Here are some pics from a party we had with some family, friends, partners, and associates:
We're going to be hanging out at The Mighty this Wedneday night Oct 18 if any of you want to come hang and talk shop and enjoy the fine music of El Desayuno. We have a private event that starts at 6pm, but the general public (not the band) is welcome after 730pm. If any Bay Area Jangl beta users want to come to the private event, we have a couple seats available, so Jangl Me if you're interested.
I returned from Europe this weekend, where I attended and presented at Etre. I did a corporate presentation which was fun, and ended up meeting lots of good people afterward. But then I was added to the VoIP panel which consisted of JaJah, Rebtel, Truphone and Wicom. Going into it I was excited to be the only company that wasn't pitching cheap/free long distance calling - a value proposition from VoIP 1.0. VoIP 1.0 having been delivered by companies like Skype, Vonage, et al. I've always been more than excited to pitch the notion that the masses will adopt VoIP only when the following apply:
a) there's not hardware or software download for the consumer
b) the value proposition applies to any phone (not just a computer softphone, not just a VoIP phone attached to a broadband connection)
c) when it's about lifestyle based utility - NOT long distance savings
d) when it's agnostic to the carrier, the handset and the access method
Although when the panel got going I realized that since we were in Europe, and since most attendees seemed to live in Europe, the long distance savings thing was quite alive and kicking. This rang true by the nature of the audience questions. Obviously you can't pay a $20 AT&T long distance fee and span 2800 miles for unlimited long distance for calls there like you can in the U.S. That all said, my whole point has been that the masses won't adopt VoIP services unless/until it's so bloody easy for them and has some kind of new utility/value. I stand by that. I'd be interested in seeing the same panel at a place like CES.
Early this morning I found myself jetlagged and working (at around 2am local time) in Barcelona, where I have a speaking oppportunity at Etre 2006. I left the hotel business center where I was working on my slide deck-something I tend to obsess over, only to stop by the bar on my way back to my room. I guess bars here don't necessarily close at 2am like at home. So I stopped in, and ended up chatting it up with some people from all over Europe. The first person I talked to approached me because I had on a JDUB Records t-shirt, which is the label Matisyahu was on when I bought his first record. I ended up buying a round of drinks before too long, chalking it up to an international focus group. (I lived in Europe for a while as a kid, but that was before mobile phones and social networking, so my senses around European usage in those areas is only around current education). Anyhow, the big take away was that given there is so much SMS usage here, that Jangl would be used more for SMS than talking. We've always thought this to be the case, but at least among my informal bar room focus group, it was validated. The other take away was that it would be used just as much by business people as socialites. That was an interesting data point I didn't expect-but these people were business people so there ya go.
I'm headed to the gothic quarter today, so I'll see if I can do some more digging among locals. I tend to confuse people here because my name is Spanish (Cerda), yet I'm American, yet speak Spanish with a Mexican slang. Go figure.
Regardless of how pumped up I get about a European Jangl, we're focused on the U.S. right now. We will expand more than likely via partnership opportunities. I've learned that when walking before running, it makes for a better stride.
(Brief shout out to the Canadians trying to use beta now-folks we don't work there yet, which is why your numbers aren't getting verified. We'll let you know when we expand into .ca.).
Alec talks about "Voice 2.0", something similar to our "Phone 2.0". Our primary distinction being that we're looking beyond voice, to other modes supported by phones, i.e. SMS, MMS, etc. Other than that, we see the world the same way Alec does for the most part. The prerequisites for being in this Phone 2.0 space:
-Carrier, device, and access agnostic
-No headset required
-No client SW or HW required
-No jacket required (jk)
I enthusiastically posted a comment to Alec's blog:
"I couldn't agree more with this post. You're right, it's all about the customer. And Ken's right, people don't want yet another phone number (and I say they don't want yet another voice mail box either). The reality is, among all the Voice 2.0 companies, everyone is choosing their beach head. Some are modernizing smart number services, some are doing find me/follow me, some are doing long distance arbitrage, some are doing asynch messaging, some are doing group messaging, some are doing free voice mail boxes, and some are doing control and private identity stuff (that's us). Some will get more traction than others, and those lucky ones will have an opportunity to perform their follow on act to their respective visions. Among those, as long as everyone keeps in tact the notion of being carrier agnostic, access agnostic, and device agnostic, we're going to have a very interesting dynamic in the market place. We'll ultimately learn what consumers want, and in what order. Some things will make better sense to consumers than others. Some companies will innovate better for consumers than others. Some may win the hearts of millions of users, some will power partners, some may consolidate and some may fail. To that latter point, time is on our side, so we're all better off pushing our agendas now than we would have been in prior times. Hang on everybody."