Friday, November 19, 2010

Chatfe Happy Hour With Paul Orlando

Earlier in the evening I was at the Chatfe Happy Hour for two hours: West 3rd Commons at 1 West 3rd Street. There used to be an Indian restaurant/bar at that place.

I did not drink beer. Later in the evening I drank a glass of water. Water tasted good. (No More Beer, No More Soda)

My friend Paul Oralando is the founder of Chatfe. He has a swell team. The team he has assembled tells me this startup's got steam. They believe in the cause. They are there at this early hour.

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I got to meet yet another Indian from Guiyana. (Dogpatch Labs: Demystifying PR For Startups)

Chatfe is in the random connections space. I believe that is a great space to be in.

Globalization and the internet have made the nation state less and less central to people's lives. There has been an accompanying rootlessness. And so religion has grown in importance. The random connections space is a zone with a similar explanation. Because of web technology, we want to reach out to people
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBasewe might not have been able to reach out to before. People we know are not enough. But that does not mean we want to get to know every stranger out there. But we do want to talk to them. We do want to share conversations.

Video takes away from the random connections idea. When you are not able to see, you are more likely to talk.

Chatfe started out by you having to use your phone number. Your phone number does not get seen by the other party, but still the perception ends up being that that is the case. And that discourages people.

I suggested the Skype platform early on. But I learn Chatfe has been working to add VOIP to the site itself. Once that is there, I believe Chatfe will see a major spike in traffic. Another spike in traffic will be seen, I think, when Chatfe ends up with about 200,000 users and you are able to find very specific groups of people to talk to at all hours of day and night.

If you think about it, you don't really have the option to call friends and family at all hours of day and night. You can if it is an emergency, if it is urgent, if you are a little down and out. But most people know of good times to call, and that is only so many hours a week. Chatfe would meet your need to want to talk
A wreath Kolsch Beer - LA Times of Kölsch.Image via Wikipedia to someone, anyone, at any hour of day and night.

And these days it makes no sense to not have iPhone and Android apps. Actually Chatfe's sweet spot might be in the mobile web space more so than in the big screen web space. Download and start calling.

There is something about audio that you just can't get in text, or in video. Audio is the best medium for the random connections space.

As it iterates and pivots, Chatfe could see some surprising twists and turns as it scales up. The best iterations and pivoting get done by teams that are really, really listening to the early users.

And this is a great year to get funded. This is the first year of what I think will be a great decade, or at least a great six, seven, eight years.
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