September 20, 2008

Strands Targets the Mainstream by Going One On One

One of the most common themes in the blogosphere, and here at the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas, is questioning how Web applications many of us are using will ever reach the mainstream. Will people's parents, relatives and co-workers ever get Twitter the way they finally get e-mail? Will FriendFeed ever get the kind of name recognition that Facebook and MySpace have? Strands, a nascent lifestreaming and content discovery service, is launching a new initiative, starting today, to take the service mainstream, to the masses themselves in a project they call oOo: One on One, or Operation mainSTREAM.
(See their blog for more).

Drew Olanoff, community manager for Strands, says "A lot of what we create is meant to make our lives easier and more entertaining," and that "companies like Pandora deserve to be known outside of our circles," so what the team at Strands is looking to do is to give its users many invites, and will incentive them to invite non-geeks to the service. Those who recruit "nongeek friends" can win geeky prizes, including an Apple MacBook Air for you and your friend, an iPod Touch for you and your friend, or miniature Flip video cameras.

Strands: Operation mainSTREAM

But Strands isn't going to be sitting around, waiting for you to do all the hard work of recruiting by yourself. The team is going one one one (oOo), traveling state to state, to take the story of all these cool Web applications to the masses. As Drew writes, "I'm going to be visiting old folks homes, hanging out with some soccer moms, and hey...maybe some lawyers, to let them know why technology and your personal presence online is important."

Will this work? Will taking something that's considered an edge technology even for those of us in the Silicon Valley, and introducing it to technophobes in North Dakota and South Carolina give services like Pandora,, and Twitter that push they need to get into the mainstream? Probably not all by itself. But as part of the micromedia panel I participated in yesterday, we discussed a new rule of marketing. You tell 10, who tell 100, who tell 1,000. If Drew and the Strands team can find the right 10 people in each of these locations around the country, they may be on to something. And just maybe, Web 2.0 applications have found their new evangelist.
DISCLOSURE: Drew Olanoff, the Community Manager at Strands, is also the CTO of ReadBurner, where I am an advisor, and hold a small equity position.