Category: Corvallis

Strands announces Expensr acquisition, expanded recommending

moneyStrandsCorvallis-based Strands, the service that recommends things you might like based on your behavior, has announced the acquisition of Expensr, a move that takes its recommendation services beyond the realm of entertainment to personal finance.

Expensr will be brought into the Strands fold as moneyStrands, a personal money management solution based on Strands recommendation technology.

moneyStrands is an online money management solution that allows users to aggregate their online financial information in one place, providing them with an instant snapshot of all their finances. With moneyStrands, users can anonymously compare themselves to others with similar traits, such as demographics.

The move also allows Strands to more clearly define the areas into which they’re planning to introduce recommendations, like business recommendation solutions that help people find content on sites, social media recommendation solutions that use online behavior to make recommendations, and personal finance recommendation solutions that helps individuals take more control of personal finance decisions.

Rest assured, there are also some other interesting undercurrents here—that I’m not yet at liberty to disclose—that promise to cause some interesting ripples here in the Silicon Forest startup scene.

To register for an invitation to the private BETA, visit moneyStrands. For more information on the plans for the product, see the Strands blog post on the Expensr acquisition. For more on the company, I’d recommend (get it?) visiting Strands.

Our Strands: MyStrands rebrands as Strands

StrandsOur favorite Corvallis-based recommender solution, MyStrands, is now know as, simply, Strands. And the change carries with it a whole new look and feel.

Why the name change?

The word “strands” has a particular meaning for us: it represents the sequences of digital events that connect our lives. Strands’ mission is to help people discover new things. We do this by analyzing and understanding people’s tastes based on strands of sequences (links between digital items such as the songs found in a playlist, events in an activity stream or transactional data such as monthly purchases).

Silicon Florist: Job postings

I wanted to highlight some of the interesting (read “the only”) jobs that have been posted to the Silicon Florist gig board, this week.

  • Marshall Kirkpatrick is looking for freelance Web design talent
    “I’m looking to have a couple of people I can refer to consulting clients who need web design help. These requests come my way every once in a while and I don’t know anyone who’s available and awesome. Let’s save the world from ugly web apps!”
  • MyStrands is looking for a Community Manager – Evangelist
    “This position will play a key role in creating a community around upcoming services. You will evangelize, create, execute, and evaluate community building and online marketing campaigns in line with MyStrands’ overall strategy. You will develop marketing campaigns, community programs and proactively drive communications, with a strong focus in Portland, Oregon and the Northwest.”

Remember, if you’re interested in test driving the Silicon Florist gig board, now would be a great time to stick your toe in the proverbial water. Until the end of March, you can post up to three jobs the first 20 jobs posted will be absolutely free of charge. (Turns out the Jobamatic discount code total isn’t “per user” as I had assumed.) First come, first served. Simply use the discount code “earlybird” at checkout.

MyStrands wants to invest $100,000 in your startup

Corvallis-based MyStrands has just announced a program designed to find the best early-stage startup focused on “recommendation” technologies. And, once found, to fund that startup to the tune of 6-figures of investment.

The $100,000 investment prize will be awarded to:

[T]he best early-stage project in the area of recommendation technologies, considering the technology, business opportunity and team behind the project (without limitations as to which field the technology is applied).

This is a worldwide competition, but I’m confident that some of you Portland and Silicon Forest types—side project or otherwise—have got some cool technology that has a chance of winning this thing.

Why not give it a shot?

All Proposals will be judged using the following judging criteria: (a) implementation and integration of recommendation technologies, (b) originality and creativity, (c) likelihood of long-term success and scalability, (d) effectiveness in addressing a need in the marketplace, and (e) team bios.

Get into the finals and you’re off to Switzerland to present.

Five Finalists will be invited to present their projects during the ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys08) next October 23rd to 25th, 2008 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Finalists will be announced on October 6th.

So what are you waiting for? I think you can win this. And I’m sure the investment would help make your dream a reality. And if you’re not going to do it, then maybe our idea for Portland Startup Weekend should be based on recommendation technology.

Entries will be accepted until September 15, 2008.

For more information on the contest and requirements, see MyStrands’ post on the contest.

[Update: I just noticed that ReadWrite Web has posted on the contest, as well, encouraging MyStrands to continue its work in implementing open data standards.]

ORBlogs releases iPhone interface

Corvallis-based ORBlogs, the Oregon-focused blog aggregator, has announced the release of an iPhone interface. Interested users can access the simplified iPhone version via m.orblogs.com. (You can access that URL via a Web browser, as well, if you’re interested in a really big interface.)

ORBlogs’ new interface provides a stripped down view of its site content:

[Y]ou can browse all posts, Oregon-related posts, popular posts, and the top 15 topics from the last seven days. Clicking a post excerpt will take you directly to the post on the original blog.

iPhone users will also be happy to know that there is a custom icon for your iPhone desktop, if you choose to add it as a Web clip.

More is planned for the m.orblogs.com, including city-focused pages similar to those found on the ORBlogs site.

ORBlogs is run by Paul Bausch, one of the original developers on Blogger. An admitted side-project, ORBlogs provides a valuable resource to all Oregon-based bloggers by aggregating stories from across the state. For more information, visit ORBlogs.

MyStrands joins Data Portability Working Group

Corvallis-based MyStrands, the service that—among other things—lets you share and compare your musical tastes, has announced that they have decided to join the Data Portability Working Group.

A number of folks are putting their hopes in the Data Portability concept. And, to be sure, their recent “skyrocketing into the tech-public consciousness” momentum may have given them the best chance of solving the problems at hand.

As Scott Kveton highlights in the MyStrands post:

We’re really excited about the work that the Data Portability (DP) group is chartered to do. The goal of the group is to build a set of technical and policy blueprints based on existing technologies and concepts that will allow for the free-flow and control of data by users among sites on the web. Taking advantage of the building blocks like OpenID, OAuth and microformats allows the effort to move that much faster….

MyStrands is committed to the Data Portability group because we believe we can really help make things happen and be an integral part of its success.

Coincidentally, another little company you may have heard of—named Microsoft—just announced that they were going to join the Data Portability Working Group, as well. But, I’m not interested in covering that, because a) Last time I checked, they were a bit north of the Silicon Forest, and b) They may have gotten a little bit of press about it already.

In fact, Portland-based blogger Marshall Kirkpatrick has an insightful write-up on the Microsoft news:

Microsoft’s joining the group is an event of sufficiently complex historical meaning that I’m hesitant to try and interpret it here. Microsoft has both been the ultimate example of lock-in and also an important force behind other open standards efforts on the web, including OpenID. Though no fan of Microsoft, I am consistently excited about what the Live team in particular does. I’ll look for analysis of this and future news about implementation at Live from my favorite source on the topic, LiveSide.

Deep breath. Okay, I realize I’ve just thrown around a whole bunch of jibber jabber at you, which probably makes absolutely no sense.

Just what is this “data portability” and why would we want it? Here’s a simple explanation. (Apparently, Vimeo’s embed code doesn’t like WordPress, so I’m linking now instead. Apologies for the extra click.)

For more on MyStrands reasoning behind joining, read Why MyStrands is joining the Data Portability Workgroup. For more on the Data Portability Working Group, visit dataportability.org.

iStrands brings MyStrands to iPhone, iPod Touch

Corvallis-based MyStrands has announced that they are releasing their latest lab creation into the wild: iStrands.

What does iStrands do?

iStrands enables you to build your profile at www.mystrands.com in realtime while listening to your music on an iPhone or iPod touch.

If you’re up for jailbreaking your iPhone or iPod Touch (or if you already have), this may be an interesting application to try. If you do, I’d love to hear back about your experience.

MyStrands hits Times Square for New Year’s Eve

Corvallis-based MyStrands, makers of technology for tracking and sharing tastes, will be part of the big New Year’s Eve party in Times Square with a little network called MTV.

And, while that’s not in Oregon, I’m still covering it. Call me fickle. But that’s big news.

MyStrands partyStrands will power the event:

People in Times Square will be able to use their cell phones to send messages, vote to choose music videos and answer trivia questions on MTV’s 44 ½ giant HD screen in front of the MTV Studios.

Not planning to be in Times Square for the festivities? No worries. You can follow along at home, alone, in front of your computer, like me.

(Hat tip to Marshall Kirkpatrick

MyStrands partyStrands: Bringing the backchannel to the forefront

[Editor’s Note: Extending the Silicon Florist urban-growth boundary a touch, I wanted to include Corvallis-based MyStrands in the coverage. They’re doing some cool stuff and some of their folks are very active here in Portland. It’s a stretch, but a reasonable one.]

partyStrands, the newest offering from the MyStrands team, takes the ever-popular backchannel concept and makes it an interactive component of parties, concerts, and other gatherings. It’s a Twitter-on-the-big-screen sort of concept that makes every partygoer with a cell phone part of the action. And I mean, seriously, are you a partygoer without a cell phone? Not likely.

What’s more, partyStrands promises the ability to bring the party to you, whether you are “in the house” or not.

partyStrands allows you to join in on the party where your friends are even though you are somewhere else. Imagine tonight you stay at home, you can partake in the party from your room and interact with your friends at the party, by sending messages and pictures, all from MyStrands.com or m.MyStrands.com. Of course, you can read, see, and “hear” what they are doing and the music that is being played.

(Imagine staying home tonight? Not a huge leap for me.)

To see images of partyStrands in action, check out the recent Paul Van Dyk concert at the Crystal Ballroom.

For more on partyStrands, see the MyStrands blog post. For more information, visit MyStrands.

MyStrands develops technologies to better understand people’s taste and help them discover things they like and didn’t know about. MyStrands has created a social recommender engine that is able to provide real-time recommendations of products and services through computers, mobile phones and other Internet-connected devices.

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