startups with really exciting products in the group!

If you want to get to know us a bit better you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few blog posts you can read that tells our story.

First out is Nicolai Wadstrom, one of our co-founders and the chairman of our board, presenting himself:

I am an serial Entrepreneur, I am 35 years of age, and have been starting companies for the past 12 years, ranging from consulting companies, software companies, media companies, computer games and internet companies.

We’re building services for reach management. Managing how people reach you, that’s the core of our services. Since people today use many different ways of reaching each other it’s important to understand how the communication protocol is part of the message itself. Another important aspect of any communication technology is its emotional bandwidth.

As the price of voice communication (telephony) goes down, VoIP spam (SPIT) will be an increasing problem. Read how researcher Daniel Putz investigated different strategies for preventing SPIT here.

What about social networks? Well, our first service, ReachCards, is not a social network. At least not like Facebook, Myspace and the other giants. We believe in social slicing, being part of many social networks based on interest and social context. So, we looked at how research in evolutionary psychology points to what is commonly called Dunbar numbers. One important Dunbar number is 150, that’s the average circle of friends a person has:

The existing social networking sites and somewhat older social tools such as the address book in your mobile phone does a pretty good job of managing these 150 people. With GlocalReach, we’re trying to build the tools necessary for the outer circles, beyond the Dunbar number.

At these circles, people know you more by a role you have or a category of people you belong to. They might know you as a politician, a programmer, a neighbor, a nurse or a blogger. If you have a slashed career people will know you by many labels and roles. GlocalReach will help you manage these roles and how people reach you from the outskirts of the social whirl. That’s our place in the social network universe.

Speaking of cards, the business card is the traditional way of doing an “add to friends” in your social network. We know what adding a friend to Facebook means – the implications of doing it are built in to the service, but what does it mean when I give you my business card? What do I commit to? What do you as a receiver commit to? Here are some thoughts on the subject.

That’s a few of the things that has kept us busy the last year. Follow this blog to keep yourself updated as we move forward towards the goal of helping people manage how, when and why they can be reached.

Erik Starck
Managing Director, Co-founder GlocalReach

Advertisements

My name is Erik and I am an addict

May 8, 2008

Yes, I admit. I have an addiction.

I don’t think it’s harmful. In fact, it might even be beneficial to me. But it takes up a lot of my time, almost the entire day.

I think I started to develop the addiction about 12-13 years ago, but it wasn’t until maybe 4 or 5 years ago that it fully started to bloom.

So what kind of poisonous substance is it that I have let take control of my life?

No, it’s not something chemical and it’s no poison. The addiction is for ideas. Other people’s thoughts. Other people’s insights.

Bloglines, Google, Jaiku, Twitter, email, Twine, even good old fashioned books… they are the ones feeding me so that I can satisfy the addiction but they are not the producers, only the middle man.

No, the real source of my addiction is you, dear reader. It’s your thoughts, your ideas, your insights that keeps my addiction alive. I just can’t get enough of it. I want more, more, more!

My name is Erik. I am the CEO of GlocalReach and, yes, I am an addict.

And I love it!

Erik Starck
Managing Director, Co-founder

Social networking beyond the Dunbar number of 150

September 20, 2007

In a short time social networking tool Facebook has gathered 50% of the population between the age of 23-35 in Sweden as members. Impressive numbers, but Facebook is not the first social network site on the web and most likely not the last either. There’s hard competition between the MySpaces, Lunarstorms and LinkedIns of the web world. It seems like the popularity of social networking sites is like that of popular nightclubs. The cool places to be one year is not so cool anymore the year after. Friendster and Orkout knows about this all too well and Sweden-based Lunarstorm seems to be learning it as well.

Current hot-place-to-be Facebook also knows this and therefore calls themselves a “social networking utility“. A utility, a tool, is something you use to build things, so a social networking tool ought to be something you use to build social networks with. They have a somewhat open API, making them a kind of platform. Their strategy is to become the social networking operative system of the web. The Microsoft Windows of social networks. We’ll see if they make it.

So, is the market for social networking sites saturated? I don’t think so and the explanation for this also explains how GlocalReach will fit in to the social networking landscape.

Let me begin by drawing some circles:

Dunbar numbers

These circles represents circles of intimacy and is taken from the book Evolutionary Psychology by Robin Dunbar, Lousie Barrett and John Lycett. It’s called the social whirl. The number in each circle is the approximate number of people within that part of your social network. In the middle is you, followed by your family and very close friends (about 5 people). The next circle is your sympathy group, 12-15 people with whom you have a closer relationship.

The number 150 is often mentioned as the Dunbar number:

Dunbar’s number, which is 150, represents a theoretical maximum number of individuals with whom a set of people can maintain a social relationship, the kind of relationship that goes with knowing who each person is and how each person relates socially to every other person

In other words: it’s your circle of friends.

It’s people who knows you as an individual. You have a personal and explicit relationship to these people. Basically, it’s the people you have beer with.

Evolutionary psychology studies has shown that people are incapable of maintaining a close relationship with more than a 150 individuals at the time (although the number varies between persons, 150 is the average). If you meet new friends, some of your older friends that you don’t see very much anymore falls out of your 150 circle. (Don’t feel so bad about it, we’re only humans after all. You’re lucky not to be a chimpanzee. They have a Dunbar number of ~50.)

The existing social networking sites and somewhat older social tools such as the address book in your mobile phone does a pretty good job of managing these 150 people. With GlocalReach, we’re trying to build the tools necessary for the outer circles, beyond the Dunbar number.

At these circles, people know you more by a role you have or a category of people you belong to. They might know you as a politician, a programmer, a neighbor, a nurse or a blogger. If you have a slashed career people will know you by many labels and roles. GlocalReach will help you manage these roles and how people reach you from the outskirts of the social whirl. That’s our place in the social network universe.

I would have hoped to have our beta ready by now, but we have been rethinking some of the concepts, putting a stronger emphasis on the business card (or reachcard) as the center of the service, as your primary reach management tool. So, the beta will take a little bit longer. Sorry about that.

Meanwhile, give someone that has been falling out of your Dunbar circle a call. Reunite with old friends. Bring up some good old memories.

Real friendship, after all, doesn’t have a number.

Updated: here is a longer and much more insightful post on Dunbar numbers and social networks.

Updated 2: Thomas Vander Wal at the blog Personal Infocloud has an interesting post on Selective Sociality and Social Villages that touches the same subject.

I also updated the picture used in the post.

Erik Starck
Managing Director, Co-founder
GlocalReach