4 Social Apps and Services You Need to Know More About (@socialtables, @ideaflight, @MeetMeme, @sonarme)

November 28, 2011


The social web, mobile devices, apps, location awareness and more: it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur. And by extension, it’s a great time to be a consumer of technology. There’s an abundance of apps and web services that can bring you tremendous value, for little to no cost. Let’s take a look at four services you need to know more about.

Socialtables (@socialtables)

Socialtables provides web-based seating charts for any occasion. Event planners are provided with a simple and intuitive web-based interface. You can load guest information into the service, then drag and drop guests to particular tables. The service includes a social component, which encourages guests to share pictures, tell stories and get to know one another (e.g. with the guests you’re seated with at a wedding table).

Ideaflight (@ideaflight)

Idea Flight allows you to share ideas easily on the iPad. A “pilot” controls the flight and can provide a presentation to “passengers.” We bring our iPads to meetings today, don’t we? With Idea Flight, you can leave the projector in your desk drawer. This service would also be a great fit for college lectures and trade shows, to name a few.

MeetMeme (@MeetMeme)

I discovered MeetMeme social trading cards at JiveWorld11 in Las Vegas. For me, the “trading” of MeetMeme cards replaced conventional business card exchanges at the event. Most events have networking components (e.g. mixers, cocktail hours, dinners, etc.) and these sort of social trading cards are perfect for the occasion. I returned home with a large stack of cards, getting to meet people I would never have met without the cards.

Sonar (@sonarme)

Search engines, along with services like StumbleUpon, help us find content. But what about finding and discovering people? Check out Sonar, “a mobile application that uncovers the hidden connections you share with people nearby.” One afternoon in a pumpkin patch, I wondered whether a “people discovery app” existed. I returned home, discovered Sonar and tried it out. Wouldn’t it work great at conferences and trade shows?


I’ve only scratched the surface on all the neat sites and apps that are hitting the market these days. Use the comments section below to let us know about neat services that you’ve recently started using.

Related Links

  1. Blog Post: Social Networking and Seat Management with Social Tables
  2. Blog Post: Share Ideas Across iPads with Idea Flight
  3. Blog Post: Conference Networking with MeetMeme Social Trading Cards
  4. Blog Post: Turn Outings into Professional Networking Opportunities with Sonar

Share Ideas Across iPads with Idea Flight

July 19, 2011


According to a blog post introducing the service, Idea Flight “is a new tool to share ideas, presentations, documents, designs, and whatever else you can think of easily from one iPad to many. It enables one person, whom we call the Pilot, to control the screens of multiple iPads, whom we call the Passengers.”

The iPad app was developed within Conde Nast, by a small team focused on creating new digital opportunities for the company. “The inability to give controlled design presentations on the iPad” was a business challenge that inspired team member Don Eschenauer (Director of Design) to create the app.

Internal Pre-Launch

Prior to launching the app in the iTunes App Store, Idea Flight underwent a pre-launch beta internally, with users representing Sales, Design and Project Management.

Juliana Stock, Senior Director, Marketing & Product Development, indicates that the pre-launch helped their “discovery and roadmap validation” and that Conde Nast colleagues “tell us they use it in their personal lives to share photos or at their kids’ schools.”

Use Cases

Stock envisions the app being used “anywhere people have a lead who wants to keep everyone on the same page.” Potential users include:

  1. Education
  2. Cultural institutions
  3. Museums
  4. Choirs
  5. Sales teams
  6. Real estate brokers
  7. Event planners
  8. Companies that license computers and tablets
  9. Small businesses

Beyond Sharing

In an insightful post about the technical considerations behind Idea Flight, Robert Tolar Haining, the team’s Technical Architect, described the scenario that led to the app’s LinkedIn integration (i.e. a new employee who, during a meeting, asked Robert whom was speaking). The “passengers” in Idea Flight sign in to their LinkedIn account and the flight “manifest” lists information pulled from passengers’ LinkedIn profiles.

So the app goes beyond sharing to also address connecting. According to Stock, “as more people rely on devices for creation, communication and connecting, this app triangulates all three” [source of quote].

My Take on: Market Fit

Currently, Idea Flight works over WiFi and Bluetooth and supports a maximum of 15 passengers. As such, it’s suited to small, in-person gatherings and is not competitive with online meeting software, such as WebEx or GoToMeeting (both of whom already have iPad apps and allow presenters to share their entire desktop).

Improving small, face-to-face meetings” may be a good niche market to hone in on, with broader aspirations to follow later on. To achieve broader adoption, the team will want to look beyond the iPad, to support Android tablets and perhaps smaller form-factor devices (e.g. smartphones).

My Take on: Additional Use Cases

We’re sure to see many innovative uses of Idea Flight. Here are two that immediately come to mind for me.

College Lectures

For professors who are so inclined (and for schools with a high adoption of iPads among students), the whiteboard/blackboard goes away. Instead, the day’s lecture is prepared on an iPad, which enables the professors to embed hyperlinks to related content.  For instance, on the first day of class, professors often provide the list of required textbooks. These could be embedded in the PDF that is shared with passengers (students).

In addition, future revisions of Idea Flight could allow for the professor to push out exercises (e.g. quizzes, related reading, etc.) that students are asked to participate in. I’ll call this “hands on learning, enabled with a swipe”.

Conferences and Trade Shows

With iPads becoming prevalent at physical conferences and trade shows, Idea Flight could create a virtual event layered on top of the physical event.

First, attendees at the back of the room could view the presentation on their iPad, rather than squinting at faraway display monitors. Next, publishing the “manifest” to all “passengers” could allow attendees to view the LinkedIn identities of everyone else (connected to the service), enabling a stream of comments and connections.

More Efficient Meetings

New features could make all meetings more efficient. For instance, a “feedback loop” could allow passengers to vote up/down a particular slide, giving the pilot real-time feedback on the presentation.

In addition, a “raise hand” indicator could signal questions to the presenters, without having to interrupt them in mid-speech. Finally, a “leave a note” system could allow passengers to leave comment(s) on particular pages, that presenters could review during (or after) the meeting.


I’m interested in watching the adoption of Idea Flight, including the innovative uses that arise. Use the comments section below to let me know if you’ve tried it.

Watch a Short Video on Idea Flight

Related Resources

  1. Blog posting, “Charting the Course” (on Idea Flight)
  2. Blog posting, “Introducing Idea Flight for iPad
  3. The technical approach behind Idea Flight
  4. The team behind Idea Flight
  5. Idea Flight brochure [PDF]


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