This week I'm attending Techcrunch40, a San Francisco conference for emerging companies. The first companies on stage today want me to get more organized. Xobni can make my email more navigable (or could if I were an Outlook user); Orgoo can bring email, IM, and video chat together on one master communications screen accessible via web; and Mint will track all my credit card and bank activity and tell me exactly how Iâ''m spending every penny; though Iâ''m not entirely sure I want to know. While probably useful, none made me want to jump right in and start using them like TripItâ''s presentation did yesterday.
Kerpoof, last in the first group, is jumping in to the hot kidsâ'' website niche with a destination site that teaches object oriented programming basics through art and movie creation activities, intended to reverse the falling numbers of computer science majors at U.S. universities. This demo sparked an entertaining exchange between expert panelists Esther Dyson, internet and aerospace investor, and Guy Kawasaki, former Apple Fellow and recent founder of Truemors.
â''I like Kerpoof. Iâ''d use Xobni, but that is a dumbass name, if you paid for it if I were your investor I would shoot you.â''
"[Kerpoof] is like dressing a Barbie doll, it limits creativity."
Kawasaki: "Do you have children?"
Dyson: "I have 15 nieces and nephews"
Kawasaki: "That doesnâ''t qualify. Because I have four children I love entertaining mindless things."
Mindless entertainment or a powerful tool for teaching third graders programming and filling computer student pipeline? You be the judge here.