December 31, 2008

I've Taken a New Advisory Role With SocialToo

One of the most fun and rewarding byproducts of operating this blog has been to connect with entrepreneurs looking to improve their product and gain early feedback. Sometimes, I can help by doing more than just spreading the word about services I like, but get the opportunity to take time to suggest new product features, point out what I consider to be flaws, and suggest how they can better adjust to address competitors. In the majority of cases, this takes place ad hoc via e-mail or phone. In rarer cases still, I find a working relationship with an individual and the product such that we both find our cooperation mutually beneficial and have taken the next step to make it formal.

As I discussed and disclosed back In August, one of those roles was when I became an advisor to ReadBurner. Tonight, I wanted to update you and let you know I have also taken a similar role with SocialToo, which Jesse Stay, a contributor to this site, and the service's CEO, calls "your companion to the Social Web."

Since first learning of SocialToo this summer, and using it for several months, I have become very interested not just in what the product does today - primarily helping to quietly manage your Twitter account in the background, and to deliver social surveys to friends on multiple social networks, but also in a few potential directions I saw as next steps for the product.

Without Jesse's prompting, in November, I sent him a detailed outline of a new product derivative of SocialToo, which I would believe will fulfill a still-unanswered gap in the social networking space. Jesse, having significant experience coding programs for not just Twitter, but Identica and Facebook as well, seemed like the logical partner for some of my ideas. Jesse and I have since talked many times in regards to how I think his service can take the leap from obscurity to being more robust and visible, as it grows in capability and users.

As with the ReadBurner relationship, I aim to continue being transparent with you and other developers who believe they might be competitors to or partners with SocialToo in some way. And while I may be more closely tied with Jesse and the service going forward, helping to impact and review the product's roadmap, I expect to be even more critical than before, sometimes behind the scenes, and sometimes publicly, as I have with ReadBurner. I will also update my about page to reflect the relationship.

As a side note, do I expect to quit my day job and fill my LinkedIn profile with scads of advisory roles, although some of you noted the addition of SocialToo to the list over the weekend? No. But when opportunities arise to help build new companies and services that will help the Web and sound like something I want in a big way, I am more than eager to make my time available. Additionally, the relationship with SocialToo should not have any impact on Jesse's postings here. Jesse for the better part of four months has covered those topics he finds interesting, and will continue to do so. And when it makes sense that he disclose his SocialToo position, he will do so.

To learn more about SocialToo as it stands today, go to Jesse Stay's personal blog can be found at: