So Dave Sifry announced the private beta of his new personalized and printed travel guide service, offbeat guides, last night. Back when I was still casting about for the next good thing, I spent some time with old friend Dave and heard about the ideas and the prototype. I was excited then, and still am, and here's why:
- Picking through the comments by friends on TripAdvisor and on blogs to compile what people really think about places, lodgings and attractions for a destination is time-consuming, unwieldly and un-efficient.
- Even if you do this work, finding a place to save/store it can be a pain. And there's no good way to do the wisdom of crowds and find others' compliations (or annotations).
- When you're on the street in Rome, unless you have a smarter phone than many people do (I don't think most people today have a BlackBerry, iphone, smart phone, etc.--though they will--)paper really matters. And guidebooks just don't always have what you want. Or have too much. And tear out pages is ugly.
And finally, I think it's neat that someone who built something very distinctive in search back in 2003 is tackling a totally different set of problems here in 2008--and this time, it seems like Dave's been able to build some initial business models right in.
More in the breaking TechCrunch story, here.