Friday, October 2, 2009

Really, What Is MySearchKick Anyway?

Born out of Redmond Startup Weekend, MySearchKick is now one month old :). I have been talking to bunch of people in and around Seattle area and feedback is very positive. They all like it, love it and eager to try is out as soon as its available. But I feel I have not done a good job of explaining MySearchKick grand vision properly. I have noticed that people get hooked up only on the examples and scenarios that I give and anything beyond that is hard to imagine. So I will make another attempt to explain 'What is MySearchKick ?'. 

First let me tell you what MySearchKick is NOT. Its not an another search engine and its not about search results relevance and reordering. Its not about mining your search history and behavior and its definitely not about spamming you or tricking you by any means. Privacy is of utmost importance to MySearchKick and we empower end-user to be in full control of what they want out of MySearchKick. You get only what you choose to get, period.

Search has become part of our life style today. We all use 'bing' (read your favorite search engine) as our gateway for most of our online and offline activities. It could be finding next yoga class, nice place to dine, travel to some exotic place, buy digital gadgets, send flowers to friends and families, look for sightseeing places, get local businesses & services, do online shopping, search for news, blogs, mingle with friends and (add your activities here). 

Search engines are more and more becoming decision engines where they give you multiple relevant options to choose from without information overload. As an example if you search for 'Car Rental' you will get results from enterprise.com, avis.com, hertz.com, dollar.com, cityrentacar.com, alamo.com and similar other relevant results. Question I ask after seeing these results is 'How should I decide which one to go with? or more generically how do people decide that they want to go with avis.com and not hertz.com?'. Moreoever, these results are same and are in same order for all users. So in back of users' mind there are some other factors which guide them to choose 1 out of set of N results.

These 'other factors' are where MySearchKick comes into play. MySearchKick goal is to augment your individual search result with information that matters to you to help you make a selection.

One of these 'other factors' could be your membership cards. As an student you might have 'Student Advantage Card', as a Microsoft employee you might have 'Microsoft Prime Card', as a AAA member you might have 'AAA Card' or you might even love to use 'American Express' credit card often than others. And beauty is that some of the car rental businesses you got as a search result do offer 'discounts' on your memberships. Avis.com gives 'discount' on Microsoft-Prime, Hertz.com gives 'discount' on AAA, dollar.com gives 'bonus-points' on AMEX and NationalCar.com gives 'discount' on StudentAdvantage card and so on.

MySearchKick actually highlights 'this association information' in search results inline so that you are well aware of how are you connected to that search result and whats the value of that relationship.

Membership cards and associated discounts is just one example. You configure your MySearchKick account by telling us what cards you have and no other information like card-number etc and we highlight and give more details on search result by looking it back in thousands of businesses which already have partnership with your membership cards. Ofcourse if you can memorize all thousands of businesses supported by your card and keep up with changes then you are superman, for human beings, lets put technology to work for us, we already have enough to worry about in this economy.

If you are still with me so far then lets pop up one level and restate meta concept of MySearchKick: "Find and highlight relationship and its value between you and your search result, non-intrusively." Let your imagination fly as high as it can and think where-ever you can benefit from MySearchKick

8 comments:

searchkick said...

First realize that this competition was for fun. Unless you're planning to quit your job, or gift Microsoft with the idea (they implement it, and collect all the profits), this is all for fun. Right?

You say that 'we all use Bing' and that 'search engines are becoming decision engines'. You're on Blogger. I'm sure you won't only support IE and Bing on Windows 7, will you?

Look at what happened to Wishpot. They have a plugin and because of the hassle of installing it, they have very low traffic. Their CEO left in March.

What is your competitive advantage here? Anybody can clone the idea. No secret sauce. No heavy investment.

Someone who helped with the concept during startup weekend.

amit82cse said...

Thanks for spending 10 minutes of your lifetime reading and commenting here.

Everyone had their own expectation when they came to competition, may be you were there only for fun. Be serious about what you want to do and have fun doing that.

Competitive advantage? Tell me how many twitter clones are successful.

I met with Max, Wishpot's current CEO and got some insights. Yes, there are challenges but I see them as opportunities. On the hassle of downloading plugin, go checkout the number of downloads of Shareaholic firefox plugin.

Ping me sometime, we can have coffee and chat more ;)

Roy Leban said...

@1: You're right and you're wrong. StartupWeekend is for fun but it's also serious. It's extremely unlikely that anybody will walk away from StartupWeekend with a finished product and company (LearnThatName is an impressive, amazing aberration in that regard). And, sure, anybody can clone an idea that only took a weekend to build. But, it's about execution and follow-through, not just the idea. StartupWeekend is a great environment for experimentation, for building prototypes and demos, and maybe for finding teams.

Like MySearchKick, FriendMosaic is now real as well. Two of the seven of us on the weekend team decided that we believed in the idea and vision enough that we started a real company a few days after the weekend. We launched in Beta on the 21st, though the only thing that's "beta" is the site -- the products are real. We made sales our first day and we'll also be delivering through on the sales that were made during the StartupWeekend demo.

Will MySearchKick, FriendMosaic, or even LearnThatName make it? 9 out of 10 startups fail, so that's your odds. But, for me at least, StartupWeekend was a great validation that the idea had merit, was practical, and could get sales. That's a lot better kickoff than a lot of businesses get.

@Amit and team: I wish you the best of luck. I think the plug-in does put you at a disadvantage. Wishpot isn't the only company hurt by that. Making the plug-in free, with a no-brainer install, can help with that. If you can get your partners to link to the plug-in, that can help a lot.

searchkick said...

You are right that my expectations about the weekend were quite different from yours.

Do you have the guts to quit your day job to work on search kick? If not, I'd call it a hobby, not a busines, because it's going to require serious work (including legal) to negotiate with companies and offer discounts (unless you want to do it for free).

Hum, FriendMosaic is a fun widget, but not sure you can build a company from that.

Roy Leban said...

Hmm... this Altair Basic is a fun program, but not sure you can build a company from that. ;-)

FriendMosaic is one product. It's very hard to build a company around just one product, but it's a good place to start and any eventual company we build will have to have much more to be successful.

BTW, I didn't walk into the weekend planning to build a real company. It was the response we got on Sunday that convinced me.

amit82cse said...

Its too early to judge anything and take a side. I welcome all comments and suggestions but hey is it really so hard to see the value of MySearchKick? 'User Value' is the only thing that matters to me at this point.

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."
- Albert Schweitzer

Andy said...

You seem a bit naive. Dumb quotes in lieu of a business plan? A typical Microsoft contract precludes you from moonlighting. Maybe you should look into that.

If you want people to take you a bit more seriously, I'd recommend taking some English lessons. For example, "I think scenario has decent chance" should be "I think this scenario has a decent chance".

Andy M.

amit82cse said...

I believe seriousness comes from actions and not from words.

One of your concern is quite valid and I am looking into that. Thanks for that.