Just found this interview that I did w/ Gothamist back in 2004 (!!) — almost 10 years ago and *just after* we launched Dodgeball (and when it was only available in NYC)
1. You’ve created “Friendster for the mobile phone” in the form of a new service called Dodgeball.Social. How does this work and is it just some scheme to facilitate spontaneous hooking-up?
The idea is pretty simple: use your cell phone to tell us where you are and we’ll broadcast your location to all your friends. If any friends-of-friends are within 10 blocks of you, we’ll ping you both with a message (and a photo of if you’ve got a camera phone) encouraging you to meet up.
Friendster was a lot of fun, but does it actually do anything? We’re trying to build things that can change the course of an evening - bringing your friends together or introducing two people that are sitting 10 feet away.
We think of it technology facilitating serendipity. As to whether anyone is going to get laid from it, all I can say is that our engineers are working day and night to make this happen.
2. Do you think the lifestyle patterns of New Yorkers inspire a suite of technology applications that might not work anywhere else?
I think it’s as much about “lifestyle patterns” as it is about the geographic layout of the city. Whenever I meet friends for drinks, I’ll use Dodgeball to broadcast my location to my friends - more often than not I’ll end up meeting up with someone who was two blocks away. It works because the city is smaller than we all think and the paths we walk are relatively fluid.
We always say, “if it’s going to work anywhere it’ll work in NYC”. As to whether it’ll work everywhere, we’ll find out soon enough: Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philly are launching in the next 10 days.
As for technology in general… Phones are getting smarter. iPods will learn how to talk. When the gadgets we carry learn to passively communicate with the gadgets other people carry, a lot of cool things are going to happen. And these things are going to work on the streets and subways of NYC better than they will anywhere else.
You can read the rest of the interview here. Plenty of shoutouts to The OC, Big Buck Hunter, and the pre-World Series Red Sox. It’s like a time machine up in here! (OMG gold in the comments too… keep scrolling down if you click on the link)
ps: Happy 10th Anniversary Gothamist!