Ships that pass in the night

Go take a look at Dopplr. Stowe (who cut me in to the alpha trial) calls it a Ships-That-Pass-In-The-Night app, which describes it better than I can.

What does it do? It asks you where you intend to travel in the foreseeable future, letting you put in the dates and times and associated notes. It asks you to identify “fellow travellers” with whom you’re prepared to share your travel information. They too complete travel schedules similar to the ones you did. And then it puts it all together and feeds it back to you and your fellow travellers.

In a way you can think of it as a “buddy” system with two differences:

  • it’s in the future
    it signals physical presence
  • I love it. And I think there’s a lot to learn from apps like Dopplr. For one thing, it’s a classic “exchange” application, the value is in the market liquidity and transparency. For a second, it could have been done before: travel agencies could have tried it, scheduling software companies could have tried it, airlines could have tried it. But for some reason they didn’t.

    Many of us have been looking for something like Dopplr for a while, and it’s too early to tell whether it will become the category leader. What we can tell is that incumbents failed to take the opportunity….. it would have been simple for an airline’s frequent flier program to provide a dopplr-like service. But they didn’t. Why? Because airlines were unwilling to share the information. Information which we, the travellers, are prepared to share….our information. Not the airline’s information.

    Segue to Doc and VRM. Or Sean and any type of exchange application.

    6 thoughts on “Ships that pass in the night”

    1. That’s harsh, JP – you tease me with a link to a sign on screen, when I have no invite …

    2. Oh – noticed you “just” listened to Chicago … remember that early “Chicago Transit Authority” album with “The Whole World’s Watching”, “Freeform Guitar”, and the awesome cover of Spencer Davis’ “I’m a Man”? It all went a bit soft after that …

    3. hey jp… ping me an invite if you have one spare… given the recent uptick in my transatlantic travel I’ve been trying to hack this exact app together with gratuitously shared google calendars — but this looks far slicker…

    Let me know what you think

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