BarBird 2011 Announcement

Today marks the most important day in BarBird’s brief history. We have three big announcements to make. First, we have launched the BarBird service in over 50 cities worldwide. Our current list of international cities are: Vancouver, Toronto, London, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Since that fateful hackathon where the BarBird idea was born, one of our primary goals has been to expand the service as quickly as possible, on an international scale. Today we are able to say we’ve reached that goal and we plan to continue expanding BarBird to every large city in the world. We want to make sure that as the girl in Orange County finds a cheap happy hour near her work off of BarBird, the guy in Mumbai can also find the next spot for him and his friends to go, off of BarBird. We hope that aside from providing a great entertainment deal-finder for residents within a city, BarBird will also provide travelers with a one-stop service to figure out where to go out in the city they’ve traveled to.

Next, we have officially launched our free iPhone app, with all major bugs fixed. We are extremely excited about this app because as our web interface provides a nice planning tool for a night out, our iPhone app provides a great tool for finding deals while one is already out. The iPhone app is excellent for ‘spontaneous discovery’ of where to go, as well as seeing what is near your current location. It’s great for both finding happy hours around lunch time as well as finding the next hot spot at midnight. We plan to provide an Android app next and ultimately a blackberry app as well, however, our mobile site will likely be completed before either of those.

Finally, we have officially opened up the beta of our web interface. One is no longer required to login to view the BarBird service. Thus, showing your friends BarBird is as simple as copy/pasting a link to them. Along with the open beta, we’re releasing a completely redesigned user interface for the web. Based on user feedback from our closed beta, we have made the interface simpler with the higher-value areas more top-level. We also think it looks quite a bit prettier :). Along with this interface, we’ve included the ability to connect through facebook. As of right now, logging in through facebook allows one to ‘Like’ tweets which filters those ‘liked’ tweets into our ‘Liked’ category. Here, the tweets with the most ‘Likes’ percolate to the top. The idea here is to provide a stream of bar-deals that are filtered by user-interest. Eventually, logging in through facebook will enable us to provide a host of features that personalize and socialize the BarBird experience. Finally, in select cities (LA/NYC/LDN), we have provided a drop-down menu (beneath the logo) that allows a user to ‘narrow’ the results he or she can view. Therefore, if I’m from Orange County and viewing the LA instance, I only want to see results in the Orange County area as opposed to all of LA, selecting ‘Orange County’ now allows me to do that (also on the iPhone app). We hope to continue expanding this ability to more cities.

We also have a lot of exciting things planned for the future. The next two big changes one will see to our web interface involve check-ins and group texting. We want to display which venues the most people have checked into (using the common LBS API’s) as well as (once authed) which venues one’s facebook friends have checked into. We will also be making it extremely easy to set up a group texting chat room for you and the friends you’re going out with so you can easily communicate if split up or in loud venues. We will be incorporating these features into our mobile application shortly after launching them for the web interface. Finally, we will be launching a tweet analytics interface for venue owners. Through this interface, venue owners will be able to purchase advertising in the ‘What’s Hot’ area as well as see fine-grained analytics on every tweet they’ve sent through BarBird and compare that to the best performing tweets overall. The long term vision for BarBird is to continue personalizing and socializing the experience for our end users on many different devices and make it increasingly easy for venue owners to tap into that market by creating deals and messages that our end users find attractive.

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BarBird iPhone App

Happy hours? Drink Specials? Ladies Nights? Live Music? No Cover? If any of these phrases put a smile on your face, BarBird is the app for you.

BarBird provides a real-time picture of what is happening in the bar, restaurant & concert scene in your area so you can discover deals near you, save money and always know the next best place to go.

We went through years of indecisive, expensive nights-out and we wanted to make sure you never have to again. That is BarBird. We hope it puts a smile on your face!

How does it work?

BarBird consists of two fundamental views: ‘The List View’ and ‘The Map View’. The list view is very similar to any ‘stream’ of content one would see in today’s web. It streams tweets from twitter that are 140 characters or less. The purpose of the list view is to display what is happening right now in your city.

The map view displays a ‘Google-Maps-Like’ interface that centers on your location. Map pins are placed around you that you can press to see tweet details. From the tweet details pop-up, you can navigate to venue details and then to getting directions. The purpose of the map view is to see what is happening near you.

The list view and map view can both be filtered. Along the bottom of the BarBird app is a row of 6 buttons that filter results. ‘Happy Hour’, ‘Specials’, ‘Music’, ‘Ladies Night’, ‘No Cover’ and ‘Tonight’. These will return results that meet those filters. On the list view you will see a new list that displays only those results that you’ve selected. On the map view you will see icons displayed that match only the filter you’ve selected.

Both the list view and the map view have a ‘time-aware’ element to them. The purpose of this is so our users know when they’re potentially looking at stale data (tweets that no longer apply because they’re old). On the map view, icons become more transparent the older the tweet is. If a tweet is 10 hours old or older our users will begin to see transparency in the icons. In the list view, the time stamp on the tweet will change color and begin to fade.

The next thing on our list for the mobile world is producing an Android app. Hope everyone likes it!

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Why isn’t BarBird in my city?

We currently have the capability to launch in every large English speaking city in the world. However the limit on Twitter accounts you can follow for free is 5,000. As such, on Nov 14th, I filled out one of their BizDev survey’s and e-mailed them about following 20,000+ accounts. Here’s to hoping they respond.

/me thinks this is going to take a lot of e-mails and calls.

Hey the more noise you guys make about BarBird on Twitter etc the more they’re likely to notice us!

As soon as we get this resolved BarBird should be in your city.

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Welcome to BarBird

First, this:

Hi.

Welcome to BarBird.

My name is Pierce Lamb. I am 25 years old. Pierce’s Twitter

Pierce Lamb while in MBA school

I came up with the idea for BarBird at a Cyborg Anthropology Conference when I was thinking about how often I want to go to the bars, but have no direction on where to go. I knew that I often tend to go places after a friend tells me about a band playing or a deal at a bar that will allow me to buy cheaper drinks or not have to pay a cover (or girls???). These sorts of events always give me a reason to end up at a certain bar. So I wondered: is there any way I could build a service that would allow me to see these ‘events’ in my city, in aggregate, in real time? Over the next three hours, ‘BarBird’ came into existence. Luckily, for an idea guy like myself, I had my good friend Daniel Starling there with me. Daniel is 23 years old.

Daniel in Bend Oregon Celebrating the holidays

Daniel and I met online playing Quake 2 Digital Paintball together way back in middle school (who said gaming couldn’t be useful?). We had worked on projects together remotely before, and just met ‘in real life’ in September of 2010 when he moved to Portland to pursue the entrepreneurship dream with me. He has been the technical lead on BarBird since that conference.

The two of us live and work together in the same house in the hills of NW Portland. You can talk to us in real time if you press the ‘ contact us’ button on the BarBird page (this is connecting to #barbird on irc.freenode.net).

A little background on us: I grew up in Portland, attended Reed College for a degree in Analytic Philosophy, then pursued my MBA at Pepperdine University. Daniel grew up in Arkansas and attended the University of Arkansas for a degree in Computer Science. While gaming is still one of our favorite past times (plug minecraft plug), we also love to get a big group of people together and go private karaoke-ing at voicebox in Portland!

Ah well, I wanted to keep this short so I didn’t get too many ‘TL;DR’s’. Feel free to chat with us via the contact us page or IRC!

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