Sociable "robots" believe in 43 Things
A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week: 43 Things.
What is it? 43 Things, a new social-networking service created by a local team of technology developers called the Robot Co-op.
How it works: Put your goals up on the site and get back profiles of other people who want to do the same thing. Join a team with the same goal. Tell others about things you've already done.
Tracing back: The robots liked the personalization feature at Amazon.com (people who bought this also bought that) and wanted to combine it with elements of Web logging and online networking.
Quote: "When someone talks about what their passions are, they're almost always interesting," says Josh Petersen, the Co-op's "typist."
Why now: New Year's Day is right around the corner. Time for a resolution, or maybe 43.
Why 43: No particular meaning behind the name. It is, however, a prime number.
Where to find it: At www.43things.com, now a preview version, with the final service ready by Jan. 1.
Trying it out: The site has drawn 200,000 people in more than 82 countries and 22,000 unique goals — all without any marketing campaign.
Meet the robots: Seven guys working at an office on Capitol Hill: Seattle native Petersen, 33, a veteran of Amazon.com and Microsoft; Daniel Spils, keyboard player in local band Maktub; Erik Benson, creator of book-related site allconsuming.net; Eric Hodel, a veteran of Dick's Drive-in on Broadway; Todd Gehman, former bassist in two local bands; Ivan Opalka, a former Slovakian metallurgist; and Bob Cottrell, a veteran of too much education.
Business or pleasure? Business, says Petersen. The site would make money through targeted ads. "A lot of startups are chasing financial dreams," he says. "We're trying to build a small venture that can make a meaningful community Web site."
Main goal for 2005: "To make sure it stays fun."
— Kristi Heim
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.