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StickyBits at SXSW

March 25, 2010

I just got back from SXSW in Austin Texas, if you don’t know what it is please do yourself a favor and check it out.

Anyways while I was there I saw this awesome new company/concept called Sticky Bits. It is an Iphone application where you can scan barcodes and attach comments, files, etc. onto ANY barcode.

Although it is an interesting (and necessary) concept to mix the physical and digital world, sadly I don’t see a future with this technology. Here’s why:

1. Each barcode has its own content section. Per your example, if you went into a bookstore you would only find reviews on the book barcode that someone else would have happened to scan and rate. I’m not sure if they have a feature that aggregates all barcodes of certain products, but that would be a necessary capability if the bits were to be used in this way.

2. I think the product is outdated when augmented reality such as Google Goggles is widespread. The phone camera will recognize a product so you don’t bother with finding/scanning a barcode and then you could search reviews globally or socially with whatever Google would come up with.

3. I took a few packets of the StickyBits in Austin because I was so excited and planned on sending that postcard to my mom with a picture attached… then I just sent the photo through e-mail.

4. If I were to send something to someone they would have to download their specific app to see what it says. I think this could be a great gimmick or have some niche situations where it would be really cool, but overall I don’t like to spread things if other people can’t use them simply and interruption free. It looks like StickyBits is trying to create a whole social networking aspect attached to the bits as well, which is cool, but it all seemed a bit too much.

I think they need to start with a narrowly focussed niche where these would be cool to use and let them spread from there. Right now I don’t see where that niche is, or how they will be able to get widespread adoption.

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