For Greg Dicum’s MondoWindow, it’s located in the sky ( with the help of wi-fi ) Get to know how his geo-location based technology is helping people stay entertained during their inflight travels.
Current Residence: San Francisco
Occupation: Startup Hustler (and formerly Journalist)
Areas of Focus: Travel, Geolocation
Website for more info: http://mondowindow.com
How did you come up with the idea for your product?
I wrote a series of books called Window Seat around 2005 that was about understanding the view from an airliner–how to parse what you see from that vantage point and read some of the stories written about that particular landscape. At that time, my business partner Tyler Sterkel and I tried to figure out how to create an interactive version of Window Seat for airline travelers, but it just didn’t make sense given the technology available at the time.
Now, with in flight wifi rolling out, things have changed. It works like this: you get on the plane, you open your device (laptop, tablet, mobile), and go to MondoWindow.com. There you find a gorgeous map of the world below your plane–your place on the world–layered with points of interest, audio, games, social media, and more.
In flight Wifi is a relatively new technology. Are you impressed with how rapidly it developed and how related technologies are developing around it?
I think it will come as no surprise to anyone involved in the internet space that in flight wifi is being rolled out rapidly. Once the technical and regulatory barriers had been surmounted a couple of years ago it was a matter of when, not if. I think it’s going to be like what happened in cafés: ten years ago, it was notable when a café had wifi; now you expect it, and it’s generally free.
I’ve actually been surprised by the slow speed of the subsequent rollout of in flight web properties. MondoWindow is one of the first, maybe even the first (do you know of any others? I don’t.) But that’s going to change: it’s going to get competitive really fast, and we are not taking our first mover status for granted by any means.
It seems there’s a great opportunity for your product and affiliate marketing. Pre-beta you’ve already locked in a contract with SXSW (South by Southwest – a very popular film, music, and interactive media festival). Can you discuss that opportunity with us?
We don’t have any formal relationship with SXSW. We are launching our beta in March in time for people to try out MondoWindow on their way to Austin (sign up at http://mondowindow.com).
And that’s just the start. We’re in rolling beta, with a public launch around Memorial Day with even deeper content, more features, and tons of very cool content partners.
A lot of people are watching us very closely, from airlines and wifi providers, to advertisers, content providers, and marketers. Everyone we show this to instantly comes up with tons of creative ways we can work together, and we’re very excited about forming partnerships galore once we roll the product out.
What types of technical considerations, in terms of development, are most challenging while you’re in beta? What’s the point where you feel that the beta stage is over? Or do you feel there’s continual improvement over the lifecycle of the application?
We’re going to be in continual Google-style permanent beta for our direct-to-consumer version of MondoWindow, and that will serve as a lab for our white label and partner versions. There’s really no point in getting out of beta for the main product, as new opportunities arise every day. The release model is more appropriate to situations where you hand off your product to customers, which is what we’re doing with white labels.
Is your product a U.S. based product or do you have plans for a global release? Are there localization considerations?
We’re coming out with North American coverage now, and expanding to other key air travel markets as fast as we can. We’re going to do it all in English for now and let partnerships and customers drive localization with their own needs, taking advantage of their experience in their own markets.