Few other entrepreneurs in the Silicon Forest have started and led as many high-profile local companies as Craig Barnes.
But that’s not stopping him from starting another.
Startups in his blood
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Craig’s track record, you should be. His record boasts a veritable “who’s who” of Portland tech companies:
- Founded Now Software and in three years had grown it into the largest software company focusing exclusively on Mac software.
- Founded Portland’s Extensis and grew the venture-backed business into a $100 million acquisition. Extensis recently celebrated its 15th anniversary.
- Founded You Software, a Portland company that adds features and functionality to the software you already use.
- Spun Attensa out of You Software, creating a company focused on building an attention-based RSS management system that garnered $12 million in venture backing. (For more information, I recommend reading Marshall Kirkpatrick’s write-up on Attensa, back when he use to write for a little blog called TechCrunch.)
Now, Barnes has founded another startup. And much like the other companies he’s founded, it’s designed to help you deal with a glut of information by making the products you already use better.
But this time, it’s all about the Web.
Designed for bloggers, Panels uses a small panel to provide additional information about companies that are being covered, much in the vein of services like Snap’s Snap Shots:
Panels appear for any company or organization ranging from the biggest public companies such as Apple, Ford, AT&T, or WalMart to up and coming startups such as WebDiet (launched at the Demo Fall 08 technology conference this week) and Yammer (launched at TechCrunch50 this week and chosen as winner!) By the time we go live there will be millions of entities in the system with improvements and features appearing almost daily.
But to me, the most interesting thing about Panels is the depth of content that it provides.
Unlike traditional “additional information” popup services, Panels provides a multi-tab view of information, including:
- “About” – Basic company and contact info, URL, logo, and summary [including details from Portland-based company-information wiki AboutUs]
- “Site” – A full preview of the home page, stats, tags and other goodies about the actual web site/blog
- “Map” – Beginning with Google Maps, and others to follow, a place for geographic data
- “News” – Headlines, Blog posts, News, Press Releases and more from a variety of sources
- “Jobs” – Employment listings across numerous providers such as monster and simplyhired
- “Financial” – If a public company, real-time info and quotes appear in several sub-categories
So why use Panels? Primarily, to provide a much richer set of information on the companies to which you’re linking—while keeping people on your site.
Basically, you’re eliminating the blind clicks that tend to draw the attention-deficient Web surfers away from what you’re trying to convey.
Also interesting? The inspiration behind the development?
Panels were inspired by the nutritional panels found on food that are mandated by the federal government. Like nutritional panels, our panels have a standard text-centric user interface that delivers consistent, predictable, detailed, real-time information from a variety of data sources across several categories.
Now, if I could only tell if the link was going to be nutritional or just so much Web junk food.
Panels is currently in closed beta. For more information or to see Panels in action, see Craig’s post introducing Panels. Or to request a beta account, visit Panels.