December 7, 2005

CN Alumni startup Renkoo praised in SJ Merc

Event Driven Architectures, The Now Economy By: ams

Congrats! – an amazing mention for a pre-release service… Looks like the buzz campaign is working well for Adam and Joyce, and a tip of the hat to the whole Renkoo team for making such a polished impression on no less than Mike Langberg.

InternetNews also covered the demo, with a zinger from Esthr at the end.


Online software, services taking new look at how we manage time

By Mike Langberg, Mercury News
Wed, Dec. 07, 2005

… Of the several start-ups presenting at When 2.0, my favorite was Renkoo.

The Palo Alto company plans to launch an online service early next year that will provide a shared space for small groups to plan events.

If you want to invite a list of friends to a party with a fixed time and place, it’s easy to use the existing Evite service. But Evite doesn’t work well when you’re not sure what you want to do, or what your friends prefer.

With Renkoo, you can send a query by e-mail, instant message or cell-phone text message, perhaps asking, “Who wants to go for a hike this weekend? What’s the best time for you, and where do you want go?”

Your friends then reply with their preferences, and the group goes back and forth — with the dialogue recorded on a single Web page — until there’s a consensus.

Renkoo, named for a form of Japanese poetry called renku or renga where people take turns writing verses, will be free to users and hopes to make money through ads and sponsorships.

Adam Rifkin, Renkoo’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said he aims to solve a basic problem: “You can never get enough information on what your friends are doing.”

While it’s much too soon to know whether Renkoo or any of the other bold proposals at When 2.0 will succeed, the vision at least is clear.

In a few years, we’ll effortlessly manage our time by entering appointments on whatever Internet-connected electronic device is at hand — a computer or a cell phone or a personal digital assistant — and those appointments will instantly appear on the calendars of others we designate.

If we change the time of an appointment, it will instantly update the calendars of others.

Public and group events we want to track, from upcoming rock concerts and professional hockey games to our children’s soccer team schedules, will automatically pop into our calendars.

There are lots of technical, security and privacy issues yet to resolve, but the benefits are big enough that families may ultimately be freed from running their lives through scraps of paper stuck to refrigerator doors.


Has Time’s Time Come?

By David Needle

Rather than manage events already planned, Renkoo focuses on making events happen. “We bring friends together in the process,” CEO Adam Rifkin told internetnews.com.

He said services like Evite are for larger group functions that already have a fixed time and place. With Renkoo there is, among other features, a real-time voting mechanism, so people can decide on a time for lunch, movie or other gathering. The original planner can decide when to rein in the votes and chatter in order to set the details of where and when. Renkoo also accepts SMS text messaging, and it’s experimenting with links to instant messaging services as part of the site.

While many of the vendors were optimistic that they could break new ground on the consumer side, at least one attendee was skeptical.

“These things are great if you’re an extrovert,” said Chris Nesladek, a user interface designer for Intuit. “But you’re only organized if you have responsibility. For a lot of 18- to 24-year-olds, having a calendar or updating your schedule doesn’t matter.

For young and old alike, Dyson had this comment worth considering in a recent edition of her Release 1.0 newsletter: “You can’t create time. You can only steal it, reallocate it, use it or waste it.”

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