Pingster 1.4 is an optimization — fixing a few key elements that simply weren’t working right — to make the current Pingster prototype more useful. (1) The ping now works even when you’re phone is sleeping or the app is in the background (although it still shuts off when the timer ends); and (2) the Wall finally is a proper partyline when you want to chat with a stranger or leave a quick (non-SMS) note for someone you’re trying to rendezvous with). We have a few more central features to release over the next few weeks that will finally make Pingster testable and determine what next steps should be. (Saving other Pingsters to your contacts and getting notified when they ping, for instance).
In the meantime, I am working on the prototype for Pingster 2.0 — a somewhat radical change in the product. The distinction is important. As my Netflix friends say, testing new ideas and a willingness to fail will facilitate big change. The key to testing a new idea is rapid prototyping. That’s what we did when we created mapOmatic and then quickly created Pingster. We know we have the pieces but are unsure of the product. Iteration, the improvement of the product through fixes and so on, is an act of optimization. A big mistake companies make is they optimize their products too soon, before they’re done prototyping. Optimization follows once you have a great idea prototyped and have a positive signal from your users.
Pingster 2.0 will be a significant change – not a better product necessarily – but a different product based on what we’ve learned from usage and tests. Please keep using Pingster – and version 1.4 is significantly more useful than prior versions. It will really help us as we move forward. And we think you’ll like it.