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


37 Signals has some downtime

January 18, 2008

We’re a fan of some of the products from 37signals. We use Campfire for real-time group chat, but we also find Basecamp useful at different times in our development cycle.

When we push a new version of MyPunchbowl “live”, it’s critical that we’re all chatting simultaneously. And for us, this morning was a really unfortunate time for 37Signals to experience downtime. Ah, well. It happens.

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We’re really happy with how 37 signals communicated as they were having trouble. We all have down time once in a while. The Punchbowl team thinks they did a great job of communicating and fixing the problem in a timely manner. Bravo to the everyone at 37 signals.

(Oh, and a new version of MyPunchbowl is on its way!)

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Party Planning and Free online invitations at MyPunchbowl.


Final day to win $5,000 Big Game party

January 18, 2008

So I was talking to my friends over at Celebrations.com (1-800-Flowers), and they reminded me that today is the last day to enter the super bowl party “Big Game party idea contest.” I’m a little bummed that I can’t enter– you know those pesky little legal rules that don’t let co-marketing partners participate.

If I did enter, my entry would center around the viewing experience. I’ve got my eyes on a new flat-screen TV, and that would be the center of my party. I’d order out catering from the Carnegie Deli in New York (overnight shipping to keep the corned beef fresh), and I’d decorate the house as a disco bar for half-time entertainment, complete with strobe lights and disco balls. Did I mention the beer imported fresh from Modelo in Mexico? Hmmm, maybe this party idea is a little more than $5K. Check out some of the other great party ideas that users have submitted at Celebrations.com.

For those of you who are hosting a Super Bowl party, I suggest that you kick your party planning into high gear. You can get started in less than 5 minutes by sending your guests a “Save the Date” and then follow up next week after you have a chance to peruse our free online invitations. You’ll be glad we have a easy-to-use checklist feature to organize everything you need (and even ask guests to bring something). For more ideas, head over the party expert herself: Penelope.

My Super Bowl plans aren’t set yet– if you’re having a party (or you happen to be the lucky $5K winner) I hope you’ll send an invite to me and the Punchbowl crew. We’ll bring the punch!

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Party Planning and Free online invitations at MyPunchbowl.


Is Yahoo giving up on Yahoo Mail?

January 16, 2008

This morning I noticed a very interesting message on My Yahoo page:

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I was struck by this message for a few key reasons:

1) Yahoo has been trying to get me to switch from the old My Yahoo to the new layout for a few months now. I’ve tried the new version a few times in the last three months– and I think it is a step backwards. While the layout lends itself to better advertising placement (which I’m sure is at least part of the motivation for the new My Yahoo), the layout itself is poor. There’s far less information on the page (which causes more scrolling), and I find the entire UI monotone (which makes it harder to quickly find what I’m looking for). I know how difficult new design is (it looks so easy, it must be easy!). So I don’t fault Yahoo for the new design. It’s just not for me.

2) Does Yahoo actually think I’m going to trust a quote by “C.”?? At one point, we put a user quote on MyPunchbowl.com. You know what? No one cares, and no one believes it. The quote itself is pretty ridiculous — is it “amazing” that there is a Netflix widget? Um, no.

3) I’m one of those people who has struggled between using Gmail vs Yahoo Mail. There are many, many things I like about Yahoo Mail. I use Gmail now, but I’m not opposed to switching (if the transition is easy). Gmail is the center of my “digital life” and I interact with Google products many hours a day as a result. By including Gmail access as a reason to switch to My Yahoo, it feels like Yahoo has given up on their own product. It’s almost an admission: we know you use Gmail — heck, even we use Gmail. So why not use your Gmail in your My Yahoo page?

Many have written about the popularity of Yahoo Mail. So why are they “advertising” Gmail? (Yes, I know they are simply trying to make My Yahoo more appealing to me as a Gmail user– but Yahoo Mail is one of the most important products in Yahoo’s arsenal).

Hey Yahoo: don’t sell out on your prime jewel. Tell me the benefits to using Yahoo Mail, and remind me why I should take another look. If you give up on your own product, so will I.

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Party Planning and Free Online Invitations at MyPunchbowl.com. Try it today!


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


A contest worth entering

January 14, 2008

Our friends over at Celebrations.com (1-800-Flowers) are running a contest from now until the end of this week. It’s easy to enter and the prize is pretty damn good: a $5,000 Big Game dream party.

Here’s the deal: simply register on their site, and then enter some Super Bowl party ideas. I was perusing the site today, and saw a few interesting entries. My favorite one was called “Lights Out” — a rabid San Diego Chargers fan with some good food and beverage ideas. Hey, meesh82, let us know what’s in your “Lights Out Punch.” I’m sure Penelope would love to have the recipe.

The great bloggers at Celebrations just wrote a nice post about our free online invitations for Super Bowl parties. Thanks Mindy!

So what are you waiting for? Think you have a better Big Game party idea? If you win the $5,000 party, make sure to invite me and the Punchbowl crew. We’d love to crash your party.

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Party Planning and Online Invitations with MyPunchbowl