“They are ill discoverers that think there is no land when they can see nothing but sea,” – Francis Bacon
Every year Israeli entrepreneurs churn out new technologies that aim to improve our lives. With the Jewish New Year upon us, TechCrunch Disrupt, one of the world’s most influential tech conferences of the calendar year, recently offered the public an excellent opportunity to discover what Israel’s newest innovators will be up in the year to come.
The latest installment of TC Disrupt took place, September 8-12, in San Francisco, California, and featured an assortment of early-stage Israeli companies. In particular, two Israeli startups, Serendip and VI, caught my eye because both startups focus on enabling friends and acquaintances to get to know each other more personally.
Serendip is an online music discovery service which takes your friends online musical content that they have shared from YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud and Bandcamp, and aggregates the content into a personalized playlist based on the user’s unique and particular tastes. The service also adds songs into a user’s playlist that have been shared by users whom share similar musical taste. Users can then choose to follow others on the platform, and create a social network of friends who hold similar musical tastes in order to discover and share music collaboratively.
I personally love Serendip because its uses aggregation and curation to expand the scope of the genres of my musical interest. A social network like Serendip essentially replaces the recommendations of the snarky clerk at the local record store (do those still exist?) and puts crowdsourced content from friends and influencers into my ears. In my mind, right now there is no better way to seek out new music than through Serendip.
VI is a mobile app that lets you rank your friends according to their traits and qualities. Users can see how others have ranked their characteristics, and also compare their friends and match them up against each other within any given trait. VI also lets users get to know people better based on how their friends have ranked them. To VI, it’s all about letting your personality show.
I see VI as being specifically targeted towards the ever-savvy demographic of 18-and-under that are using technology to interact with their classmates both at school and also outside of it. There’s no doubt that it would have been very interesting to have had an app like this when during my high school years, as it could have opened up new friendships and conversations with my classmates. Looking deeper into VI’s tech, could the startup eventually take their tech’s concept and expand it to become a business solution to seek out new employees with particular personality characteristics for a company’s workforce? Whichever way it is and will most be used, VI is fascinating because the tech is enabling individuals to better know and understand the people around them.
In the end, what’s equally most interesting about the proposition that Serendip and VI uniquely allow for is that people can get to know their friends and acquaintances better. To make that possible, both startups brilliantly offer a niched outlet for tapping into the public’s willingness to share their specific tastes, interests and individualism on a social network. The amazing result? We can now discover what we might like, who we might really be, and potentially, unlock old and new friendships based on mutual interest.
As is often the case with Facebook and Twitter, both of which flood my newsfeed with an enormous amount of information and noise, I love seeing that new social networks like Serendip and VI are developing tech that acts as a means for me to get to know my friends interests and personalities more precisely – as well as that of myself. Considering that both Serendip and VI are Israeli companies, it will be fun to watch their progress as they continue to plant their flags into significant portions of the quickly segmenting world of the social networking in 2013.