June 20, 2012
Highlight: metadata for the people around you
The app of the show, in terms of meetings, seems to be Highlight. I've just been notified by it that there are 30 people who might be of interest to me around me right now. Pity I'm busy typing...
Paul Davison, Founder & CEO of the app is being interviewed by Milo Yannopoulos, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, The Kernel.
And he's full of enthusiasm when most of the audience are trying to drink enough coffee to be awake.
We have the tools in the real world to identify common interests, he suggests - band t-shirts, for example. But we don't have the tools to know if the person sat next to us is a friend of our mother. The real world is like a bad version of Facebook or LinkedIn, with only one profile photo and no details on who they are or what they do. Milo is horrified by this view of the world. Paul doesn't really seem to care. He want's to "fix" the real world with Highlight, by starting to give people information about those around us.
If you've enabled it on you phone, Highlight allows your profile to pop up on screen for another user who might find you interesting when they are nearby. Identifying "interesting" is a deeply contextual thing, starting with friendship, that friends of friends, and leavened with a mix of familiarity and frequency of proximity. You can throttle notifications to make sure people aren't overwhelmed, but also look at response rate to identify people who like meeting people. But they don't see it as a meeting tool, more as a metadata tool for the world.
We've only just reached the point where the technology supports what they're trying to do - battery life supports push notifications properly, and they can now publish into this space above people's heads. He posits that the app is solving the problem of forgetting people's names when joining a company. He thinks it's made offices more friendly, more communicative, because barriers to communication drop away.
Still needs to get over British reserve, though...
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