Wednesday 29 February 2012: #CCinSF - Day 3
The day started with a Skype call back home, to open my big present in the presence of my two lovely ladies. It was a Lonely Planet guide to Iceland, a clue to a trip Layla's booked for us all in April. I'm so pleased and excited; I've always wanted to go, but I'd never have got it together. That was quickly followed by 'Happy Birthday' sung at full volume by the full Blipcentral crew.
Heart warmed, it was downstairs to hook up with the rest of the Cross Creatives, then a quick stroll down Post Street to visit Beyond, our first meeting of the day. David Hargreaves and Matt Iliffe explained their unique approach to online marketing, which revolves around 'sentiment analysis'. They scrape social media, blogs and the wider web with a bunch of sophisticated tools to find out what people are saying about a particular topic, before working out how to build a marketing campaign which fits neatly around the existing conversation. Incredibly sophisticated and effective stuff I'm sure we'll see a lot more of in the future.
Second on the list was Storify, one of the companies I've been most excited about meeting. Burt Herman (pictured) honoured us with a couple of hours of his time, talking us through his background in journalism, hooking up with his co-founder and why they launched the product. The synergies with Blipfoto are immense, because we share a belief that there's just too much content created through social media for it to be really useful. We address that by limiting people to one photo a day, they address it though a tool anyone can use to build and curate sensible stories from the mass of social media.
Third was Launchpad Toys, a very small, young team who produce an incredibly slick iPad app called Toontastic. They're punching way above their weight and they've loads more on the way. If what we saw is anything to go by, they deserve to be super successful.
The final visit of the day and, sadly, the whole Cross Creative programme, was to Inkling. They have this huge, sprawling office in the city with 85 staff, and I was expecting to find they were a long-established digital publisher. But they're younger than the iPad, and (at least for the time being) depend entirely on that platform. Amazing.
If yesterday was a day of giants, today was a day full of start-up energy. Hugely driven people with great ideas making them happen. I'm proper full of that energy now, and you'd better watch out, because I'm bringing it home to Scotland.
But not before some posh birthday drinks and nosh with my fellow Cross Creatives.
Oh, and a little surprise extra visit I'm sloping off to on my own tomorrow afternoon...
I think I'm going to like being forty.