Bringing social networks into real life

Cover Image for Bringing social networks into real life
Morten Just

If you think about your life, your partner, your friends, your job, the place your live. How many of those happened more or less randomly, bumping into the right person at the right time and place?

To me, it's almost all of it. Self-help gurus will tell you to prepare your self for luck, then you will be lucky. So how do you do that?

Imagine a world where you walk into a room and instantly know who everyone is, who your common friends are, what interests you share?

This world already exists. And it has been steadily growing since the 90ies when all of a sudden you could go online and read someone's blog. Twitter, MySpace, Facebook came along, and supercharged that serendipity.

But in the real world? Not so much. The closest we get is wearing a name tag at a conference.

The startup

So Claus, Nikolaj and myself wanted to see if we could bridge the virtual world with the real world. Bluetooth was charging ahead, "almost 60% of all phones support it." We wanted to see if we could amplify serendipity.

Let's take a look. Here's a book reading, like you'd experience it.

Some of the people here have Imity running on their phones.

And if you open your phone, you'll see who's here, and even start a chat with everyone in the room.

And the next day, here's what you'd see on the web.

So, did it work?

Kind of. It was 2006, the iPhone was still just a lunchbox-sized prototype somewhere in Cupertino, and all we had was big, bulky feature phones with physical keyboards, T9 dictionaries, and tiny, low-resolution screens. But we launched it anyway, and started experiencing this weird new layer on reality.

By today's standards for privacy, Imity wold look pretty scary. But at the time, social networks were just people hanging out and having fun. None of the networks made any money, and weren't even trying.

We didn't get to that point either. About a year into the project we sold the company to ZYB, which sold to Vodafone shortly after.

imity general presentation - smallup.pdf
Shared with Dropbox

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