Croydon’s collaborative communities

Streetpin has launched and is coming to the Business Live Expo on 16 October! Attendees can use Streetpin to create virtual hubs to make the Expo more collaborative.

Following on from Streetpin’s last post, our start-up journey continues…

To recap, Streetpin offers a local network of social websites, called Pinboards. Any individual or organisation, from a cafe to a running club, can have an open, discoverable website, ready to build and grow their community. We launched our commercial version in July and there’s so much going on!

Bringing interactive communities to the Business Live Expo

White Label Creative gave us a great opportunity to demonstrate the collaborative benefit of events at tomorrow’s Business Live Expo at Fairfield Halls.

Here, each of the exhibitors has their own Pinboard, like this one for Croydon Digital, which can be loaded with expo-specific content and promotions. These can even change by the hour, responding to traffic, discussions or opportunities discovered on the day.

I know from experience of both visiting and exhibiting that the day itself can be a whirlwind, so we aim to provide focused hubs for discussing products, services, presentations, and arranging meetings before, during and after the event. All content from each of the hubs is then pulled together in the Business Expo Real Time Directory as an interactive overview of the event. If you missed chatting to a fellow exhibitor or didn’t see what was going on in the presentations, Pinboards give you the opportunity to keep the conversations going.

(P.S. if you are reading this in the future, you may not see any content on these links – Streetpin is all about the here and now, so content expires when it ceases to be relevant.)

A screenshot of Streetpin showing pins such as a street art tour that includes the temporary Banksy exhibit

Promoting a transient meetup

Kake’s Croydon Breakfast & Co-Working Pinboard shows off the unique flexibility of Streetpin. These are regular meetups where local freelancers, remote workers, startups and creatives can meet for some breakfast and have a chat. These meetups have the added bonus of trying various different breakfast cuisines around Croydon. So, after the October meetup at Crystal Rocks Café, the Pinboard content will move on to the next destination, highlighting different work-friendly cafés around Croydon – a mutual benefit for workers and café owners.

Enabling cultural integration

Where Streetpin really separates itself from other location-based apps is ingraining community and culture as part of the town. We’re aiming to have a whole series of discoverable talking points around Croydon, where shoppers looking for their next meal deal will also find historical and cultural elements dotted around them. For example, the demo Pinboard for RI:SE gallery centres on the awesome mural ‘Rhino’ by Sonny. We would love to be championing the positive things happening all around Croydon and aim to provide the common platform for discovery and discussion.

Improving as we learn

Just because we’ve launched, it doesn’t mean the development stops! We’re currently in the process of delivering a 42-point software update, addressing real user feedback from the first 2 months of Streetpin’s life.

I can’t emphasise enough how much our initial users are contributing to forming the evolving product. Our roadmap has been turned on its head in favour of user-requests only – in fact, none of the planned modules will see the light of day unless supported by a user need. These needs, and the more elusive but invaluable ‘user fails’, should really be the crux of any new product build. We’re basing our evolution on a test, build, test, build strategy rather than building something because we can. Which reminds me of being in a kitchen showroom recently and seeing ‘smart cookers’ where you can turn on a stove via your phone. I can’t see me investing in that saver-of-5-seconds any time soon.

What’s next?

It would be amazing to get back to you in a ‘part 3’ with a working, two-sided marketplace. We have many demos of this individually or for short periods of time, but our true marketplace experience should involve regular trade and mutually beneficial conversations. Here’s a flavour of what we aim to show:

  • the last 5 bunches of flowers being discounted at 3pm to avoid disposals
  • the baker promoting the fresh artisan loaves that are unsold due to bad weather and low footfall
  • the unused space at tomorrow’s yoga session being given away as a taster class
  • a discounted meeting room for hire this week as bookings have been cancelled

Each of these product and service offerings from nearby businesses would of course be aggregated on Croydon’s Real-Time Directory, offering an online, accessible place to find all the micro deals and conversations. Bringing together the retailers, services, organisations etc at the same time as the shoppers and wider community is no easy task, so fingers crossed there is a part 3!

We’d love to get your feedback and of course would be very happy to set up any demos – just say the word:

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