I’ve been enjoying using Plancast over the past month or so. I’m not an investor and though I wouldn’t rule it out in the future I’m not currently looking at the company.
Just wanted to get that out of the way up front so I won’t look like a vested-interest fanboy. In fact, for the research of this post I just noticed that they announced funding today – congrats.
I’m loving the product. It’s not perfect yet – no V1 product ever is. But for the stage of the company I think they’ve done an awesome job. Plancast is a product where you list what upcoming events you’re planning to attend. This is then searchable by anybody who is subscribing to your feed. It is modeled on the now popular Twitter asymmetric following model where people can follow you and you don’t necessarily need to follow them back. I had dinner with the CEO, Mark Hendrickson, last week and he told me the positioning, “FourSquare is to publish what you’re doing now, Plancast is to share what you’re planning to do in the future.” Clever positioning.
Plancast for me fills an important need. I don’t live in Silicon Valley so I’m not always around the proverbial water cooler hearing about what the upcoming tech events are. I like to scan Plancast occasionally to find out what others are planning to do. I’m actually not one of those guys who’s on the circuit at every event but I still find it useful to have a good mental map of what’s going on and be able to plan out for my future. I think the product will comport to my view of most of these user-generated content sites where 1% of people are uber-users, 9% are occasional users and 90% are lurkers. But the lurkers get tremendous value out of knowing what others are up to. So I basically just log in and find out where Dave McClure is going to be. He’s usually more in the know than I am. And has more frequent flier miles.
I hope more tools like this spring up. I’m a big fan of social discovery. Tools like this that allow you to track what’s going on in your social networks and one-step beyond them are really powerful. It’s not only great for planning out my event calendar but also when you pop into a city on last minute travel and want to know if anything professional is going on it’s useful to check in with Plancast. I’m not knocking FourSquare which seems to be doing great. But frankly I’m a lot more interested in where you’re going to be then where you are now. And I don’t really have any interest in knowing where you’ve become the mayor. Not even remotely.
I believe social discover tools will continue to be a big driver of traffic to events and I wouldn’t be surprised if they also morphed into rating systems after events. Who knows, maybe one of these guys will finally kill off evite. What I like about the asymmetric nature is that sometimes I want to know where my friends are going and sometimes I want to know where key people from industry are going. Both are useful. And sometimes I just want to know where Dave McClure will be turning up next.