Party Planning 2.0

February 8, 2008

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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


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”):

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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!


Groundhog Day Party

January 23, 2008

Well, it’s that time of year…again. Time to urge a little furry rodent from Punxsutawney, PA out of his burrow and hope that spring is right around the corner. If you live on the East Coast, you know that we could really use an early spring this year.

Those who know me, understand that some of the inspiration for MyPunchbowl.com came from my fascination with Groundhog Day. It’s a long story, and best told over a few beers: suffice to say that it involved a 12 hour car ride, an AP reporter, entrance into the “Inner Circle”, and a chicken factory. Yes, a chicken factory. The boneless skinless kind.

So it began in 1997. Fast forward to 2008, and my wife and I are planning our 12th annual Groundhog Day party. That’s right, 12th. This year will be particularly fun, as all of the Punchbowlers and friends will be gathering for an evening of raucous debauchery.

I sent out my Groundhog Save the Date a few weeks ago, the full online invitation to follow very soon. If you didn’t get an invite….well, I probably didn’t want you to see me drunk on tequila. Sorry about that.

If you’re looking for an excuse to get people together, I’d highly recommend Groundhog Day. This year it falls on a Saturday– even better. Why should you celebrate Groundhog Day? Well, can you think of a better way to worship a furry rodent who has been accurately predicting the weather for over 100 years? I didn’t think so. Oh, and I’d recommend using MyPunchbowl.com — they have some great Groundhog Party themes 🙂

If you’re having a Groundhog Day party, please make a comment on this blog post– I’d love to hear from you.

Phil! Phil! Phil! Isn’t he cute?

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Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl


A new home page is born

January 23, 2008

Some of you may have noticed the new home page on MyPunchbowl.com. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I’d encourage you to do so before reading this post.

I have many thoughts about the new home page design, but there’s one that keeps creeping to the front of my brain. Design is hard. Really, really hard. If you’ve never done it before, you’ll probably look at the new home page and say “yeah, that makes sense, looks pretty easy.” If you have done design before, you’ll notice the 100 little things that make this design look so right.

I think back to the first home page design of MyPunchbowl.com and just how far we’ve come. I’m thrilled with what we’ve learned about good design, and really proud of our new home page. And that’s not all: since we launched our new home page, our signup traffic is up by more than 40%. Ultimately, this is the true measure of success.

So take a look and notice the 100 little things: and then email your friends and tell them to check it out. Thanks.

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Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl


Happy Birthday MyPunchbowl

January 15, 2008

One year ago today, we launched MyPunchbowl.com. What a year it has been….

Someone asked me, “What’s the one thing you’ve learned over the past year?” My answer: “Everything takes longer than I thought it would. We’ve made great progress, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. But everything — from business development, to fund-raising, to marketing activities — takes longer than I’d like it to. Maybe that’s the nature of an entrepreneur; always impatient and never quite satisfied. Even so, I’m really proud and happy with what we’ve built over the last year.”

Thanks to all of you: our users, our investors, our partners — and our significant others, for making the last year such as success.

Happy Birthday MyPunchbowl!

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Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl