Earlier this year, as you may recall, a “calendar frenzy” swept through our mobile devices and Twitter streams. During that time, like many of you, I tried all the great apps and started think more deeply about how the concept of “anticipatory computing” could look like on the two dominant mobile platforms, Android and iOS. In an attempt to collect my thoughts, I wrote my weekly column on the topic, concluding that Google’s mobile strategy would strengthen as it commoditized the hardware and operating systems in order to control what Google does best — personalized services based on big data.
And, what about Apple? Well, it *could* be a problem for them. In response to the post, a friend of mine who is an investor offered to connect me to an entrepreneur he had backed in the space, and lo and behold, they were working on a stealth project in Palo Alto, just a few blocks from my place. I met with the founder a few times, and after trying the team’s Beta product, I was hooked — hooked into the daily active use case presented by the app, and hooked to the vision this team was bringing to market. They floated the idea of becoming an advisor and I jumped at the chance. The company called Refresh: www.refresh.io
For me, this is notable, because as a general policy, I do not like to advise many companies. There are only three (3), actually, though maybe that will change over time. For now, the companies are: Scripted, an online marketplace for content, founded by two of my good friends I’ve known for over five years, and who recently raised their Series A after an arduous path; Swell Radio, by Concept.io, which is reinventing the mobile audio experience, and where I’m lucky to be an employee on product, marketing, and distribution; …and now…Refresh, because the vision and goals for the company are simply impressive, to bring more and more useful information to our fingertips to help us better interact with others in the real world.
Refresh is a technology system and service I’ve been waiting for. The system identifies who you are slated to meet based on your calendar, and then grabs, ties, and stitches together personalized morsels of relevant information about those participants into a dead-simple interface where you can quickly catch up on your meetings and make notes. Think of it as a superpower baked into a useful CRM. There are many features in the app, but the most powerful element is that it aggregates disparate social data through your main networks and presents information to you in a timely and highly useful way. I now get a Refresh push notification a few minutes before every meeting, and I always open the Refresh notification to get up to speed before my meeting so that I can have context, get in the zone, and really connect with an old friend or colleague or new acquaintance in what is otherwise a world that is too busy for human connection.
Refresh has been stealth for a while, and though it’s still in Beta and a lot of folks around the Valley are chattering about it, it’s been made available to all for iPhone. Give it a spin. If you are the type that’s in many meetings and like to prepare, Refresh makes you better. (Below is a screenshot of my profile, specifically the “notes” page. To see the “insights,” which is the real juice inside Refresh, download the app, connect your networks, and see what you find.)