Sunday, January 16, 2005

Delicious Monster

Click here for AmazonDelicious Monster is the Mac software company behind the hit Delicious Library, a program for cataloging collections of books, movies and games. The software is selling like hot cakes and has garnered rave reviews and awards, yet the company's headquarters is a Seattle coffee house.

Co-founded by graphic designer Mike Matas and programmer Wil Shipley, the company's first title, Delicious Library, was launched in November 2004. It generated $250,000 worth of sales in its first month, and the company has a crowded, popular booth here at Macworld.

Mike Matas co-founded Delicious Monster, the company behind popular Delicious Library software that is used to catalog media files. The application has garnered rave reviews and awards, yet the company works out of a Seattle coffee shop.Wil Shipman, co-founder of Delicious Monster, is hard at work in the company's offices at Seattle's popular Zoka coffee shop. The Zoka coffee shop in Seattle's university district is the central office for employees of Delicious Monster. They pay the coffee shop 'rent' by buying cup after cup of coffee. The tab runs to several hundred dollars a month...

...Delicious Library catalogs collections of books, movies and games. A video camera can be used to read the product's bar code, and the software downloads its details from the web.

...Delicious Library won an "innovators award" from O'Reilly & Associates. One of the software's niftiest features is its ability to use a video camera to read a product's bar code, which is used to fetch product details from the net.

Matas said the first week's sales of Delicious Library generated enough revenue to pay salary for the previous seven months.

...But from the start, the software was planned to be social, allowing friends, neighbors and colleagues to see what's in each others' media libraries, and turn collections into personal lending libraries.

...Version two, due later this year, will allow users to browse each other's libraries. It will be location-aware, letting users know who has what in their neighborhood or city.

It will also work on local networks (using Apple Computer's Rendezvous), so people can browse their colleagues' or fellow students' collections, just as Apple's iTunes exposes other users' playlists.

The current version already has a checkout manager for keeping track of loans.

As well as running personal lending libraries, the software can set up social connections: What better barometer of someone's personality than their taste in books and film?

"If you look at my movie collection, you can learn a ton about me," said Matas. "It's like a personal profile on Friendster listing interests and hobbies, but it’s much more natural. It's not done consciously. It's a natural profile of yourself."

The software also includes a recommendation engine built on's recommendation system.

Matas said the company talked to Amazon about a partnership, but the retailer didn’t like the lending feature. Why would people buy when they could borrow?

Matas said he convinced Amazon that people buy movies expressly to lend them out. They watch a movie two or three times, but want to own it so they can lend it to family or friends...

Monster Fueled by Caffeine

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