Online Calendars – Feature or Business?

I read an interesting article the other day in The Wall Street Journal titled, “Would-Be Web Moguls Learn to Battle Spam, Beat What Rivals Offer”.  [note: access is no longer open or I’d add a link.  Thanks to Jerry King for sending it my way…].  It was like an American Idol of Web 2.0 Business plans with VC’s as judges/panellists.  One of the criteria used by the VCs judges/panellists was, “Is this thing a feature or is it a business?”  This has always been a VC product assessment criteria.

Yesterday, Michael Arrington leaked screenshots of Google Online Calender.  Now, I could be wrong, but I see calendars as a feature, not a business.  I think Google gets this.  They built Gmail first and they plan to integrate the calendar.  On the other hand, I’m not sure 30boxes gets it, nor do the VCs (who I gather – though this is unconfirmed – have put millions into that business).   I hope they have some huge ideas planned, things I can’t quite see (and I have not thought about it too much) and prove me wrong.  That said, I see a calendar as something that works within context of, or in conjunction with, other parts of my life.  For example, in MS Outlook the key app for me the email aspect.  The calendar is a bonus.  I’ve grown to like it a lot, but it’s not VITAL.  I could use a pad and paper for my calendar and be just fine.

Long story short, calendars are a feature to me.  Pooling Calendar events (i.e. event data like Ticketmaster concerts), now that’s a business.

Just my 2 cents.

4 thoughts on “Online Calendars – Feature or Business?

  1. “We've been trying out 30 boxes just a little bit, and while I like what they've done technically, our finding is less whether it's a "feature" versus a "business'. Our difficulty is that it's yet another thing to check. The real value comes when email, calendars, todos, etc can be pulled together. They don't have to be in the same app, but at least some means of aggregating them somewhere, or at minimum viewing them quickly.”

  2. Totally agree…that's the inconjunction with piece…so many places to go to get at all your tools and data…Thanks for the post Cameron.

  3. “Michael,If you took the time to "confirm" we generally reply to all email. 30 Boxes has no outside (VC or other) investment. There are currently 3 of us and we were the management team of Webshots which is now owned by CNET Networks. We have a lot of experience with scale and also generating revenue from eyeballs.Now, depending on how big you want a company to be you can argue either way on the feature/business piece. We have already had emails from users telling us that they would pay for the service. That said, long term we are interested in a series of "new" hybrid type applications that are open (allowing others to build on top of them) because we do believe that there is a lot of money in large social networks that we see evolving from the apps.”

  4. “Narendra,Sort of surprised you stumbled across this blog 🙂 Great to hear from you.You folks clearly have a whole lot of buzz going. From what you learned with WebShots I trust you understand scaling. These were two big things Writely had sorted out and they were recently acquired by Google, despite their .net platform…pretty awesome…I tip my hat to you for having these things sorted out yourselves and for being a company that has done it before – that’s a great place to be. I hope for success for you, just like I do all the web 2.0 apps – however that success is measured. Does all that change my opinion about the feature/business? No. But that's okay…it’s just an opinion, right?I'm looking forward to seeing what you folks have up your sleeves…I can see lots opportunities…social and otherwise…I trust you see more. With regards to financing, I heard that from a reputable source who knows about these things and I will be sure to straighten him out…clearly I was unsure (hence my indicating this was “unconfirmed”) – thanks for straitening me out.I see you have an API out…I'm going to have a look at it…that's a fantastic development and it's sure to add value to your platform. We have one out too…it’s like setting a caged animal free…VERY exciting.Thanks for the note; please stay in touch.”

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