Yesterday, I ran the Battle of Brooklyn 10 miler in Prospect Park. When I got there in the morning, I noticed that Dave Morgan, founder of Tacoda and Simulmedia, had also checked into the park for the run. We met up and, as it turns out, he signed up the day before after noticing my packet pickup checkin at Jackrabbit on Friday. He's training for a marathon and had signed up for a few halves to prepare.
I commented to him that it's too bad that Foursquare couldn't have capitalized on that transaction somehow--and it made me think about the nature of that referral. It wasn't actually the geolocation aspect that created the conversion--although it helped that packet pickup wasn't too far from his office. It wasn't even really the social thing, becuase we didn't try to run together. The overriding piece of data that facilitated that conversion was that Dave was free to do the run yesterday morning. He had an open spot in his calendar, combined with a previously indicated interest in running. To me, there's definitely a business in not just making suggestions for things to do, but helping people make more productive use of their time. Getting Dave's time Sunday morning was a revenue generator not just for the people organizing the race--but perhaps for any number of ancillary businesses. A local brunch place might have suggested a 10am special after he was done--and a smart calendar could have told him who he knew in Park Slope that was also free at that time. The booked race on his calendar in Brooklyn could have been a lead to Uber--since he lives in Manhattan. All that potential revenue was tied to calendar data, and from what I can tell, no one has even come close to the potential value creation here. Few entrepreneurs even have a vision for it.
The way I think about it--the way that Facebook owns social, someone should own time--to be the largest depository of data about what I like to do with my time, what my options are, and smartly manage it across the people that show up on my calendar for a myriad of reasons. Moreso than Foursquare or any other geolocation network, my calendar knows where I am at all times and who I'm with--especially when the same events and invitations show up across calendars.
Current and past efforts in this space have been about calendar sharing--something that nearly no one wants to do. Even worse is the attempts to help me organize my friends. I really don't have any issues asking two close friends to go to the movies--so building your app around a way to "manage" that is never going to achieve any traction. What entrepreneurs really need to start getting keyed in on is the single user proposion--how do you make my calendar smarter, full of more information, and make sure I'm not missing anything I should be. I thought that app might have been Plancast, but signal to noise there is low and it's not a place I wind up spending a lot of time. I send it data, but it's not clear what kind of improved and more valuable data I get back in return.
Whoever does get this close to how I manage my time is going to build a multi-billion dollar business--because time is money. Nearly every event on my calendar can somehow be tied to a potential revenue transaction. It's just a mattter of figuring out what the initial value prop and how to you create smart time data.