Party Planning 2.0

February 8, 2008

pcmag.png

PC Magazine did a very nice roundup of some of the party planning sites recently, and I thought I would share.

Michael Muchmore wrote “Perhaps the most Web 2.0–feeling of the bunch, MyPunchbowl may also be the easiest to use, with its step-by-step invitation-creation process. It also brings a couple of tricks all its own to the party.”

I like how Michael pointed out our unique “Pick a Date” feature which allows the host to privately designate some guests as VIP’s as you use MyPunchbowl to help you pick a date. If you haven’t tried Pick a Date yet, try using it for your next event or meeting. It will help you coordinate a large group of people and pick the date that works for your most important guests.

Thanks to Michael for the article. I hope he gets a chance to do a more full review of MyPunchbowl in the future. As our users know, we have the most sophisticated event and party planning site on the web. And we’re building and improving the site everyday.

Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl


How to make the office green

February 7, 2008

Well, we know that we have some very loyal MyPunchbowl blog readers, but even we were surprised by the latest development….

Just yesterday I wrote “If you’re a friend of Punchbowl, we hope you’ll get a chance to come by and see our new digs at some point. But make sure you come with a plant or other foliage in hand– we could use some!” 

This afternoon, a beautiful plant showed up at our new HQ. I’ve been told that it is an “umbrella plant” which is apparently indestructable. This is a really good thing: not many people here at Punchbowl HQ are great with plants.

Our first greenery was sent by a person who mysteriously signed his name as “Dark.” I happen to know this person very well– and I know he would prefer to remain anonymous. But he’s got BIG new fans here at Punchbowl, and the plant really spices up the office. As one of my esteemed colleagues noted “it really pulls the room together”:

umbrella-plant.jpg

Dark: on behalf of the entire Punchbowl team, we really appreciate the new plant. It was very generous and thoughtful. We promise to take care of it as best as we can– and we look forward to showing it to you in our new office (and lunch is on us!)

So here’s the challenge to our other faithful MyPunchbowl blog readers: help us make our new office GREEN! If you’re an investor, partner, friend, relative or anonymous reader… please send plants! We like all plants, but preferably ones that won’t die easily.

Oh, our new HQ is located at 873 Concord Street, Framingham MA 01701 in case you need the address :-)

Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl


Punchbowl gets a new HQ

February 6, 2008

The last few days have been a whirlwind for the Punchbowl team. We’ve moved!

We’ve opened our new office in Framingham, MA just a few minutes away from the I-90 highway (for those of you not from this area, we’re about 30 minutes from Boston, without traffic). It’s a great location for our employees, and provides room for us to grow in the future.

The new office is pretty spacious and has a couple of great rooms: one we’ve nicknamed “The Bowl” and the other “The Cave.” I work in the Cave– despite it’s nickname, it has a nice window and lots of natural light. The Bowl is the main room where the real work takes place. We’re really happy with the setup and vibe of that room in particular.

We have plenty of space in the office, with room for brainstorming on the whiteboard and meetings. There’s also a “lounge” area which is great for lunch and impromptu discussions. We also have a conference room which we can use for more formal meetings with investors or partners.

There are a few other tenants in the building, and it’s a dog-friendly office. Don’t tell his owner, but we’ve adopted one of the other residents of the building… meet the newest Punchbowler (his name is “Mozart”):

mozart.jpg

If you’re a friend of Punchbowl (canine or otherwise), we hope you’ll get a chance to come by and see our new digs at some point. But make sure you come with a plant or other foliage in hand– we could use some!

The new Punchbowl office is located at 873 Concord Street, Framingham, MA 01701.

Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl


Groundhog Day Party: What I’ve learned

February 1, 2008

There’s an saying in startup companies: “you don’t really know your product until you’ve eaten your own dog-food.” Over the past few weeks, I’ve been using MyPunchbowl on a daily basis as I planned our 12th annual Groundhog Day party. I’d like to think that I know my own product very well, but these last few weeks have helped crystallize my impressions of the product that I’ve helped build. Here’s a quick list of what I’ve learned:

Co-hosts: By far, one of the best features of MyPunchbowl is the ability to have co-hosts. I wish every MyPunchbowl user knew about this feature. As far as I know, we’re the only party planning website to offer true co-hosting. I made my wife a co-host and she’s been able to keep track of the guest list and party checklist by logging into her own account. Awesome.

Manage Guests page: I’m surprised at just how many times I’ve interacted with the Manage Guests page. It’s very useful and has all of the key features that I need. One problem that I’ve spoken with the team about: in my opinion, the page loads too slow. I have about 65 guests on the page, and it takes about 4 seconds to load. Too slow. Look for performance enhancements on this page in the future.

Party Checklist: Very, very useful. It’s great to be able to make a list of everything that we need and have guests choose something off of the list. It really helps relieve the burden of having to handle everything. Example: We put “6 packs of beer” on the list (8 of these), and they have all been taken care of by the guests who are coming. Wishlist: I wish I could set up SMS reminders for checklist items so that the people who agreed to bring something would get a reminder on their phone. Look for SMS integration throughout MyPunchbowl in the future.

RSVP Responses: Another fantastic thing about MyPunchbowl. I love that those who are not coming can send me a private note easily. The people who aren’t coming took the time to write significant, personal notes to me. On other sites, a guest who responds ‘no’ has to try to come up with a witty response (because everyone is going to see it). On MyPunchbowl, the guest can send the host a private note, allowing for a more personal connection. Awesome.

Party Themes: I’m really happy with all of the great themes that MyPunchbowl provides. I was quickly able to find a Groundhog Day party theme that fit what I was looking for. I love how easy it was to sort through the hundreds of templates. My favorite feature on this page is how I can find templates using keywords. I simply went to “G” and chose Groundhog. Simple and easy to use.

All in all, I’m really happy with MyPunchbowl. It really helped us with our party planning, and my wife and I feel relaxed and ready to welcome around 30 guests into our home on Saturday.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl


Groundhog Day Party Preparations

January 31, 2008

Party Supplies for our eco-friendly theme: Check.

5 gallons of green punch: Check.

Online invitation sent: Check.

Amusements ordered from groundhog.org: Check.

To do:

- Check the party planning checklist on MyPunchbowl to see what people are bringing

- Buy a cooler for all of the beer

- Repair the inflatable bed for anyone who needs to crash at our house

- Proudly display my authentic “I was in Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day 1994″ certificate

Only 2 days until the 12th annual Groundhog Day party!


John Edwards, we barely knew ya

January 30, 2008

I just read the breaking news that John Edwards is bowing out of the presidential race. That’s really too bad–John Edwards is a great reminder of what makes this country great. John is a lower-middle class kid from the South who rose to national prominence. Stunning, really.

I had the great pleasure of sharing a flight with John Edwards a few years ago. I’ll never forget how much he struck me as “just a regular guy.” When I sat next to him, he was engrossed in a trashy beach novel. He was friendly and personable and we shared a few moments reminiscing about how our Tar Heels just beat those rascals from Dook.

After the flight, John asked if I’d like to take a picture together. I didn’t know it at the time, but John was on his way to the cancer center in Boston where his wife was about to begin chemotherapy. With all that was swirling through his head, he had the grace and awareness to stop and take a photo with me. A true southern gentleman.

John: thanks for all that you’ve done to raise the nation’s conciousness on key issues of poverty and job creation. We hardly got a chance to know you as a presidential candidate– I just hope that whoever is the eventual nominee is smart enough to choose you as their running mate.

matt_edwards.jpg

Party Planning and Free Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl


RobPRocks

January 26, 2008

A few times a day, I get emails from friends or family with something amusing on the web to check out. In a typical day, I don’t have time to check it out immediately, so they usually languish in my inbox for a few days. My sister-in-law (Agee) recently sent me something that quickly ended up at the bottom on my inbox for more than a week. Boy, I wish I had seen this earlier!

I’m currently learning how to play guitar, and Agee was my first teacher. Over the holidays (which my wife and I spent in Santa Cruz) Agee showed me some basic chords and I picked it up pretty quickly. I told her that my goal was to be able to sit around a campfire and play tunes and have people sing along. I know that lots of pop songs are made up of the same basic chord structure– so I’m hoping to quickly get to the point where it is fun to play.

To hammer home the point, Agee sent me a brilliant video from a guy named Rob Paravonian. I’ve embedded the video below this blog post– and if you’re a musician, a guitar player of any kind, or even just a person who enjoys music — spend five minutes watching this video: it’s freakin hysterical.

I’m excited to see that RobP is coming to Boston on March 15th. I just bought tickets to the show (note to wife: hope we’re available that night!). Rob apparently has some time to kill when he’s on the road as well. Check out his blog for some amusement.

Thanks to Agee for sending me this fantastic video. I’m off to grab my guitar to learn the only 3 chords that matter.

————-

Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl


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