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Sumally

Sumally com

Sumally has been described as the Pinterest of Japan. I don’t actually agree, because they’ve done a remarkably good job separating items into Wants and Haves. A secretly powerful tool to turn commerce on shortly.

After using it for a few days, it seems it’s the place where the most influential Japanese designers, cultural icons and locals are sharing objects of fascination in their life. The caliber of curation happening here is pretty high. Check it out, I’ll be watching this one.

Back on the radar…

I’ve been off the radar the past few weeks, apologies. With the launch of Valet, and travel in China, visiting Beijing and Tianjin, and all over Japan in Tokyo, Nagano, and up in Hokkaido in Sapporo. Lots of reviews and pictures coming soon. Amazing trip.

Introducing Valet

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Well, the cat is out of the bag. I decided to start another company called Valet back in January, and this past week we told a couple of friends, who told a couple of their friends, who told the whole world that it was now live. We had an overwhelming response. Completely blown away.

The concept is pretty simple. As readers of this site know I spent the last few years traveling around the world living in and out of hotels in more than 20 countries. I noticed two things that I wanted to turn into a product I could sell.

The first was that most great hotels were willing to part with some of their normal rate and give me a break as a creative professional, an online influencer, a writer, and an entrepreneur. I thought, wow, would they do that for other people like me?  I found inspiration within other businesses I saw that were exploring this model and breaking away from the standard online travel agent business.

The second part was that in all these new cities I went to, I found finding basic intel about where the design-centric crowd gets their coffee or spends their time incredibly tricky. There are a myriad of sites you can search, but most of the time I’d end up on Twitter asking who has tips for XYZ foreign city. So, I started to tap my local friends and influential types in different places to see if they would be willing to share their favorites with a closed group of people– and the answer was an overwhelming yes.

We launched with city guides in two cities, New York and Tokyo (I write this from Japan). More than 130 places in New York and 40 (and growing as I write this) in Japan. I tapped people from all different walks of life to be curators. We launched with about 80 hotel partners that gave 10-20% and sometimes much more off their normal rack rates to us. Some of the deals are exceptional, some of them are okay and will be getting much better. I knew I had to start somewhere.

I also knew this was a product I had to charge real money for, and keep gated behind an application process to protect the partnerships and the curators from too much exposure.

This is totally 1.0. Many more hotels are coming and many city guides will follow. Tread softly, be nice and send feedback.  We have big plans for exploring what the 21st century travel agent might look like.

This wouldn’t have been possible without my partner in crime Aaron Rutledge, the incredible design duo Ian Coyle and Duane King, and identity master Takashi Kusui, as well as a few other people who were working behind the scenes to get this going. You know who you are.

More reading here: Inside Valet on Cool Hunting, Skift News and Beta Beat.

If you signup, put down you’re a reader of my site in your ‘Facts’ and I’ll do my best to get you in faster.

B&W: Concert For One

Concert for one

Been loving my B&W P3′s, or as they call them ‘A Concert for one…’

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Fantastic design and form factor, and works great with all my iOS devices for entertainment and calls.  They come with a great hard case to keep them save in your hand luggage when you’re on the go. If you’re shopping, these are worthy for consideration.

Invisible Bicycle Helmet

120817080420 inflatable helmet story top 1 590x331Smart, is it possible? And if so, when can I buy one?

“If people say it’s impossible we have to prove them wrong.”

Design students Anna and Terese took on a giant challenge as an exam project. Something no one had done before. If they could swing it, it would for sure be revolutionary. The bicycle is a tool to change the world. If we use bikes AND travel safe: Life will be better for all.

Watch the video. Via Staple

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