Answer: HipCal (www.hipcal.com).
Plaxo announced today the acquisition of HipCal, LLC, based in Troy, NY. You can read the formal press release at: Plaxo’s website. However, I wanted to give you an insider’s view of why we joined forces with these young guns from upstate New York.
You’ll have to read the entire article to find out what we both have in common with pimps.
Plaxo has a calendar?
You may not know this, but Plaxo has had an online calendar for some time. Yup, we really do. As a matter of fact, we were using AJAX techniques two years ago before it was called AJAX (RSI thanks to Terry Chay and Joseph Smarr).
But, to be really honest, we did not put the same amount of effort and resources on our calendar as we did on everything else. Our users have been asking us to do for calendars what we did for address books–not just make them available everywhere, but make them easy to coordinate with friends, colleagues, and customers. This has been bothering us for awhile and it’s one of those things that we put into the “someday” category. Well, this is that day.
So, it all started while we were watching with amusement as startup after startup announced their jump into the “new, Web 2.0 calendar” space — the list is long. But, one of them caught our eye, HipCal (and apparently the Web 2.0 Awards and SXSW festival‘s eye too). I should mention that a few of the others look quite impressive as well — 30 boxes also appears to stand our from the crowd.
Note that a good friend of mine, Mark Fletcher (ONElist, eGroups, Plaxo, Bloglines), says “Whenever you have more than one funded company in the calendar space, you know you are in the bubble.”
Anyway, back to the story…
So, the first thing that we noticed was that www.hipcal.com was extremely fast and simple. The design had a natural ease about it that appealed to everyone here and it was extremely snappy. The second thing that we noticed was that the team was very engaged and dedicated to their users, even though they had classes to attend at school (RPI)!
So, on a whim, I sent Garret Heaton, [the guy who started it as part of school project], a simple email: “Hey, love your site. Interested in talking about working together?” Garret replied fairly quickly with enthusiasm and we got started.
A few days later, during a conference call with the HipCal guys (all five of them), we quickly got into a discussion about joining Plaxo. And, at some point during the conversation, I said: “Think about it this way. Would you rather be in Troy, New York, in three feet of snow, working out of your parents’ garage OR would you rather be sitting in a nice house on the beach in sunny California with all the beer you can drink and parties every night.” After about about 15 seconds of silence–in which I was thinking that I made a huge tactical mistake–the other end of the phone burst into laughter and the group screaming “we like the second option better!”
So, we flew the guys out to California, but had some trouble with the car rental since most car agencies require the driver to be 25 or over. Once we cleared that up, we got down to business. By the end of the day, we all realized that this was meant to be (i.e. they are five amazing, talented, and nice guys) and left us with a great feeling.
That was easy, now for the hard part
We signed the deal a few weeks later and have been making plans for a new calendar ever since. The guys will be moving to California in June. [Note: I failed to mention that buying a home on the California coast would cost a small fortune. ;-] The guys will be looking for a house to rent in Mountain View/Palo Alto very soon — let me know if you have any leads.
Stay tuned for the big changes coming from Plaxo’s new calendar team.
btw: The original name of HipCal was MyPIMP.com. And, in case you didn’t know, “PIM” is a common acronym for Personal Information Manager.
Garret Heaton, Tawheed Kader, Pete Curley, Glenn Dixon, and Chris Rivers
More photos of the HipCal guys
Here’s a photo of Pete Curley. We haven’t figured out what he does yet, but we know that it has somethng to do with refilling the kegs. Oh, and Pete designed the cute little hippo on the HipCal site.
Here’s a photo of Chris (“Silent Chris”) Rivers. He’s generally ….., um, er, ….. silent. But, once you get a few margaritas into him, watch out because he turns into “Crazy Chris”! He is rumored to have a very large shoe collection.
Here’s a photo of Glenn Dixon. When we first met, I thought that he was “Silent Chris” and kept wondering “he talks a lot, I wonder why they call him Silent Chris…?” Glenn just recently got out of prison, but don’t let his tatoos and rough exterior fool you… he’s a teddy bear on the inside.
Here’s a photo of Tawheed (“Wheed”) Kader. He’s sorta like the George Harrison of the HipCal group. [Not really sure what I meant by that, but it sounded good when I wrote it.] We don’t understand what his nickname means yet, but he sure seems excited about moving to California.
UPDATE: Looks like we’ve got some initial reactions coming in