Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Refining…

I love this quote from Jonathan Ive of Apple on the iPad design.

“I put to designer Ive the matter of all the features that are missing from the iPad. “In many ways, it’s the things that are not there that we are most proud of,” he tells me. “For us, it is all about refining and refining until it seems like there’s nothing between the user and the content they are interacting with.”
From Stephen Fry‘s Time Magazine article

Read more: Time Magazine

NEW=> Dwellicious Blog-“Chew On This!”

In the past we had just used this blog , Lightning | Twice, to talk about Dwellicious. But we found that to be problematic since Dwellicious has both a consumer side as well as a professional side; Dwellicious Pro.

So we created a new blog dedicated to Dwellicious exclusively. It’s called “Chew On This!

To find out what’s it all about come by and visit the site!

gr

New Dwellicious features

This morning, we released a new addition to Dwellicious Cool Tools – an interactive financial spreadsheet for each of your bookmarks using the Zillow API for real-time rates and local area tax and insurance estimates.  We also addressed two long standing concerns we’ve had, and I’m going to go over these in detail here.

Ever since we launched, we’ve heard from users that the one of the coolest Dwellicious features was the Cool Tools – a suite of decision making tools for each bookmark, including maps, street views, discussion thread, easy sharing to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, WordPress, valuation, comps, neighborhood demographics, schools, Walk Score, property photos, and neighborhood photos.  Some of the customers we talked to, however, were unaware that these powerful tools existed.  We narrowed this down to the fact that the Cool Tools button was located in the lower right of each bookmark, on the opposite side of where your eye naturally goes: to the photo and the title link.

Old bookmark

We tried serveral subtle changes to make the Cool Tools button stand out more, but some users still did not notice it.  The new version of the bookmark now adds two unobtrusive elements when the mouse is over it:  a “Click here for Cool Tools” overlay appears on the left half of the photo where the eye is naturally focused, and the Cool Tools button on the right lights up in a contrasting color.  With the extra space in the image overlay, some interesting information is also added – the total number of photos available for this bookmark.

New bookmark

Clicking anywhere on the photo or the Cool Tools button will now take you to the decision making tools.  The ‘Comments’ link directly under the photo will also now take you directly to the Cool Tools Discussion tab.

When the Cool Tools page appears, you will immediately notice another change: the contents of the Share tab has now been moved into a more visible spot in the right hand column.  The Share tools allow you to share your bookmark with friends and family on Facebook, MySpace, WordPress, Twitter, and e-mail with one simple click.  This has been a popular feature, but we’re trying to make it more visible to users and encourage use by moving it out from under a tab.  The tag list was also added right above the Notes field – something that previously was only available on the bookmark list page, but was requested to be added here as well.

Cool Tools Finance tab

You will also notice a new Cool Tool – the Finance tab.  This utilizes a new Zillow API that breaks out principal, interest, tax, and insurance using real-time interest rates and local tax and insurance values to come up with a realistic monthly cost for your chosen property.  I’m really happy with how qucik this API works, making it real easy to try “what if” scenarios by changing the price and down payment percentage, then clicking the Update button.  Notice the use of AJAX to update the spreadsheet in a quick and visually appealing way.  Try it yourself!

We hope you like the changes we’ve made to Dwellicious.  Many of the changes we make are due to good feedback from our customers, so make sure you keep sending those in – feedback at dwellicious dot com.

– Dan Woolley


Diverse Solutions first IDX vendor to integrate Dwellicious!

We’re happy to announce that Dwellicious now works with Diverse Solutions IDX sites. Until now, Dwellicious smart bookmarks were designed to work with the most popular large real estate portals.  We are constantly adding more sites, but since IDX sites commonly run under an agents own domain name, there were some tricky issues we had to work through.  We worked the last couple of weeks with our friends at Diverse Solutions to ensure a good, clean interface with Dwellicious.  Agents can now add a handy Dwellicious chiclet to their detailed listing views by selecting that option in their control panel.  Their clients will now be able to bookmark listings on their site, as well as other major search portals around the web.

Diverse Solutions has long produced some of the most innovative and cutting edge IDX sites on the web. We’re hoping that the addition of Dwellicious integration makes it even easier for agents and their clients to organize, share, and discuss their search for homes on the internet.

Diverse Solutions IDX screenshot

Dwellicious now works with…

Dan has been busy, Dwellicious now works with the following sites.

homefinder.com
sdlookup.com
zipvo.com

and…

estately.com
johnlscott.com
cbbain.com

If you have any suggestions please drop us an email! siterequest at dwellicious dot com

New Dwellicious Pro Video!

My wife did the voice over work this time…

1964 New York World’s Fair and online startups

Over the Thanksgiving holiday you get to visit with family and hear stories, some stories you have heard a million times, others for the first time. Here’s a story my Mom told me about her and my Dad, which is one I had never heard.

First off my Dad and Mom met each other while in the Army. My Dad was a photographer, he tells me that being in Korea as a photographer was still the best job he ever had. When my Dad left the Army he traveled with my Mom around the country doing seasonal gigs. Might be hired as the photographer for Santa, or the Easter Bunny, take pictures at a school for “photo day”, or league night at a local bowling alley. Back in the day, as a working photographer, you needed to shoot and develop the film yourself. Being trained in the Army my Dad knew how to do all of this. My Mom was his pretty assistant.

santa 1960s
My Dad finally ended up hooking up with some friends who got a contract to work the World Fair in New York City in 1964. They had a perfect business going. Here’s how it worked.
Remember those towers from "Men In Black"

They would hire young guys to going out in the fair grounds, usually in front a famous landmark, and take pictures of young couples or families. In what I would call an “ambush” they startled couples with a flashbulb going off. Then the photographer would begin his sales pitch of whether they wanted to buy the photo he had just taken. If the photographer made the sale he would then have the couple pose for another photo, “just in case”, and take another picture.

flashbulb

What really was happening was that flashbulbs were cheap, film was not. When the photographer would initially “take a picture” of the couple all he was doing was getting their attention with the flash of light, so that he could give them his sales pitch. When they agreed, then, and only then, would he use film. The second shot, where the couple posed, was the only photo taken.

Speed was also part of the pitch.
Couples could either retrieve their photo the next day, at one of the photo kiosks around the fair, or have them mailed.

victor

So each day a runner would send film over to an apartment, where a dark room was set up, outside the fair grounds. My mom would then place the photos, which sometimes my Dad would develop, in cardboard frames and either send them back to the fair for pickup or mail them out to the young couples and families who purchased them.

This seems to be a perfect model for an internet startup. First it helps if you have the skills to handle all parts of the job. In my Dad’s case he knew how to take photos and develop them. A perfect match of the creative and technical. Which as I’m writing this makes me realize that this is what I strive for too.

Their photo selling model also makes sense for marketing your product online. First you grab their attention with something “flashy”. Make sure this “flashy” item isn’t too expensive. Give them your pitch, close the sale, and then deliver it to them right away.

Of course my Mom would also point out it, it also helps to have a pretty (and smart) assistant partner.